A Fun, Casual 4x Experience
Gameplay 7: The mechanics of the game work well enough, it's fun to create your custom Wizard or Faction and there's a certain pioneer feeling to the early stage of the game where the gameplay is strongest. It's impossible not to compare this game to Civilization 5, it's very streamlined and the Races and Factions have attributes similar to those in Civilization 5, but the end game doesn't balance out with coherent nations and borders and the diplomacy is severely limited. There also seems to be no difference in terms of gameplay between Kingdoms and Empires.
Graphics 7: The graphics are charming and stylized, but clipping issues seem to constantly crop up especially when creating a Wizard. Unfortunately Kingdoms and Empires all look the same. It also carries a Good and Evil element to it, people can debate about that, but visually all the empires are depicted as evil and dark and spreading corruption, and all the kingdoms are represented as light and spreading lushness and life. This makes the Empires the defacto Bad Guys and the Kingdoms the defacto Good Guys, there are no exceptions to this and no factions in between which misses a lot of potential for interesting civilizations.
Accessibility 8: I think the review deserves mention of just how easy it for new comers to learn how to play this game. I've played a lot of 4x games in my time, and some of them were practically indecipherable for a new player, but Fallen Enchantress is comparatively easy to pick up and play. The tool tips are helpful, the user interface is fairly well designed, getting your first settlement started is effortless and the true challenge in the early game comes from exploring questing and defending keeping your heroes alive. Gameplay is something you can learn by playing, without needing a thick instruction manual or hours of play to learn.
Sound 8: The sound effects are serviceable, what voice acting there is is well delivered, and there's an enjoyable selection of music that plays throughout the game.
Replay Value 6: The late game is where this game is weakest, so players who constantly start new games to create new Wizards may get more out of it. The expansion phase is truly enjoyable and has a pioneer feel to it. Players who enjoy building nations and interacting with neighboring nations, trade, and forming alliances, will likely find the end game rather lacking.
Recommendation: If you're a 4X veteran there's a good chance you will be disappointed and frustrated by this game. It has a great deal of unrealized potential and will likely fall short of other games you've played in the past. However if you are new to 4X games, this is a great game to start with, and I highly recommend it. It's easy to learn, easy to play, enjoyable and accessible.
You don't have to be a hardcore 4X veteran to play and enjoy Fallen Enchantress and with many 4X games you do, so this can get you started on others you might enjoy.