I want to note that this game was sent to me as a review code. I am very grateful for the opportunity, but I will not let it sway my opinion.
This weekend I got to Beta test SpellForce Conquest of Eo. This post will be less of a review and more of my first impressions since the game isn’t out yet. Spellforce is a real-time strategy game with RPG elements. You take control of a magic user with unique skills to raise an army and complete quests. Build a formattable mage’s tower and face off against the parrels of EO. This game plays like a Civilization game, but one that follows a story. I only got to play 140 turns of this game, but I got a solid sense of what it is about.
If you are a fan of RTS games, I think you will enjoy this more than I did. This game had way too much going on for my taste. Although a lot of the mechanics are simple, keeping on top of the tasks proved too difficult for me. I kept getting overwhelmed by enemy units. You can always change the difficulty if things get too hard. The game has a simple base-building mechanic where you can hire units, research magic, and do crafting. The crafting varies depending on what type of magic user you choose to use.
The game lets you choose from three different magic users: an alchemist, a necromancer, and an artificer. This choice affects the type of crafting you can do and some of the choices you can make. There are even cases where you can skip combat based on your class abilities. The alchemist lets you brew potions that you can use to support your troops, the necromancer lets you raise ghouls from your fallen subjects, and the artificer lets you craft items that give your units different powers. I felt that this was more flavor than tangible mechanics since all the units played the same.
Combat is what you expect from a turn-based game. You control your units and try to kill your enemy without suffering casualties. Units will level after combat, but any units you lose will be lost permanently. Play smart or lose everything. The game does offer a neat feature to skip combat, eliminating a lot of the grind. I recommend you use this only on easy matchups or risk needlessly losing units to RNG.
The RPG elements are fine, but I got a limited experience in the beta. I only got to play through one mission, and it was fine enough but nothing too exciting. I did like that you are presented with choices you could fail, like in a choose your own adventure game, but I didn’t think the choices mattered too much. The choices I encountered allowed me to skip combat, gain a unit, or snag some loot. It didn’t affect the main story progression.
Most of the gameplay exists on this open map where your units can move freely over. There are wandering mobs, hidden treasures, and bases that you can uncover as you travel. The game offers a questline that you need to complete along with your other tasks. I found that the challenge of this game comes from managing all these tasks, and I am not very good at macro-managing.
My only complaint with this game is that the movement is clunky. Choosing movement, selecting attacks and anything in the open world is cumbersome. I would waste turns because a unit would move where it shouldn’t have. Other than that, everything else I got to try was interesting, and I am sure there is an audience for it.
This game looks promising if you like the genre. If you don’t, maybe hold off. It does feel very niche at the moment and unless they can have an amazing story, I believe it will stay niche. You can wishlist it on Steam and it is planned to release sometime in 2023.
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