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Winter is coming
This is a standalone expansion to the largely enjoyable fantasy real time strategy game that is Battle Realms, and if you've played and liked that one, you should get a kick out of this. Otherwise, consider going back to the original and working up to this as you'll get more out of that way. In a slight twist on the usual fantasy RTS games, like the original Warcraft, this one is inspired by kung-fu movies and Japanese mythology and which makes for a pleasant change from orcs and elves. The gameplay isn't radically different to its predecessor or other genre games, and sees players training up a variety of units and then unleashing them on the battlefield. Storywise, this one actually acts as a prequel to the original and tells how the Wolf clan (which is just one of four playable races) rose up from being slaves under another clan to the mighty group they are now. There are twelve new scenarios to take part in, as well as heaps of new structures, units and heroes for each of the four clans, alongside a hefty amount of multiplayer maps. The focus on upgrading your units, as well as things like environmental influences, remains, and help to make this a fun, if not quite perfect experience. Visually and thematically, the game is pretty decent, with the environments and units packing a lot of detail and personality, while the battles themselves are complex and deep, requiring a lot of tactical thinking in order to emerge victorious. There are a few niggles, while the game isn't exactly original, but if you're looking for something that breaks from the usual fantasy traditions, this is worth a look.
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