There's no rose without thorns

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
Author and references

If you don't like medieval atmospheres, the fight in an uncomfortable armor in the timid light of dawn and the assault with the sword, in short, if you don't like the war of the past, always bloody and terrible but damn more calm, this title is not for you.

War of the Roses it is in fact a third-person action game entirely focused on the great battles that dyed the English sound red between 1455 and 1485. At the end of the long contest, the House of Lancastrians won, while Richard III of York lost his life in the last act of the conflict which took place just south of Market Bosworth. The title Fatshark reproposes some of the most famous scenarios of the bloody fight for the throne of England allowing us to impersonate a soldier of the York or to wear the colors of the Lancastrians.

Two factions for one country

The highlight of the new Fatshark title is multiplayer, which offers mechanics peculiar enough to stand out War of the Roses from the mass of fighting titles. The basic classes are four, that is light infantry, heavy infantry, archer and crossbowman, but with the accumulation of experience points, four custom slots become available that allow you to equip our army at will. This means being able to combine crossbow and shield, use a mount and gradually obtain more and more lethal and specific weapons. The levels are many and it is not immediate to unlock everything, but even the simple infantryman can have his say on the battlefield if the man who maneuvers him shows off his ability. One of the other peculiarities is the slow recharge of the crossbowman, which can be speeded up by pressing the left mouse button at the right time, while some classes can carry out a short charge that allows you to push the opponent or to stand between allies and enemies to save someone. in difficulty. Among the possibilities of the title we then find the cure, with allied players who can lift us from the ground and the bandages that we can apply on wounds to restore health. Yet the most characteristic element of all is undoubtedly the race: in the Fatshark title, in fact, there is no sprint and to increase the speed it is enough to move for a few seconds without being hit or performing any action. Unfortunately, the multiplayer includes only two modes, namely the team deathmatch and the conquest of some positions that turn into spawn points.

The lack of the Siege mode, a true pearl of Mount & Blade, is a real shame, given the context that is suitable to say the least, but on the other hand the title does not even offer catapults, protections, ladders or mobile towers, therefore move away from exclusively related modes combat could highlight some structural limitations of the title. Obviously, we hope that these limits will be knocked down with some updates, but for now the only thing that matters is to beat your opponents to death in games of up to 64 players. As we said, the multiplayer sector is the heart of the experience, but the offer does not lack the single player that puts us in front of a series of objectives in sequence and surrounds us with dozens of bots. Unfortunately, the solo mode is affected by the presence of only 5 scenarios and a poor artificial intelligence. To describe the campaign, the development team, which probably found itself forced to brutally reduce the single experience for administrative reasons, took refuge behind the words "training". But even this term is too flattering, given the poor quality of the bots, and the meaning of the whole experience is reduced to the suggestive description that accompanies the panoramic shots at the beginning of each battle.

Green England is tinged with red

One of the strong points of War of the Roses it is the strong differentiation between the classes. The crossbowman takes several seconds to charge but deals more damage than the archer who, for his part, can throw more shots and enjoys greater mobility while using the bow. Sword and shield are slender while the two-handed weapons have a notable impact force. The horse obviously makes its own story and is a notable advantage, especially in terms of movement, but it is also a big target for archers, and falling to the ground in the midst of enemy soldiers is almost a death sentence.

Combat gives a lot of importance to the player's skills and tries to simulate reality, even if in different situations it helps us with visual indicators that mark times, angles, shooting power, precision and so on. Blocking attacks with a shield is pretty straightforward, at least for frontal hits and as long as the protection holds, while when only using weapons it is necessary to steer the parry towards the exact direction of the blows. This element gives rise to rather technical fights and, albeit affected here and there by imperfect collisions, always fun. Winning against two opponents is a great satisfaction and our ego can count, to further inflate, on the final moves. These are deadly blows that are useful to quickly finish a dying enemy and that give us some brutal and well-made animations, capable of increasing the pathos of the battle. In terms of balance the only problem is perhaps represented by the arrows, extremely precise and incredibly fast. Dodging the shots is hard to say the least even if very realistic, but too much precision can be frustrating for those who find themselves targeted by a particularly skilled archer.

In the shadow of the Bamburgh walls

From the point of view of the setting, the work done by the developers is undoubtedly valid. The assault at dawn on the massive Bamburgh Castle, amidst rain, fog and flickering torches, is nothing short of thrilling. The large maps, with proportionate and detailed constructions, allow you to set up maneuvers, to circumvent the enemy, to hide effectively and to close the enemies in the numerous alleys and crevices of the fortified structures. Even the most open maps, albeit less evocative, have an excellent aesthetic result whose beauty, unfortunately, cracks due to the bad look of the water.

But overall, the English countryside is carefully rendered, as are the villages, and that is enough to put us emotionally in the context among dozens of carefully modeled and rather detailed soldiers. The animations, in absolute terms, are not exciting, but in relation to the genre, or that of realistic combat, they do well and are very fluid. Sometimes the desire to create that typical drift of the body, pulled by too heavy weapons, creates a grotesque effect, but for fans of the genre and of the time it will certainly not be a problem to overlook it. It is more difficult to overlook the numerous glitches, which involve the aforementioned collisions, but fortunately the incidence of these problems is limited and for most of the time it is possible to play in peace. Unfortunately it is from a purely playful point of view that the experience is incomplete. While the variety and ideas of Mount & Blade are dampened by a decidedly poor technical sector, in War of the Roses the opposite happens. An excellent technical potential is in fact ruined by the lack of ideas and the failure to implement complex methods that would give the title a much greater depth. If we add to this the lack of modding, which like the sieges will perhaps be implemented later, it is impossible not to turn up your nose.



Readers (41)


Your vote

In War of the Roses the physics of the clashes are valid, the feeling of control over the character is almost always good and the player's skill matters a lot. Unfortunately, all this is contained in only two multiplayer modes which among other things are as old as the cucco and are absolutely unsuitable for enhancing horses, archers and infantry charges. In any case, the Fatshark title, which costs around 30 euros, undoubtedly deserves a chance if you appreciate physical combat and medieval atmospheres.


  • Technically valid
  • The action flows well
  • Evocative settings
  • Great in-game interface
  • The multiplayer limited to just two generic modes is a major limitation
  • The single-player is almost useless

PC System Requirements

Test Setup

  • Operating system: Windows 7
  • Processor: Core i7 920
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Video card: GeForce GTX 570 GLH

Minimum requirements

  • Operating system: Windows Vista / Windows 7
  • Processor: Dual Core 2.4GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Scheda video: Shader 4.0 - Nvidia GeForce 9800, AMD Radeon 4830
  • Disk space: 5 GB

Recommended Requirements

  • Operating system: Windows Vista / Windows 7
  • Processor: Quad Core Intel or AMD processor
  • Memoria:4 GB RAM
  • Scheda video: Shader 4.0 - Nvidia GeForce 460, AMD Radeon 5870
  • Disk space: 5 GB
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