Throne of Darkness
There aren't many 'tactical' RPGs knocking about. In fact, unless we're mistaken there aren't any at all. Click Entertainment appears to be changing all that with Throne Of Darkness, an action-based RPG which promises to incorporate a real element of strategy to complement its frenetic real-time combat. The initial premise for the game is a familiar one: take control of a group of warriors and overtake an evil Japanese warlord. This could have been a spectacularly dull prospect if Throne Of Darkness followed the path of the many hack-and-slash offerings we've been boring ourselves with of late, but Click is working around the clock to produce something that will stand out as genuinely unique in its genre. Players will take control of a clan consisting of seven samurai, each with unique abilities and characteristics. However, rather than just grouping them and sending them rushing in to meet the hordes of monsters that will inevitably come their way, with a little forward planning you can make complex custom formations and strategies, which you can call upon in the heat of battle. This is referred to as 'play-calling', something we would normally associate with American football, but we fully expect TOD to be a lot more exciting than America's favourite sport (which, let's face it, can't be difficult).
Offence And Defence
These tactical plays will undoubtedly make for a richer single-player experience than is normal for this genre, but it's obvious TOD will benefit most from this strategic option in the multiplayer side of the game. The possibilities are endless for players to develop unique and unexpected ways to overcome their opponents, as human beings are far more unpredictable than their computer-driven counterparts. The multiplayer game pits four player-controlled clans, each consisting of seven different samurai, against a computer-controlled clan (the evil warlord and his minions). A total of 35 players are allowed to get into the game and kick the hell out of each other while attempting to overthrow the evil one and his followers. This form of co-operative play against human and computer components is certainly a unique take on the multiplayer RPG genre, and if the character classes for each clan are sufficiently different, it should make for an intriguing challenge online.
Japanese mythology is represented heavily in every aspect of the game. The units, environments, backgrounds and storyline all emanate a distinctly Japanese flavour, which again shows Click's commitment to producing something outside of the norm. The huge success of Shogun: Total War proves the appeal of Japanese mythology, and if anything, Throne Of Darkness' comparatively simplistic gameplay (Shogun was a bit heavy for some) should broaden its appeal and enable them to reach a bigger potential audience.
Although comparisons to Shogun will be inevitable given TODs subject matter, the similarity between the two titles looks likely to end at the reference to Japanese themes. The tactical plays may inject an element of strategy to the game, but Click's offering is an action game at heart. In an effort to appeal to as many types of gamer as possible, TOD has different levels of complexity. Players can customise gameplay to an extent, so advanced users can draw heavily on the tactical play, and casual gamers (or people who are just more into hack-and-slash) can bypass all this stuff and play the game in a Diablo style.
You may be wondering at this point where exactly the RPG element comes into play. Again, Diablo proves a good reference point here. Gameplay involves levelling up your characters and buying and selling items to improve them in battle. Character classes are made up from the usual array of fantasy types such as swordsmen, mages, berserkers and etc, so in this sense TOD will be a familiar experience for those of you who have played your fair share of RPGs. Although the four clans in the game all use the same character classes, TOD will have a certain degree of replayability depending on which clan you start the game with. Each clan starts at a different castle and takes a different path through the game. The characters in the clans also have different histories and different personal sub-quests to complete, so replaying the game with another clan has its benefits. However, we suspect that once players get the basics of the game having completed it, they will head online to pit their wits against 'real' opponents. Throne Of Darkness has potential to cause a bit of a stir on its release.
Download Throne of Darkness
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
Throne of Darkness Screenshots and Media
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