Empire of Magic hands-on

We take an up-close look at Mayhem Studios' upcoming fantasy-themed strategy game.

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We recently had an opportunity to take an up-close look at Empire of Magic, the upcoming fantasy-themed strategy game from Mayhem Studios. The turn-based strategy game seems reminiscent of Strategy First's Disciples and 3DO's Heroes of Might and Magic series, since Empire of Magic, like its forebears, lets you create adventuring parties of various monsters and hero characters and then explore and conquer an overland map.

Empire of Magic will feature a comprehensive single-player campaign consisting of 16 linked scenarios, in which players will follow the career of a young adventurer and his rise to power. Over the course of the game, players will be able to recruit different kinds of monsters and soldiers for their armies by discovering allies (and enemies) on the overland map, which will initially be blanketed by fog of war. Like in other games of this sort, players will also base their operations in a hometown, in which they can purchase items, magic spells, and advanced skills. Empire of Magic will have a total of 122 different magic spells and various advanced skills that your hero characters can learn as they gain experience levels.

Interestingly, Empire of Magic will limit your war parties to a size of only three, including a hero character. Much like in the Disciples games, all your units will be able to gain experience and become tougher in battle. According to Mayhem Studios, Empire of Magic will have a randomized AI that will actually offer players an unusual challenge--even under identical circumstances, AI opponents will take completely different actions, so even if players try the same single-player scenario multiple times, they may see completely different outcomes. The early version of the game we were able to see actually features a noninteractive demo in which two computer-controlled players challenge each other, and each player took different courses of action, such as exploring different areas and fighting different battles, each time we ran through the demonstration.

Empire of Magic is scheduled for release later this year.

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