Lionheart: Kings` Crusade Review (PC)

Posted by Christophor Rick (TheSuperGuido), Oct 08, 2010 08:57

Contest Winners are: Morboth, mvjlc, Arakash, alee and Gloin22! All were randomly drawn by News Girl (she always looks confused when we have her do that).

King Richard never conquered Jerusalem on his crusade, but you will. That is where the game begins. First I took a quick tour through the tutorial even though I had already played King Arthur and had seen Lionheart Kings’ Crusade at GamesCom. The battle system is very similar with but has multiple phases including pre-battle deployment (in some situations) and this time, military engineering for siege and defensive equipment. I was also familiar with the interface, I just really wanted to see how well the tutorial did to explain it all and I have to say even a novice should pick up the game fairly quickly. The controls are pretty easy and they do a great job of explaining everything.

The Crusaders in Lionheart

There are some variations in Lionheart from the game mechanics of King Arthur. Each of four factions, The French King, Templars, Papal Court and Holy Roman Empire, support the Crusades with troops and bonuses. In each of the 16 campaign missions you are forced to decide whose interests you will serve. Doing so gains you particular benefits as well as Fame points with the faction. Fame points in turn unlock special units, abilities and bonuses.

  • The French King - Heavily Calvary focused
  • Templars - Economic upgrades and heroes
  • Papal Court - More easily recruit units, higher Morale, special characters
  • Holy Roman Empire - Strong infantry units, infantry-related upgrades

Oddly, none of them support strong archers which are really one of those most useful units in any campaign as they offer ranged support and the ability to knock down enemies before they even reach your front lines.

Along with the factional support structure you can also assign special items to your units. These include upgraded (unique and masterwork) weapons, armor and potions. You can also assign a captain (effective in melee), healer (restore 30% of fallen soldiers).

The Saracen in Lionheart

On the other side of the battle are the Saracen, led by the famous Saladin. There are no factions here as they are united in their cause to free their lands of the Crusading invaders. In place of factional appeasement for access to new units and abilities you have a tech three with three branches. This represents the scholarly-foundation of the civilization and so you invest points and Ducats into specific research to unlock its benefits. There are three branches, feats which are abilities for your leader, news units and general which are a range of updates.

As opposed to the Crusaders who begin in Jerusalem, the Saracen campaign takes place after the Crusaders campaign and you begin with a night strike in Baghdad to free it from the recently victorious invaders. Once that is complete you are then able to begin the push west to take back your lands.

The Saracen campaign is more of an advanced campaign so it is more difficult and there are no ’easy’ battles. You still have the same five choices for difficulty, but where there were some simple, quick options in the Crusader campaign, the best you can hope for is a medium difficulty battle as the Saracen.

Also missing are the Venetian money lenders and so you must make do with what you have. This does give a more guerrilla feel to the campaign as you can, along the way, enlist the aid of local rebels to help in your missions. The rewards are higher in many missions from a Ducat standpoint but you’ve still got to use it and your units wisely so that you have enough strength to take the next area.

For more video game reviews on this and many others head to Game Rankings

Our Rating for Lionheart: Kings` Crusade Review (PC)
8.0 Replay
With a couple multiplayer modes and five difficulty levels it’s got some replay value. I’m hoping they’ll add some more interesting game modes in the future. DLC doesn’t really look like a major option for expansion unless it’s new battles and multiplayer modes.
9.0 Graphics
I love the whole look and feel of the game but when you zoom down into the combat you’ll be disappointed by the generic and repetitive unit combat animations.
9.0 Sound
The same goes for the sound in regards to combat. However, the music and the voices, especially the narrator are really well done. The music does tend to change rather suddenly when you enter combat. Hopefully they’ll work on more dynamic soundtracks in the future games.
8.5 Gameplay
There are a few things I’d like to see, confirmation or a way to remove placed defensive and siege equipment prior to a battle. I accidentally placed things I didn’t want on occasion and couldn’t undo. The game offers some interesting features like factional bonuses as Crusaders and a more standard tech tree as Saracen.
7.5 Multiplayer/Online Content
Two game modes presently but hopefully they’ll come up with some new ones along the way. I’ve got a few ideas for some if you need help Neocore!
8.5 Overall
It’s a solid Silver with only some minor flaws which don’t detract from the game that much. Definitely hours of real-time strategy enjoyment here plus it makes RTS’s more accessible to the masses as there’s very little micromanagement to bog down the game’s flow.

