PC Game Review: Strength And Honour 2
How close does Strength and Honour 2 come to beating Rome: Total War?
- great civilizations / ancients, turn-based, real-time, strategic, online or multi-player, single-player, trading and commerce, empire building, europe, asia
Strength & Honour 2 review (version 1.08)
Strength & Honour 1 (background)
Author: Pascal Giovaninni
Strength & Honour was first released in 2004. It had a turn-based strategy similar to the one you can find in
Did you ever dream of surpassing the conquests of Alexander the Great, conquering
The Spartan Hoplites are ready for the battle.
1. Installation & Technical Issues
The installation of Strength & Honour 2 went without problems. As with the previous games by Magitech, the game runs without the
2. Interface / Music/ Graphics
Now, if you are looking for
Otherwise the interface is largely unchanged from the previous game Takeda 3 but the Palace Mode has some new screens for the new features (political parties and national info). Diplomatic actions and the management of personnel are done in the Palace Mode where you will spend a lot of time analysing your relations, the trade routes or position of the enemy armies. The use of drag and drop is very common in the game (selecting the picture of a character and drop it in another slot) and makes the management fairly easy. However, with the addition of new aspects like happiness, trade or finance, I miss a more detailed overview of all my cities than the one I can find on the governorís page in the Palace Mode. Some direct links would have been nice too (for example going from the Palace Mode to a specific city or the option to choose a governor in the city panel). These options were available in the first game though, so they may be added later on. This is however not a major problem as all information can be accessed from either the World Mode or the Palace Mode but a more ergonomic interface would have made it easier.
Clicking on a city in the World Mode brings up screens of information. Players can manage the infrastructures of their cities, build armies, recruit mercenaries or check the happiness of their citizens via the city view of their cities. This is also the Mode where you will move your armies.
As usual with Magitechís games, a lot of care has been put also in the drawings and the artwork, showing a lot of attention to details and historical accuracy. A very large number of portraits are in the game (donít fall in love with these extremely lovely ladies).
The tactical gameís interface is very similar to the one of the previous games. Special abilities for some individuals and the formations/orders of your divisions are controlled in a series of buttons at the top right corner of the screen. You can select units and move them with a right-click as in most games.
If you have played Sango 2 and Takeda 3, you will recognise some of the music. They picked the best music from these games and added some new, very epic scores. The music of Strength & Honour 2 is absolutely great and gives the right mood to such a game.
Finally, the option to record battles which can then be viewed again from the main menu is a nice touch. This allows you to record your most epic sieges and also see the mistakes you have made.
Generally, you have access to all the information you need to play and, while not perfect, the interface is logical and easy to use.
3. World Mode
The players view their territories which are presented with a correct, though lifeless, topography of the world from
You can access the info screens of the cities from the World Mode. Each city has a different amount of buildings slots. The Huns have cities with the least number of slots but compensate by being difficult to reach and being able to have armies with a large number of horse divisions. The more buildings you have, the more expensive the new buildings will be, so you have to think carefully before buying the first buildings. The basic buildings are farms, barracks, schools, stables, markets, libraries and court houses. Some special buildings/wonders, like the Oracle in
Every city is unique but there are some very special cities in the game where the wonders can exist and are therefore of strategic importance: Sparta with the Oracle, Seleucia with the Great Temple and the Hanging Gardens, Alexandria with the Great Library and the Great Pyramid, Xianyang with the Great Wall and Rome with the Senate. Each of these wonders have a great impact and are extremely valuable. This is nice addition.
Now, if you decide to focus on warfare, you will want to build barracks, stables, and farms (to supply your armies). If you want to focus on peace, you will want to build schools, libraries, and court houses. The miniatures representing the cities show their culture (Greco-Roman, Persian etc.). Schools gradually change the culture of cities and once the culture has changed significantly, the miniature will change to reflect it - which is a feature I really enjoyed. Do you want to change all the conquered nations to your own culture or use the special abilities of the other cultures to get a variety of armies? The choice is yours.
An important aspect you will have to take into consideration is the happiness of your population. Building too many barracks, farms, and markets will make them unhappy and they may start to riot. On the other hand, schools, libraries, and court houses will make them happy. Other aspects come into play like taxes, trade goods, or whether the city is self-governing. An interesting aspect is that populations are xenophobic...a Greco-Roman city will be unhappy if the governor you chose is Egyptian for instance. I donít think Iíve seen this in another game.
Some cities have a huge valor as they can host a large number of troops and therefore allow you to create large armies. The different infrastructures of the cities are displayed on the main strategy map and they can also be raided by armies.
Strength & Honour 2 has a huge strategic map and as your campaign progresses, youíll have to transfer good generals to cities on the borders of your empire. As the units are bonded to their home cities, they will suffer as distance increases from their home: their morale will fall and the farther an army will get the more difficult it will be to supply it. This is actually one of the most interesting aspects of the game, as you will face the same problems as Alexander. My Greek army (Spartan) is having a lot of trouble reaching the
The Seleucid Empire is caught between the Spartans and the Mauryas.
After a battle, your armyís loses will be replaced from the home city. However this will only happen as long as the supply line is unbroken and the speed the reinforcements will reach their army will depend on the distance.
When you create an army, you will have to chose a marshal for your army and also the officers (with their specific abilities) leading the divisions of the army. Experienced division leaders can turn a defeat into a victory so itís very important to take good care of them. When you create an army, you get to choose between spearmen, swordsmen, archers, and cavalry. Each nation has four types of units which makes a total of 32 types of troops. There are two additional units, the Spartans (extremely heavy infantry) and the Immortals. Spartans can be only recruited in
A new feature allows you to buy mercenaries or supplies by selecting the merchant in the city panel. This allows merchant cities or civilizations that focus on trade to have decent troops when needed instead of having to slowly recruit them themselves. This option expands the ways a player can achieve victory by allowing him not to focus heavily on military buildings/strategy.
The strategic game in Strength & Honour 2, despite its drab graphics, is extremely well done. It is not only well constructed and highly effective, but also a major challenge. As the map is huge and the AI empires challenging, you will spend a very long time on a single campaign (if you survive long enough that is). Infrastructure investment, army building, trade of special items, good care of your characters, and diplomacy all play a large part in determining a playerís success.
As your Empire grows, you may decide to give control over certain cities to your governors and they will take care of their city and send armies to defend or attack enemy armies/cities. This is an excellent way to reduce the micromanagement.
Finally, some nice touches have been added showing the care for details. For example, armies crossing deserts will often be hit by sandstorms thus slowing them down.