Highland Warriors Review (PC)
Highland Warriors is the new historical game from Data Becker that tries to be different. Set in Scotland at a time when the English were trying to rule, the game follows the fortunes of either one of three clans (rebels?) or the English occupiers. Although being fairly accurate, history wise, there is no feeling of “being taught” too much, it is just pleasant to see historical events reflected within the game.
Game controls follow the normal RTS pattern, left clicking to select units, right clicking to move them etc. Grouping units as per normal, CTRL n (although no unit number is shown on screen) You also have total 360 control of the camera, allowing you to view from any angle & zoom in or out with ease - no more problems finding errant units hiding behind trees (although any unit behind an object is “blued out” to make the more visible.
The micromanagement side has a couple of changes from the norm - peasants can develop & become masters of their chosen trade. This means that, once having achieved their masters certificate, they excel at their job. Moving a master to a different occupation however limits their capabilities making them much slower. You do not have to achieve the certificate, indeed it is best to ensure you have a pool of ‘yokels’ to use as & where needed, but if you refuse a certificate, that individual will not get the chance to take it again. Another addition is the seasonal element - basically, you can’t farm when there is snow all over the ground. As the seasons change, you need to switch from farming to hunting/scavenging or starve. There is also a welcome option re farming; clicking a button found on the mill popup allows for fields to fall fallow & new ones be developed automatically. As peasants are generated at the town centre, they can be automatically sent to where they are needed most - with the TC selected, a right click on any area sets a rally point, if the rally point is a mine, then the peasant will immediately start mining.
Game graphics are excellent, but it must be stressed that you DO need a good graphics card (Geforce 3 & above recommended) to get the best out of it. I use a Geforce 2 64 which tends to make them slightly shallow / washed out, but when I tried it on my friends with a Geforce 4, the difference was immediate, sharper colours, better definitions & much smoother. Building animations are well above the norm and watching a building being destroyed piece by piece is just another example of the fine attention to detail provided by the graphic artists. The actual battle graphics are a bit suspect though - I found it hard to distinguish between the differing unit types and the actual death of a unit is like something from a Tom & Terry cartoon - the character just goes all stiff, falls to one side & disappears.
In conclusion, Highland Warriors is a game probably best enjoyed by any users new to this style of game - veteran players will complete the game within 48 hrs & remove it from their drive.