Lornsword Winter Chronicle (Xbox One) Review
Drop-in local co-op is a nice touch
RTS mechanics are approachable
Foot prints and sand trails units leave behind are pretty cool
Weak voice work
Takes a good while before gameplay and plot speed up
Some stages are unbalanced and cause annoying frustration
Designed with a home console controller in mind, Lornsword Winter Chronicle is a RTS mixed with slight elements of tower defense. It is a single player story-driven campaign with a larger emphasis on narrative.
The slow hour long introduction is essentially one big tutorial but explains the foreign gameplay mechanics and controls well. Playing as generals with family responsibilities, characters are tasked with keeping a kingdom safe but often have much to lose at the personal level. Many scenarios outmatch the player against staggering odds through a few mission types such as holding ground for an extended period of time or straight up defeating an enemy through force and planning. Unfortunately, some missions are more unbalanced than others, like having to hold a camp for a good 20+ minutes only to get ransacked suddenly from nowhere. Also, the plot can get pretty heavy at times but the weak voice acting doesn’t help sell it, which is a shame since so much effort was put into the narrative.
The control scheme is also unique. While the main controllable character can directly attack with sword swipes at the press of a button, it is most advisable to simply direct troops where to go and who to fight. Manually attacking is nothing more than button mashing anyway. Thing is, if the playable avatar falls in battle, it is instant game over. The trigger buttons are used to issue commands while the d-pad is used to summon magical creatures for assistance. Then, of course, there is tower building, resource harvesting, and unit upgrading along the way. In fact, this is really an RTS for players who don’t normally play these types of games. Enough has been stripped away to keep the experience at a more basic, approachable, and non-intimidating level but still carries a level of detail and depth to involve strategy.
From the trailer and screenshots, I thought Lornsword Winter Chronicles was going to be something more like The Banner Saga due to the similar art style. While these are two vastly different type of games, the Game Of Throne-ish overtones could be enough to suck some players in. Hardcore RTS fans, however, will crave something a bit more.
Not As Good As: Pikmin 2 (GC) or Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
Also Try: They Are Billions
Wait For It: Halo Wars 3
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com