‘Ploy at Wancheng’ is a FF scenario with RPG elements, containing one scenario with an introduction title and one scenario featuring the game itself, the skirmish at Wan Castle. The story is part historical part fiction detailing the unavoidable ambush against Cao Cao at Wan Castle seen in the game, ‘Dynasty Warriors’, and the epic poem, ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ written in the 14th century A.D.
Great fun, entertaining and creatively attractive, with a good fantasy approach at its centre, ‘Ploy at Wancheng’ is a great scenario of its kind, with good replay value and an overall good story. I enjoyed rescuing Cao Cao, to explore the hidden streets of Wan Castle, and to battle the enemy army within its halls. I liked seeing the burning interior, to watch as buildings collapsed, and to slay enemy officers who periodically inspired the troops in their presence. The game is truly unique, and as the review above mentions, keeping to the context of an arcade-style game. A few bugs were encountered during play, however and which overall effected my play and the rating of this category. One such bug was where I had defeated Jia Xu and his force, then taking Cao Cao to the exit, with a trigger saying I needed to hold off for 500 AOK seconds when there was no one left to fight. Likewise this affected my enjoyment of the scenario greatly, needing to wait 500 boring and empty seconds to win the game.
The scenario begins on easy, the player, if he so wishes, able to select in game the difficulty of the scenario, by selecting the bombard tower to play on moderate difficulty, or to play on hard, by selecting the guard tower. I first played on easy, but the game simply offered no challenge, fighting simply a matter of confronting, waiting and defeating, before moving on. Moderate, like easy, was fun but simply not very challenging. At times I thought I would be overwhelmed by hordes of enemy troops, but always I pulled through losing hardly a man. I then decided to play on hard, and needless to say, my cry for a challenge was still only hardly met; yet more challenging than the previous two difficulty levels. Above collapsing buildings ravaged by fire and destruction, I was caught by overwhelming groups of enemy troops patrolling the castle streets, needing the good maneuvering and micromanagement of my heroes in order to win. Enemy troops were seemingly only a tab more stronger, with extra Hp and Ap, I myself losing quite a few men, but nothing serious to pose any threat to my two heroes, Dian Wei and Cao Cao, who could not die. The scenario is fun to play on all three-difficulty levels, but still needing better refinement in order to become that extra bit more challenging.
CREATIVITY: (4.0) +
Creativity was good with a fun and fantastical approach to a castle, with burning walls and buildings and a labyrinth-like structure of streets. There was good renaming of units, excellent music and a bitmap keeping in tradition with the game, ‘Dynasty Warriors’. I had the ability to select in game the difficulty I wished to play on and at one scene to activate a sword attack with my hero against the enemy. As well as this, extended Hp and Ap of units is used to prolong the battle, and to determine the strength of certain units. In addition I spotted buildings collapse from fire, enemy units appear from a wall, grouped in between their captain, and an overall good interpretation of the historical event that was the ploy at Wan Castle during the Three Kingdom rule of China.
MAP DESIGN: (4.0) +
The map design was excellent for its kind, with good terrain mixing, use of Gaia and a very well designed castle interior. The placement of buildings was fascinating, fun to look at and interestingly conveyed, with rocks, flowers, rubble and mud paths, surrounded by walls and towering buildings. All of this adds to the RPG atmosphere and approach, and the burning buildings make for a creative feel, together with a great sense of chaos and haste.
STORY/ INSTRUCTIONS: (5.0)
I found the story particularly interesting, a good adaptation of one of the many battles seen in ‘Dynasty Warriors’ and the epic poem written many hundreds of years ago. The pre-game instructions screen was detailed and comprehensive, a good history lesson for the battle, and the hints and scout section alike were good together with many chat messages to bring the story forward. There were, however some spelling mistakes, a blank history screen and some confusing sentences. However, I believe the author’s mother language is not English and so there is no deduction here.
In a word – Creative.
In closing – A recommended download.