Battle Brothers for PC is a turn-based game which blends elements of strategies and RPGs together. The player is taken to a dark-fantasy land which, in terms of the atmosphere, brings George R.R Martin's world from A Song of Ice and Fire to mind. The player takes on the role of a commander in control of a group of mercenaries. Battle Brothers was both developed and published by the German Overhype Studios, whose game-dev debut it is. The creators were inspired by such games as Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat, Mount & Blade, Jagged Alliance or the first installment of the X-COM series.
Battle Brothers takes the player to an original, medieval-like, low-fantasy world, that is, a place that resembles the real world to a more extent, and where supernatural elements are reduced to rare occurrences. One does not witness here any glorious fight between good and evil, paladins wearing shining armors, or mages in colorful robes. The world of Battle Brothers is gray and harsh, filled with ordinary people working hard to earn their living and having fairly insignificant goals. Villagers cultivate the neighbouring lands, fighting back bandits and robbers. As for the nobility, they plot intrigues against other families.
When it comes down to fantasy elements, there are two green-skin races - huge and powerful orcs, and agile, small goblins. In dark areas of this world, the player can also meet the undead brought back to life by evil forces. Among them, one will find brainless zombies, skeletons of ancient warriors, ghosts, necromancers, or vampiric apparitions capable of teleporting themselves.
The player enters this world as a member of a group of mercenaries hired to track a local bandit. However, the team gets ambushed by archers and has to fight desperately for survival. During the last seconds of their life, the captain gives the command to the player. If the protagonist wishes to live, they have to gather the survivors and find a way out of the ambush. A last-ditch effort breaks the enemy's line – axes are crushing their shields, spears are sticking them into the ground... Afterwards, the protagonist is free, they can heal wounds, repair equipment, hire new people, etc. From now on, the player is the captain who decides what weapons their mercenaries use, what kind of armor do they wear, and what is their role on the battlefield. The player needs to search for profitable assignments, which is both to fill one's pockets with gold and make the team famous. Groups with good reputation can count on taking the best-paid jobs.
Highly valuable and powerful equipment, as well as well-trained team-members will be needed later in the game, when the time comes for one of the ending crisises: the invasion of the green-skins, the attack of the undead, or the civil war between noble families. The invasion mentioned first, is a coordinated campaign of the combined forces of orcs and goblins, who try to destroy the world of humans together. Their camps spreading in the vicinity of human settlements is an alarming sign. At one point, war tribes set out in large numbers to burn, murder and destroy towns and villages. The second option, which is the attack of the undead, is a sudden increase in the power of the dark forces that resurrect the dead and make them attack the households of the living. Contrary to the green-skins, the dead do not burn the settlements conquered; rather, they turn them into necropolises filled with nefarious magic. More and more of the dead come out of such places to fight on behalf of evil. A war between the local lords is the third option – noble families send armies of their soldiers to conquer towns and villages belonging to the rivals. This situation gives the player an opportunity to pick their side, but also forces them to deal with a new wave of crime, which is being reinforced by deserters.
Battle Brothers for PC combines elements of strategies and RPGs together. The experience is situated within two modes. On the map of the globe, the player can travel around the world in real-time, visit towns, buy equipment and sign contracts. When fighting begins, the game switches to the turn-based mode and every warrior gets located somewhere on the map made up of hexes.
The player can have up to 12 warriors in their command, eqipped with different kinds of weapons and having their individual sets of features. The characteristics of the soldier and the weapon they are wielding define their capabilities in battle. For instance, an axeman can break the shield of an enemy; a mercenary with a combat hammer is great for dealing with armored opponents; a man carrying a mace can stun their adversary, which forces them to skip their next turn. As for archers and bowmen, they attack at a distance. Thanks to the so-called wall of spears, the warriors using this kind of weapon can strike an instant blow to their foe that has got close enough.
The game does not make use of any system of classes, thus each mercenary can be equipped to the player's liking. However, certain combinations can be better than others, not only because of the stats describing particular soldiers, but also because of the presence of the unique features. For example, a mercenary who is described as a Bleeder, will be bleeding one turn longer than other characters if they are wounded. In this case, the soldier would certainly do better when fighting at a distance. The features of the mercenaries can also cause random events on the map of the globe to emerge – from small bonuses, (such as additional food from the fish obtained by a mercenary that is also a good fisherman). to arguments, fights, or even life-or-death duels. This last can take place when two travelling knights are in the player's team.
Unlike games such as XCOM, the turn-based combat system present in Battle Brothers does not utilize the mechanics allowing the player to move all of their characters in their turn, which afterwards is done by the AI. Instead, at the beginning of the turn, an amount of initiative is given to each of the combatants, and the more initiative particular characters have, the higher their position in the queue is. The amount of initiative is calculated on the basis of different statistics, such as points of action, fatigue, or the weight of the equipment used. A tired soldier wearing a heavy armor waits for their turn substantially longer than a good-feeling fighter in light chain armor.
Apart from points of action (movement and using skills) and fatigue (generated when taking actions and damage), an important role is played here by the morale meter. Eliminating subsequent enemies can improve the morale of the player's fighters, but watching the teammates dying has a negative influence of course. Characters whose morale has been significantly reduced, can lose their mind and escape the battlefield.
Battle Brothers for PC offers aesthetic, though humble, 2D graphics. The world map features animated water, dynamic clouds, as well as a day-night cycle. It is also worth noticing, that the contents of the game world are generated procedurally each time the player begins the game, which brings some refreshment and makes the experience unique in a way.
The creators included over two hours of atmospheric music, which accompanies the player on their path.
PC / Windows
- Intel Pentium 3 1.2 GHz
- 1 GB RAM
- graphic card 512 MB or better
- 1.5 GB HDD
- Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10
- Intel Core 2 Duo 2 GHz
- 2 GB RAM
- graphic card 1 GB GeForce GTX 560 or better
- 1500 MB HDD
- Windows 7/8/10