Lords of the Realm II
a game by Impressions
For many an aeon I've been like a lone voice of sanity regarding Impressions games. An oasis of rationality in a vast desert of prejudice. A lone pubic hair of intelligence... (Enough - Ed.). Very well.
The common reaction when one of the much-maligned developers' titles makes its way onto the desk of an editorial bod is to shriek in horror and then hit it several times with a large sledgehammer. Then to farm it out either to myself or Andrew Wright or shove it into the Pick 'N' Mix section.
Well, enough is enough! I say thee, nay! Impressions deserve to be heard! As witnesses for the defence I call games like Breach 2, Rules Of Engagement (and the sequel), Ultimate Soccer Manager 2. the Interlocking Game System - one of the boldest and most unique ideas since the bbc decided to give Noel Edmonds his own prime time tv programme -and finally, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Lords Of The Realm 2. All shining examples of quality strategy gaming joy.
Okay, not everything bearing the Impressions haircut is good, or even slightly okay. They've had more than their fair share of honest, god-fearing crap. But the key thing to remember is that when they're good, they're usually pretty good indeed.
Delusions of grandeur
Lords Of The Realm 2 continues this trend of Impressions reputation revivalism by being a very smart historically-based resource-management game. Players of the first game will both be very old and very pleased to hear that it retains its surprisingly playable nature, but generally enhances every area to make it able to stand up to the other big-name resource-management games on the shelves today.
It's almost as if Impressions' recent merger with Sierra has given the company a real boost, both in terms of game design and presentation quality. Even the really playable Impressions game of old (namely. Rules Of Engagement) suffered from being mired in the then traditional world of poor quality graphics, sound and control systems. Nowadays it's a different story.
LOTR2 is both engaging and attractive to play. The aim is the same as every resource-manager - take over land, strip it for goods, raise a healthy populace, make lots of money, form an army, take over more land, repeat till fade. But LOTR2 approaches these tasks with plenty of fresh-faced appeal and sets them in an era that hasn't really garnered much exposure (Civilization dealt with early medievalism as well, but only in passing).
Curate's egg and chips
There are areas that could be improved. The combat sections could be easier and allow for more strategic control. They have the air of a feature that was added after everything else to provide a nice 'bonus' (there's an option to let the computer calculate the battles). Each area of land has only a limited number of resource-producing fields available that really needed to be expanded as time went on. Lots of little things. But generally, LOTR2 is a good, playable, well thought out game. Hopefully, a few more titles like this and Impressions will have garnered some much needed respect within the UK gaming community. And hopefully this will lead to Rules Of Engagement 3, Breach 4 and lots more lovely igs titles. Yum, can't wait.
2018-11-02 Lords of the Realm II game added.