The War of the Roses was a big old 15th Century dynastic squabble between two Plantagenet houses, York and Lancaster, for the throne of England. It ended in a Lancastrian victory, the reconciliation of the two houses, and the creation of House Tudor. Most importantly, it involved a lot of battles filled with armored chaps beating the living daylights out of each other. Fatshark's War of the Roses is all about those fellows, and their bloody clashes. Up to 64 players duke it out amid the pastoral setting of England's verdant countryside, ripped apart by brutal conflict. It can be a fast-paced slaughterfest one minute, and a methodical, tactical, squad-based multiplayer experience the next.There are fairly limited options in terms of game modes--team deathmatch as well as a conquest-style mode, in which players capture areas, are the only match types. The lack of variety in game modes means the team-versus-team matches can get tiresome. But what War of the Roses lacks in modes, it compensates for in the novelty of gameplay.Getting a kill in War of the Roses is no easy task. It takes a combination of mouse clicks and mouse swipes just to swing your weapon. Blocking works in almost the same vein, so sword fights between two players feels like a real medieval duel. Every move is deliberate, and winning battles comes from skill rather than getting in a few lucky shots. Every attack or bow shot must be calculated and perfectly timed to land, since opposing players can block, dodge, or interrupt your attacks at any time. However, because it is so difficult to land a critical hit, when you actually manage to deliver a crushing blow, it's incredibly satisfying.Those who have played the Battlefield series, will immediately recognize the squad system. When players respawn, they have the option to do so on different points on the map, including on other squad members.When in combat, you have the option to carry a wide variety of weapons, including swords, shields, axes, bows, and poled weapons--like Halberds and spears. Each weapon type differs in effectiveness, and encourages different fighting styles.Your choice of armor plays as much of a part in combat as your weapon. Not only can you unlock visually intimidating armor sets, certain character attributes can be affected, including movement speed and defensive abilities. Some armors can even completely deflect attacks.As you level up from winning matches and getting kills, you'll earn money, which can be used to purchase weapons, armor, character perks, and other bonuses like mounts. The perks break down into offensive, defensive, and squad support perks called Officer perks.Limited though it may be, War of the Roses delivers a grisly, realistic take on third-person medieval combat that hits most of the right notes. More than just a refreshing change of pace for the genre, it captures the raw kinetic essence of the period's turbulent warfare in an exciting way.