*NOTE: This is an Early Access review meaning it will be a lot shorter than a normal review but will still explain what I thought about it. A full review will be published once Rooks Keep has released.
Welcome to the official blood and gore feast! Rooks Keep is an arena-based, melee combat game. A variety of game-modes, characters, maps and mutators are available. It also has Chess modes, mod support and decapitation! It's available on Steam for and is being published and developed by RuneStorm.
Rooks Keep is a very gory, but very entertaining fighting game. It all starts out with how well done the combat system is. There are three main parts; attacking, defending, and parrying. There are light attacks and heavy attacks, each with their own spot on your mouse. You use your mouse for most of the actions you're going to do, whether it's attacking or parrying (defending is a control on your keyboard, which is still easy to use). The tutorial allows people to learn the controls very quickly, but people will figure out that the controls are hard to master, due to the varying moves that the AI/other players throw at you.
That's another thing. The AI that you face is pretty darn good at the combat system. Although it can be improved for every game mode, it will definitely give you a challenge. You may be able to take on one AI at a time, but when you get bombarded with two or three at a time; you're going to die a headless warrior. There are also multiple different classes to choose from, which gave me a sense of freedom. The skill points, which go into play with what class you can choose, reminded me of Star Wars: Battlefront 2. In Battlefront 2, you had to have enough points to play as a certain class and it is the same here. That being said, the unlockable classes aren't necessarily better because certain classes -with the right enough skill- have the potential to defeat them. That also goes with every class and that sets up a weird "rock-paper-scissors" element to it that I haven't seen in any other arena combat-based game. To add on, you can also use the skill points to add extra, helpful "tiers" to your character that will allow for a stronger fighter.
The last thing that really got my attention was all the game modes given. For an arena combat-based game, you'd expect the typical team deathmatch and deathmatch gamemodes. RuneStorm went the extra distance and introduced a chess game mode and a combat chess game mode. The combat chess is my favorite because you get can go toe-to-toe as a pawn fighting the queen of the other team and you might even win the fight! There are also a few other game modes including Conversion, Last Man Standing, and even Team Last Man Standing. For all these game modes, RuneStorm provided a "Mutators" tab where you can alter game options and change it to how you would like it whether you want powerups, slomo enabled, or even for combatants to run.
The only issues I had were a few texture pop-ins here and there with the ground and the player models. As I stated above, the AI will provide for a challenge, but they can definitely be smarter.
8.5/10 - You can view it here: http://encryptgames.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/rooks-keep-early-access-game-review/