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The Settlers: Heritage of Kings (also known unofficially as The Settlers V, the original German title is Die Siedler - das Erbe der Könige) is the fifth instalment of The Settlers series of real-time strategy video games on the PC. Heritage of Kings breaks off from the typical pattern that Settlers games have followed since they began: while the concept of the game remains, in essence, the same, a lot of the gameplay features have changed from those of The Settlers IV, and slightly resemble many of the gameplay aspects displayed in the game Cossacks: European Wars. Despite this, Heritage of Kings still maintains many of the characteristics of classic Settlers gameplay.
In a change from the gameplay of The Settlers IV, the player no longer has a choice in who they play as, the main story mode following the adventures of the king's son Dario and his companions, as they seek to defeat the evil Mordred and return peace to the land.
The game starts with Dario, a young boy in Thalgrund, suddenly it is attacked by minions of the evil Mordred. Dario learns from his dying mother that he is the rightful heir to the throne of the land, upon which he sets out, accompanied by his childhood friend Erec, to locate his last living relative, his uncle Helias. Throughout their journey, Dario and friends face perilous dangers and must overcome difficult challenges, including making peace between the rival nations of Barmecia and Cleycourt, battling the ferocious barbarians of Folklung and Norfolk, and foiling the evil schemes of the countess Mary De Mortfichet in Kaloix, before eventually reaching the King's Castle, where Dario subdues Mordred's dark general, Kerberos.
The objective of the game remains the same as always: to create a thriving settlement, while amassing an army and defeating rival nations. There are now, however, an extraordinarily large amount of features that can be used in-game. Settlers fans will no doubt recall the scarcity of resources in the previous games; in Heritage of Kings, the introduction of Refineries for the various resources was a welcome addition, as it enabled players to construct more buildings in less time. Another welcome change was the addition of Upgrading Buildings: this enabled buildings to perform their specific job more efficiently, as well as providing room for more settlers to work there and, in some cases, providing new technology.
In Heritage of Kings, the player's main party is composed of characters known as Heroes. There are a total of six of them in the main game, each with specific attributes and abilities: these abilities can only be used once, before the player must wait a specific time to use them again. The Heroes in general are much better in combat than regular infantry and cavalry units, and also have the ability to talk to people found throughout the game. If a Hero is defeated in battle, he/she lies on the battlefield until units revive them by standing near them; upon revival, the Hero faces a set time before abilities can be used again.
The main character of the story, Dario, is the only hero present in the party at the beginning of the story. Dario is a swordsman living in the small village of Thalgrund in the West with his pet Falcon; however, an unexpected attack by the minions of the evil Mordred sends Dario on a wild adventure throughout the entire land. Upon clearing his village of Thalgrund of all threats, Dario sets off to the nearby village of Ridgewood to check upon his elderly mother. However Dario finds that the bandits have also attacked Ridgewood, and Dario's mother lies severely wounded. As she nears her end, Dario's mother explains to him that he is the rightful heir to the throne of the land, that he is the son of the once great King Keron. She hands him an amulet, and tells him that it is what the bandits were searching for, before she passes on.
With his mother's words in heart, Dario sets off to rid the land of Mordred and claim his rightful throne. Battling countless enemies in the lands of Barmecia, Folklung and Kaloix, he and his party eventually arrive at the Old King's Castle, where Garek, an old squire of Keron, awaits him. Dario cleanses the area and restores the ruined castle to its former glory. After defeating Mordred's vile General, Kerberos, Dario moves on to defeat Mordred himself in Evelance, and return peace to the land.
Dario is the most well-rounded hero with useful techniques. He can send his falcon to fly in a certain direction and see what lies ahead. He can also use his leadership skills to defend his soldiers by causing enemies to retreat. The player can also get to see through the eyes of Dario's Eagle (this is the only ability that can be used all the time at any time). By far Dario's most useful skill is his ability to detect nearby enemies: if somebody is near, Dario's icon in the bar at the top of the screen will flash blue, alerting the player of possible danger.
A childhood friend of Dario, Erec followed his natural talent and joined the Brotherhood of Knights, who went to war in the East. Erec then returns to Ridgewood, with quite a sizeable army to meet up with his old friend. Erec accompanies Dario from Ridgewood for the rest of his journey. Erec plays a medium-major role in the plot of the story, often advising Dario on combat strategies, and leading the forces into the fray. When the party arrives in Kaloix, Erec is the first person to doubt Ari's sincerity, believing that she had run off, never to be seen again, much to the dismay of Dario. However, Erec is proved to be wrong when the party finds Pilgrim in a village to the east.
Erec is by far the most useful unit in combat, while the game shows Erec to have the same attack power as Dario, many people believe Erec to have a stronger attack than most other units. The game also shows Erec to have a higher defence than other units, whereas Erec usually seems to be the first hero to fall in battle, thought this could be a case of the enemies ganging up on him to eliminate his threat. Erec has probably the most useful combat abilities, his first being Aura of Strength, which doubles the attack power of all the units in his vicinity. His Second ability is Maelstrom, which violently slashes all enemy units around him. Maelstrom, coupled with Aura of Strength is capable of defeating an entire squad of troops in one hit.
A wise old priest, brother to King Keron and uncle to Dario, Helias relinquished the throne to Keron, choosing instead the path of God. Since the demise of the Old Empire, Helias has served mainly as a negotiator, attempting to keep peace between the remaining nations. His latest task is acting as a negotiator for the town of Crawford. When Dario and Erec arrive at Crawford, the town is already under siege by Mordred's forces, Helias and the town elders entrust the safety of Crawford to the two friends. They manage to once again thwart Mordred's forces and send their General Kerberos fleeing. After the incident in Crawford, Helias joined Dario and Erec as they continued their journey.
