Medal Wars: Keiser’s Revenge is a game. In this game, players left-click where they want to move, and left-click on what they want to shoot, and left-click on what they want to hit with a melee attack, and left-click on what they want to pick up. They also right-click to reload. Although this simplicity means I can eat an ice-block while playing and still play fairly successfully, it causes some pretty persistent gameplay issues. Beyond that, players are given some crude, vaguely amusing humour and an apparently deliberately pointless narrative. So… cool?
To give as general an overview of MW: KR as I can, I’ll say that it’s a 2D isometric shooter set in a fictional war between the Green Army and the Black Army, parallel to World War I. It’s basically yet another WWI game, minus the pertinent Germanophobia. The only reference to nationality is the jargon used by your protagonist (which by the way, you name. Nice touch.), with terms such as “cor”, “blimey” and “bloody” implying that he is a lower class English soldier. This is of course done over the top in a painfully obvious way, as always. Yes, I get it; there are things that British people stereotypically say that other people don’t.
The same goes for much of the humour in MW: KR. Initially it’s interesting to see a game throw in a bit of old-fashioned easy going toilet humour, with fart and underpants jokes all round, and enemies comically clutching at shot-apart feet and all screaming the same over-done scream. Soon enough though, it all becomes tedious. Especially when you have to re-kill baddies after dying just before the end of an area, the gore of it all becomes unrewarding and very same-y.
It’s also a pain in the ass to not be able to shoot and move at the same time. A terribly out-of-place stealth mission was ruined for me since it is impossible to select to “melee this bad guy”. Instead, your protagonist will shoot him or (if you have no firearm equipped) pretend to shoot him. To melee an enemy you need to left click right next to him, wait until your character has moved to that position and stopped, then left click the baddie himself, and hope you are in range for the melee attack. It’s also likely that during this debacle he’ll turn around and force you to restart the mission. Good times.
This is only the case in one level though, and for most of the game you are right to blast away any baddie in your way, though tackling multiple enemies at once is hella-difficult since every time you shoot at a single baddie you stand still, putting yourself in danger of being shot by all the other baddies. This is only a real issue in the final act, but it’s enough to put me off actually finishing the game.
Boss fights are inserted at the end of each act and are actually sort of fun, even if just because they are a change of pace from the usual muddled-up gameplay. Shooting-range sections precede these fights, and although they are nothing new to the gaming world, the need to be accurate and fast in these sections mixes up the gameplay and is very much appreciated, since any sort of accuracy while using the clumsy left-clicking to move and shoot guys is unimaginable. I know, I keep coming back to it, but it really is very clumsy.
There a whole bunch of collectibles to attain in the game, ranging from medals award for killing this number of baddies or breaking all the bottles on Pebble Beach, to semi-pornographic collector’s cards of scantily-dressed ladies. Goodie. The only question I have for this entire element to the game is why? I kind of understand why there is a shop; you can buy bigger and/or better guns and upgrade them, sure. But why do we care about pervert-Harry’s card collection? Are we supposed to want to source him some fresh material for his alone time? I sure don’t.
So we find Medal Wars: Keiser’s Revenge somewhere in that forest of games that we can tell quite obviously have had a lot of effort put into them, with an ultimate lack of polish bringing down the experience. We do have to consider as to whether that was totally intentional in this case though, of course The demo for MW: KR was undeniably excellent–the first act is actually a whole ball of fun. Enemies come up to three at a time, but are easily defeated. Easy doesn’t usually mean enjoyable, but it does here. So yeah, try it out! As long as you won’t be offended by a bit of slightly sexist and racist comments.
Select Start Media was provided with a review copy of Medal Wars: Keiser’s Revenge by Retro Army.