Verdict: 6-sided slogging
In a Nutshell: Story-driven turn-based strategy about elves and the control of magic.
“The shadows of destruction begin to loom on the horizon once a human mage uncovers a dark and powerful secret dating back to the remote past of the Elven race. However, the Elves cannot allow this forbidden knowledge to fall into the hands of others and thus imperil the world. For the first time in countless years, this ancient race must venture forth and interfere with events transpiring in the lands of man.
With the renegade mage in their sights, the sorceress Gilwen and ranger-lord Seagate set off together, unaware that beliefs and friendships alike will soon be tested…”
- Fun Rating: Sorta Fun
- ESRB: T
- Players/Mode: single-player/campaign, multiplayer/pvp
- Game Duration: 20-40 hours
- System: PC
- Developer: Paradox Interactive
- Website: http://www.elven-legacy.com/#/news/news_press_releases//
- Cost: $29.95 from GamersGate
- Demo: available from the game’s website
|Would I play this again?||undecided|
|Would I recommend this game?||yes|
|Was the story good?||interesting take on elves. more on that below.|
|Was the music good?||very nice|
|Were the graphics good?||yes|
|Was this game difficult?||yes|
|Was this game frustrating?||at times|
|Was this game offensive?||please, fantasy people, put more clothes on the ladies|
|Was this game worth your time/money?||yes|
Playing the game
The gameplay is straightforward in that you select the unit you want to move and then select where to move them or where to attack. Some moves can be undone with the backspace. Units can gain levels the longer they survive and with new levels have upgrades in some aspect: damage, defense, moving or magic. Selecting units can be a little tricky but most of the difficulty here is taken out with the camera controls. You’ll still need to exercise some patience lest you tell the wrong unit to move to the wrong place.
Before a new level you’ll have the option to purchase new units depending on how much gold you have. Also in the unit purchase screen, units can be upgraded for a cost, or given a magical item or spell. Items and gold can be collected by visiting certain areas on a map such as a cave, broken dirigible, or dragon bones.
The majority of game controls are about moving the camera around to see what’s going on. Pan with arrow keys or WASD, tilt and rotate by moving the mouse while holding down the right mouse button, and zoom with the mouse wheel (there are keyboard commands for all of these motions as well).
What the game gets right
When the graphics worked (the vast majority of the time) they were very lush and inviting and for the first few levels it’s a lot of fun moving the camera around and watching the battles take place. The soundtrack was another source of satisfaction and set the proper mood for the battles.
I really appreciated a different perspective on elves. The “nobel to a fault” is a refreshing break from the traditional mythos. This made the story twist back and forth and, as I usually make the “good” decisions, made me a little uncomfortable when things turned out to be a different shade of gray and went in a different direction than I was used to.
What the game gets wrong
To start with, you’ll probably run into audio glitches on the games opening sequence and once or twice during some cut-scene. As well, some of the animations don’t line up with the audio in these parts. These could probably be overlooked but as it’s a story-driven turn-based strategy, anything that hinders the story telling is going to hinder the game.
And, speaking of video, again with the under-dressed female characters in fantasy settings! Gah! I get that this fantasy but come on; it’s been done to death. Want to be innovative? Put some armor on the ladies that would actually protect them. Off the top of my head I can’t think of ANY game that does this yet.
The story is good but if, like me, you have to try several times to get through a level, you can only listen to the same clips so many times. And, even though you can click through the clips, there’s no way to skip the story completely and jump back into the game. Also, there’s no way to turn off unit animations during the game. You can click to skip these as well but, in my haste I kept clicking too much and would do something like end my turn, or move to where I didn’t want to.
One of the features listed for the game is multiple endings depending on choices you make. When I read this, I think “they’re going to ask me who I want to kill”. However, the ending is not really based on a choice, it’s more of stumbling on to the correct spaces at the end of the game.
Sum it up
It felt like something was lost in the storytelling, but maybe since it was from a different perspective than the backstories I have built up in my mind about elves. I played through to see the plot unfold and was left confused on one of the endings as the credits rolled.
After much tactical struggling to get through the campaign I went looking for a multiplayer game to be destroyed at. However, there doesn’t seem to be any servers up for multiplayer but maybe I was just late to the party (as usual). It’s a shame, though, because I think this game would be a lot of fun against other people. As it sits, the core of this game seems solid and what is there is tantilizing. It just needs that extra bit of polish.
UPDATE: After talking with the developer it’s apparent that I’ve become too passive with my gaming, forgetting the shaman rituals of old that were required (and still are) for PC games. In other words, make sure your router is set correctly.