Helias also served as a negotiator with the ruler of Kaloix, the Countess Mary De Mortfichet, and hence, was not available during that level. Helias could be regained in the following level The Great Plague, where he explained to the party of the Countess's evil schemes. Helias holds a dark secret, he is actually the father of Mordred's evil General Kerberos.
Helias is most likely (and most obviously) the weakest hero in combat, however his abilities make up for it. He can turn any enemy unit to fight alongside the heroes and he can also allow all units in his vicinity to receive more hits before they are defeated.
Ari is a Robber Knight, leading her band of Rogues in the Cleycourt area. In order to gain the trust of the people of Barmecia, Dario and friends must capture Ari and her gang, and present them to the mayor of Barmecia. Upon doing so, the heroes also finish the Weather Machine that was being constructed nearby, which make the skies burst open with rain, as was requested by the mayor of Cleycourt. However, trouble struck when the Weather Machine broke down, causing the rains to become endless, and flooding much of the land around Cleycourt. With the country in turmoil, Cleycourt declared war on Barmecia, it was then that the heroes sought the help of Ari, returning to Barmecia and relieving her of her prison cell. In return, Ari helped the heroes to halt the rain and make peace between the two nations. Dario requested that Ari join them on their journey and she humbly accepted. When the party arrive in Kaloix, Ari is sent away to the neighbouring villages along with Pilgrim to check reported disturbances, the party later find Ari in the clutches of De Mortfichet, but after De Mortfichet's defeat, Ari is returned to the group. At this point, it becomes apparent that Dario is smitten with Ari.
While Ari has the same defensive attributes as Helias, she is an invaluable member of the team, as she can attack from afar using her bow. Her abilities are also incredibly useful, Ari's first ability is that she can Camouflage herself to avoid enemies, this skill comes in handy on many occasions. Her other ability is useful when low on soldiers, as she can summon members of her gang to lend a helping hand in the fray, however these reinforcements only stay around for a short time.
Pilgrim is a dwarf, who comes from a Sulphur Mining family. The family specialized in explosives of all kinds, keeping the secret arts within the family, as a result, he has a slight distrust in other people and doesn't feel that anyone other than himself is competent with explosives. When the party first meet Pilgrim, he is in charge of the Stone Mining operation in Barmecia, Pilgrim joins the party when the mayor of Barmecia requests stones so he can construct a cathedral. Pilgrim proves to be invaluable to the party as he guides them through the hills of Folklung and Norfolk, he also assists in the recruiting of the final hero, Salim. When the party arrives in Folklung, they find the city under siege by barbarians, led by the vicious Varg. Pilgrim goes on ahead of the others to meet engineering genius, Salim, with the two of them joining back with the party later in this level. Pilgrim is also sent away with Ari to the villages east of Kaloix by the countess Mary De Mortfichet. The party later encounter Pilgrim in a village far to the east, where he tells of the ambush that he and Ari got caught up in, and that Ari was taken away.
Pilgrim is by far the strongest hero in battle, with high attack and defense caps. Pilgrim's speed is what lets him down, being slower than the other heroes. Pilgrim's abilities are also very useful. He can erect a Spring Cannon to act as a temporary defence mechanism. He can also plant bombs, either to expose mine shafts or to obliterate enemies in combat.
The final hero gained in the main game and appears to be of Oriental origin. Not much is known about Salim, other than he is a mechanical genius, working in the city of Folklung. Rumours say that Salim is the advisor to a king who looks after all situations, no matter how hopeless. He is recruited to the party by Pilgrim, as he arrives in Folklung ahead of the other heroes. Salim acts as a sort of advisor and keeps very cool in all situations. He is the only hero, aside from Erec, to remain with Dario for the entirety of the story since he joined.
Salim acts as another well-rounded character and is helpful in defense, utilizing his traps in well-placed locations. Salim can also heal allies in his vicinity. Salim's Saracen origins enable him to execute attacks in lightning fast speed, coming only second to Ari in terms of agility.
Other Major Characters
Son of Helias and General of Mordred's army, Kerberos became twisted when his father turned down the throne of the Old Empire. Kerberos usually commands his minions from afar, however he does make a rare appearance now and again, the first of which being in Crawford, where Dario and Erec defeated his troops and made Kerberos retreat. Kerberos also makes an appearance at the Old King's Castle, where the heroes put a stop to his madness.
Kerberos is a playable character in The Cloudy Mountains mission in campaign mode. He is also a playable character in the online multi-player mode, as with the heroes, Kerberos features abilities which can be used to the player's advantage, among which, Kerberos can lower enemy troops' attack power. Kerberos' basic stats are the same as Pilgrim's.
Mary De Mortfichet
The countess Mary De Mortfichet, ruthless ruler of the region of Kaloix, very little is known about her past, the local people of Kaloix claim that she just turned up and took over the lordship of Kaloix one day. The heroes later find out that De Mortfichet was allied with Mordred and was poisoning the people of her estates to make them easy targets for Mordred. Though she has allied with Mordred, she bears no loyalty to him and merely hopes to increase her personal gain. She despises Mordred's General Kerberos.
Mary De Mortfichet is only a playable character in the online multi-player mode, bearing slight resemblance to Salim, in that she is very swift in her movement. De Mortfichet has a technique that poisons the opposing troops.
There are a couple of expansion packs you can install:
The first expansion disc adds bridge building and the following characters:
- Drake - The Bounty Hunter
- Yuki - The Mercenary
- Kala - The Witch of the Shrouded People
The second expansion allows you to play as:
- Kerberos - the dark knight
- Mary De Mortfichet - former ruler of Kaliox
- Varg - leader of the Wolf Bandits