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This game is so addictive it may be hazardous to your health, should you be a fan of turn based strategy.

I am completely serious. You will forego sleep and possibly proper hygiene just to do one more battle in campaign mode alone.

Etherlords 2 is a turn based strategy game that is primarily based on a card system (deck, hand, graveyard etc.) Think Baten Kaitos for Gamecube. There's many cards to build your deck from available in the game, allowing a variety of strategies. Thankfully, though, the cards' abilities are quite easy to decipher unlike some CCGs out there. There's little to no head scratching as to what a particular card does.

Configuring your deck isn't a mind numbing process, as you only get 16 cards in your deck. It doesn't sound like a lot, but the way the combat system goes, it's plenty. Instead of a discard pile you can't touch anymore, cards that aren't used in time merely get randomly cycled back into your hand in a few turns.

The single player campaign gives you plenty of hours of gameplay. You go through the same storyline in each campaign, but through different heroes' perspectives, which I thought was a unique aspect. There's enemies on the map you can choose to battle or leave alone as well as resources you can pick up on the way that are used for buying new cards. Admittedly, I'm a loot junkie, so I always had to stay up just a few more minutes in the off chance I ran into another shop to pick up better cards.

Graphically, it's solid for its time; reminds me of Dungeon Siege 2. Spell animations are rather good, and you won't need to squint to read any important information.

Sound effects and music were present, and adequate. I find no need to have speed techno pumping while I'm playing a strategy game. Nival Interactive kept this in mind, it seems, and gave the players just enough FX and music to accompany battles.

To throw it all in a skillet, Etherlords 2 is a worthy addition to any strategy gamer's collection. The sound and graphics are present and pleasant while not overpowering the (unfortunately) oft-overlooked aspect of actual gameplay. Now excuse me while I deprive myself of sleep once again.

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