Rating: 3.9, votes: 9

#1 Oct 8, 2010 05:29:45 Oct 08, 2010 09:31
This review has been done very well. I would like to praise reviewer for making a list of differences between Lionheart Kings’ Crusade and King Arthur.
#2 Oct 8, 2010 05:39:21 Oct 08, 2010 09:40
Christophor Rick (TheSuperGuido)

Thanks! I had a little help with that...well, a lot of help, from Neocore who are extremely friendly and helpful as is Paradox who we thank for the five free copies we’re giving away.

#3 Oct 8, 2010 10:13:11 Oct 08, 2010 14:17

Pretty excited about the game. Like with King Arthur I like that this is taking a different approach to what many see as a Total War clone. Good to hear that it doesn’t disappoint.

Only thing about the review that bothered me a little was that it referred a lot to King Arthur, and for those people who haven’t played it those references might be a bit of an issue.

#4 Oct 8, 2010 10:22:31 Oct 08, 2010 14:24

First time i read this a Review from this side. I like the writing and review style. Thumbs up. Didnt know the side too. Now its bookmarked. Thank you. keep the good work!

#5 Oct 8, 2010 10:28:18 Oct 08, 2010 14:30

Pretty good review IMO! I wasn’t thinking of getting it, but now you guys made me consider otherwise.... ;)

#6 Oct 8, 2010 10:32:32 Oct 08, 2010 14:33
Thanks so much for this insightful review, I’ll definitely have to check this game out!
#7 Oct 8, 2010 10:59:53 Oct 08, 2010 15:01
Christophor Rick (TheSuperGuido)

As Plankton suggested, you might not all be familiar with King Arthur. Here’s my review of King Arthur the Role-playing Game.

I hope that proves helpful :)


#8 Oct 8, 2010 11:04:27 Oct 08, 2010 15:05
Corrupt Gijoe

Another good review. Please keep them coming. It is good to get an honest review so I don’t end up waisting my money on something that might just end up being garbage.

#9 Oct 8, 2010 11:23:33 Oct 08, 2010 15:26

The game looks interesting, but what concerns me the most in "Total War" style games is the quality of the AI. I don’t play multiplayer much, and never on these types of game, and the AI on the Total War series has been a major negative for me.

#10 Oct 8, 2010 11:48:15 Oct 08, 2010 15:49

I was already looking forward to playing this game, now I’m looking forward to it even more!

#11 Oct 8, 2010 11:46:52 Oct 08, 2010 15:50

I was very suprised at King Arthur first game from Neocore. I loved the game, so complex and simple. I was waiting for this one very much and so far from your review and the vidoes from trailers I am very happy. Your review was excellent read, thanks for that.

#12 Oct 8, 2010 12:15:57 Oct 08, 2010 16:16

Sounds pretty awesome, I like the Crusades

#13 Oct 8, 2010 13:49:29 Oct 08, 2010 17:53
This one definitely looks interesting. Sign me up.
#14 Oct 8, 2010 17:52:40 Oct 08, 2010 22:06
Nice review. Was looking for a review for this game. This one points out exactly what I want to know. The list of differences is a nice touch.
#15 Oct 9, 2010 06:06:29 Oct 09, 2010 10:07
Interesting review. I must say I wasn’t very interested in the game but your reveiw piqued my interest. I wonder if there is a demo out to try it first - off to Google that. Thanks for the review!
#16 Oct 9, 2010 11:05:35 Oct 09, 2010 15:07

There is no demo yet, hopefully they will release it in sometime. But the game from trailers looks incerdible :)

#17 Oct 11, 2010 02:54:19 Oct 11, 2010 06:55
I have a softspot for games that Paradox Develops/Publishes. Looks like Total War! Game looks great.
#18 Oct 11, 2010 12:22:03 Oct 11, 2010 16:23

Very intresting review, I heard of King Arthur and wanted to buy it, but as I heard of this game, I wanted to get that one first, ( I have ocassion now :D ) About the review, I think its really honest and thank you for that. The diffrences are very nice touch to the review, overall can’t wait till I play that game :D

#19 Oct 12, 2010 08:14:01 Oct 12, 2010 12:22

Good review, of the few that have come out so far, this is the most comprehensive, comparing the game directly to King Arthur, which is exactly what i was looking for.

