After being accepted into the beta today I eagerly installed the game and played through Chapter 1 of 4.
Overall the experience was good, though I was fighting the game a little with a few issues though these were issues clearly stated
on the opening 'greeting' upon launching the game.
Issues such as units not forming together when moving many of them, the game micro-freezing when scrolling around, etc.
I'm gonna get the bad out of the way first just because I usually prefer 'bad news' first.
Like I said above I sometimes felt I was fighting with the game, those these were mostly issues that are gonna be fixed soon..
However one issue I didn't see listed and feel I should bring up is the lack of ability to scroll (using arrow keys) and zoom at the same time.
Not sure why but when trying to scroll and zoom the camera just stops/freezing.. maybe my 'gaming style' is just weird but when playing I'm constantly
scrolling and zooming, etc.. so you might be able to imagine that the camera seemingly freezing or stopping every couple seconds can become annoying,
which is one of the reasons I called it 'fighting' with the game.
With a little practise I starting alternating between using my left hand (scrolling) and right hand (zooming) but it's still kinda awkward.
Another issue which seems quite prevalent, is units jittering either during combat, or when clumped together standing in one location.
By jittering I mean they stutter, or move repeatedly back and forth quickly in a clearly unnatural way.
This seems to happen to units 'fighting' over space when clumping together during combat mostly,
but also happens when clumped together when multiple units are ordered to the same spot.
Combat should be good to look at, and seeing units jitter and jive around is not pleasing to the eye at all, so hopefully a fix can be found for this.
Another thing I found weird, and maybe this is just a beta thing, but why are Legions always running?
The game overall feels great in it's scope (more on that later) but having all units running constantly takes away from the epic feel.
When zoomed in, the UI circle above units heads goes berzerk.
Mostly just when units are on the move, but there are also some evident issues when units are sitting still.
Basically the circle above units heads, when zoomed further into the unit, moves around the screen energetically.
It can move from left to right, over and over and over, or just around in circles.
A possible way to fix this, I would say, is to have this UI circle disappear when zoomed in a certain distance.
Units don't always initiate combat when 'touching'.
This annoyed me on several occasions during Chapter I.
When I had one unit marching from point A to point B, and between these points coming into contact with an enemy unit, they just walked past eachother.
On one occasion my unit stopped inside the enemy formation, so they looked like a Chess board where my men would be black and theirs white.
They just stood there beside eachother like idiots.
Units should engage in combat with eachother when they're about an in-game metre from eachother, or so, I think.
Units getting stuck.
I had several occasions where certain individual 'people' from within a unit would get stuck, or hung, on objects and wouldn't come loose.
Like on a bridge or something, they'd get stuck standing in one location while the rest of their formation was off somewhere else in the world.
Continuing from stuck units, the bug I'd consider the most major during my play..
The bridge that you build during the chapter and cross to the west.. later in the chapter I had my troops crossing back over the bridge from west to east.
What happened was as they began to cross, they 'garrisoned' the bridge, as if it were a city.
They started to cross then disappeared. I zoomed out on the map far enough to see the unit figures/icons since all my formations seemed to have vanished,
and noticed a single unit icon next to the bridge. I clicked it and right-clicked away from the bridge and the unit un-garrisoned itself and marched to position.
There was then another icon next to the bridge for the next unit. I proceeded to click this icon and ungarrison, one by one, every unit 'in' the bridge.
Then continued my men on their way.
--I have a save just before this happened, but have to double-check if it's repeatable upon re-loading; if so I can send it to someone (Rob probably)--
There was one other issue I ran into.
Nearing the end of Chapter I there's a part where you head north past Vesontio.
Here I ran into a supply issue where the nearest cities to resupply my units were so far back they were starving by the time they got up to their destination
north of Vesontio where I had to fight an enemy army.
I should have been able to resupply at Vesontio itself however the bridge near it was un-crossable and in the end I solved this problem by going the long way
around the river, running past the enemy units and back down the other side of the river to Vesontio to resupply.
Ok.. I think that's about it for the bad, now for my actual impressions of the game...
I love the amount of detail that's been added to the game in general. All the little things that make the game feel 'epic'.
Mentioning little things, even the roads that you build between cities look more natural then in H:Gold.
Things like seeing people in cities, mulling around.. Guards lazing in front of the buildings they're guarding, sitting up in watchtowers. People sweeping the floor.
Actually being able to see your workers working when sending them to their workplaces.
Speaking of workplaces, there's a larger variety of them now.. not just mines.
There are places such as wootcutters, fishing lodges, cattle farms, mines, just a good variety of places.. which all feel alive with workers working there.
The environments in general look much more lush and detailed.. Grass is finer, trees are nicer.. plus seeing little rocks and stones everywhere.
Just the overall quality of the environments is great.
There's even rain and falling snow. (I haven't gotten far enough in the game yet to see if there's snow groundcover during winter)
Though there was a fair bit of hand-holding I enjoyed Chapter I.
I know that wasn't very much positive compared to the negative but I took notes on the negative stuff and never did on the positive.
But overall the game feels pretty good, just a little struggling with the camera and the units stuttering bothered me the most.
I look forward to the next chapters and maybe I'll post my impressions of those.
So far the game is shaping up great, I expected bugs, and I received bugs.. but I've had a lot of fun so far.. now back to playing the game... =)