I have to say, that based on the reviews ive seen of the game, they seem to have addressed many of the major issues i had with King Arthur(such as the morale system), without taking away what made the game unique and interesting.(such as the rpg system)

Looking forward to playing it.

#20 Oct 14, 2010 13:45:42 Oct 14, 2010 17:53
Tiarnan B

I love reading your website, shame that your forums are not activate :( , would love them back :) About the review is great written as all the reviews you’ve done before SuperGuido . Played King Arthur before and really liked it so, far the reviews around the web were positive and the free allies DLC is a nice touch from Neocore and PI, love their games and Lionheart;s King Crusade so far by reviews didn’t dissapoint. Thanks for that review and hope the forums someday will be back.

#21 Oct 14, 2010 14:06:49 Oct 14, 2010 18:12
Christophor Rick (TheSuperGuido)

Tiarnan that makes me so happy :)

Also, we’re working on re-inventing the forums and bringing them back. Just have to find some admins and figure out how to organize them so that they’re informative and useful.

#22 Oct 14, 2010 15:28:28 Oct 14, 2010 19:32

This game looks amazing. I wish I had gotten the chance to play King Arthur, as that game also looked equally as good. It’s just that with all the other games that were coming out at the time, I ran out of money, and just never got it. Nevertheless, if I do get the chance to get this game, i probably will. You guys did a good job of making me want it even more. :)

#23 Oct 14, 2010 15:26:05 Oct 14, 2010 19:37

Good review indeed. :)

Seems like a very interesting battle system, definitely would like to give this one a go.
Thanks for both the link for the King Arthur review and the comparison chart .


(Very nice of you to post in the comments too.)

#24 Oct 14, 2010 15:32:48 Oct 14, 2010 19:45
This looks very interesting. I didn’t know King Arthur made real time strategies more accessible. I think I’ll go try the demo for that since they don’t have a demo for this.
#25 Oct 14, 2010 16:02:03 Oct 14, 2010 20:07
Sounds like a really interesting game, two campaigns that have different mechanics is a good idea. Its great to see that people are still making PC strategy games like this and trying different things.
#26 Oct 14, 2010 16:06:48 Oct 14, 2010 20:10

I love such an inide devs releasing such a great games. Neocore is only 3 man team and they vreate game of maybe 2% of Total War producers and create the game equal to theirs which is quite amazing. I really want to try this game and I hope I will. The diffrence list by you Guido is great for new players that would be stack between King Arthur or Lionheart’s King Crusade. Thanks you.

#27 Oct 14, 2010 16:54:58 Oct 14, 2010 21:00

Very nice and detailed review.  This sounds like a pretty good game, and the setting is interesting.  Thanks!

#28 Oct 14, 2010 18:06:35 Oct 14, 2010 22:17

Great of Neocore to help add the list of differences at the end of the review, tbh Paradox is a rare gem in customer care these days so nice to see that it also goes for their "partner" studios.

  Seems like the bottom line is that they kept the goodie-parts of Arthur and beefed it up with a lot of the extras you kind of hoped for while playing Arthur, like equipping soldiers.

I really like it that they went for the historical setting for this game instead of making a Arthur II-game. Based on your review it seems like a must-have if your in to the whole military-middleages-thingy like me :)

eager to try it out..  one way or the other :) 

#29 Oct 14, 2010 21:49:41 Oct 15, 2010 01:53
By far one of the better reviews I’ve read. Very in depth and now I’m looking forward to playing this. I like the technical look at things because information about the placement of siege and miscues like that are very helpful. To finish it off with the comparison was a great way to go. All in all, I’m excited to play this when it comes out.
#30 Oct 14, 2010 23:30:50 Oct 15, 2010 03:31

This one really looks like it has great potential!  Can’t wait to play!

#31 Oct 15, 2010 05:14:08 Oct 15, 2010 09:17

Have only recently discovered King Arthur, and have been having fun with that - it appeals to me more than the more recent Total War games, as I’m more interested in the RTS combat than mucking about on the map - tempted by this too, as there’s enough differences in setting etc to make it worth a look. Good, informative review too - always encouraging seeing decent strategy game coverage.

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