Eador: Masters of the Broken World Review

Game-crushing bugs overshadow the turn-based tactical goodness Eador: Masters of the Broken World offers.

by

Eador: Masters of the Broken World is too difficult to enjoy. Even on the easiest setting, it does everything it can to keep you from making progress. Whereas some games lay honest challenges and let you learn your way through them, Masters of the Broken World offers false information that's difficult to plan around. It gives you the option to tinker with systems you can't understand until the game offers a half-baked explanation. To make it worse, it's so unstable that bugs and hard crashes frequently cut your adventures short, as if the game weren't already oppressive enough.

Combat can go very wrong in a hurry.

The first thing you notice about Masters of the Broken World is the overwhelming number of buttons, as colorful and varied as a candy shop. This is a hardcore turn-based role-playing game with base management, provinces to capture, stats to improve, and a slew of things to always be concerned with. It's overwhelming in an intense, classic PC game sort of way, and at its best it's a gripping brain twister with high stakes and high rewards. The various worlds you must conquer are called "shards," and each offers unique benefits that help you as you attack the next one. You are a god who manipulates mortal heroes to do your bidding and claim lands, which is a neat way for a game to justify its genre through fiction.

Combat takes place on a grid of hexagonal spaces. Various infantry units join your hero, who belongs to a powerful fantasy-standard class like a warrior or a mage. Before combat, you see how many and what type of foes to expect, and the game offers a battle prediction. This pre-combat assessment couldn't feel less accurate, which is a huge problem because it's often the deciding factor for whether you initiate a fight, negotiate, or retreat. Not only can the enemy outnumber your party, but nearly all of its soldiers might outlevel yours by five times. Yet the game might predict that "the enemy will be destroyed," displayed in reassuring green type. This is bad information. Lost troops are gone forever once a battle is over, so the cost of a party wipe is staggering. New fighters must be purchased and trained again, which takes time and feels like a grind.

When forces are evenly matched, combat is a wonderful game of resource and land management. Moving a character forward to a hill offers range benefits, but it might be more useful to send weak units into a forest patch for defensive bonuses. Magic isn't based on mana, but on a limited number of uses. This means you can't just nuke everything in sight to win. You need to move units out of hit zones. You need to be concerned with draining enemy stamina. It feels like a deep board game, but with particle effects.

Every shard world offers advantages to your heroes.

Sadly, the game frequently stops working. A few hiccups could be tolerated in a game with so many systems running simultaneously, but Masters of the Broken World is, well, utterly broken. Everything from combat to movement to construction happens as part of a chain of actions. When you finish queuing tasks, you hit the execute button, and the game jumps into motion… sometimes. More times than you would want, the execute button, as well as the entire bottom row, simply fails to work. When this happens in combat, the only options are to quit the game and lose progress or activate auto-battle mode, which rarely ends in your favor. Sometimes the weapon switch command doesn't work. Sometimes your hero gets stuck in one province on the overworld map. And all too often, Masters of the Broken World just crashes completely.

There is satisfaction to be found in the game's vast and deep strategy elements. Building up your city's defenses and resource production rate helps you conquer other provinces and strongholds more quickly. Stationing guards can be an exciting gamble because the units can grow corrupt, stealing income or terrorizing townspeople. The problem is that you're given access to features that you can't understand because the game hasn't yet taken the time to teach you. Granaries can be built in provinces, for example, and they give each sector a population boost. However, overpopulation can lead to unrest, which can lead to a rebellion. The game's suggested counter is to build a guard outpost, which doesn't work at all. Provinces inevitably fall, and you're forced to battle and recapture areas you used to own. This isn't fun, and doing work you've already done just to rectify something you don't know how to fix is aggravating in all the wrong ways.

A system of karma and random events breaks up the typical bribe/fight/conquer gameplay. Sometimes a horde of enemies might attack one of your provinces, and you have to decide whether it's worth your time and resources to help defend it. If you leave your people to die, you naturally lose karma. You might be the kind of person to never accept bribes, but if someone is offering a lot of gold and you have your eye on an expensive new structure for your base, maybe you'll accept. Unfortunately, karma doesn't seem to have a substantial effect on anything you do. You'll appreciate the distraction from the core game mechanics, but a distraction is really all it is.

The stronghold. You'll spend a lot of time here repurchasing lost units.

Masters of the Broken World has a Hot Seat mode, which has two players taking turns in the chair in front of the computer as they battle each other. It's a great idea, and it's fun when it works, but it's not immune to the bug problems found in the single-player campaign. There’s also an online mode, but finding a reliable match is a miracle. You might wait half an hour to play a single skirmish, only to have the connection fail before a game starts. When you could cook dinner in the time it takes to find an opponent, something is very wrong.

Any enjoyment derived from Eador: Masters of the Broken World is buried beneath a landslide of inexcusable technical issues. Building up a home base and expanding into the world should be rewarding, but frequent and unfair bugs make any progress feel less like victory and more like a stroke of good luck. Some serious patches could uncover the game buried beneath the flaws, but as of right now, playing Masters of the Broken World not worth the headache. In this high-fantasy world of trolls, archers, and the undead, it's a shame that your most dreadful enemy is the game itself.

The Good
Combat keeps you on your toes
Heavy management focus scratches that tactical itch
The Bad
Crashes and stalls frequently
Menus are crowded and difficult to use
Offers tactical misinformation
Multiplayer has severe connection issues
4
Poor
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44 comments
RoadStar1602
RoadStar1602

The title seems to fit, as Snowbird appears to be master of a broken game.

Ripskrieg
Ripskrieg

Brian, you got your review completely wrong. Was very surprised to see your fault focused review. Thoroughly enjoying this heroes of might and magic type game. 7 out of 10 at the very least. Cheers.

Benny082
Benny082

I found this game thoroughly entertaining. After 100+ hours playing am still finding new things have yet to even recruit 4th tier units and only just got my 1st 3rd tier. Very few bugs, only major gripe was with long AI turns however since last patch this has been fixed. Anyone who enjoys fantasy TBS will definatly appreciate this game. 

NiGhtPiSH
NiGhtPiSH

The developers are quite commited and release patches qiute fast. I had some issues with the game itself, it stuttered, but with Patch 1.0.8. it is far more responsive and runs better on my laptop, which has quite a big mileage.

The game has been quite challenging so far and I admire the commited development team. 

Auth
Auth

Obviously  by the score, game discovery is looked upon negatively with the younger crowd.

No wonder devs are making games so damn easy and obtuse these days.

I didn't experience any of the game breaking bug the reviewer mentioned.

One of the better strategy games of 2013 period.


Zandersmith
Zandersmith

What a terrible review.... while there were bugs, never had any of the bugs he mentions, that and there have been half dozen plus patches in the last 2 weeks.  Think you sort of jumped the gun with a 4.0

1wikkid1
1wikkid1

I apologize in advance for this long comment, but now I've actually played this Eador remake for a few hours. First, there's been a number of patches, 7 so far, and there will likely be more. The devs said pretty much straight out that they are still adding things to the game via patches, so essentially they're admitting that the release is pretty raw. I really can't write much about this game (which is why I'm not writing a review) because it's the exact same game as Genesis. Yea they tweaked some behind the scenes numbers to speed the campaign up a bit, and obviously it now has a 3D engine. But the numbers I didn't notice, the units are the same, move the same distance and everything. The "story" is straight, word for word, out of Genesis, along with the music and the illustrations. Now I understand giving 4.0 to this game, actually I'd say this game should receive a -- because it's the exact same thing that was released in 2009. I kind of like the new rotary menus on the main map, but the graphical changes (let's be real, this IS the major change for this release) are so insignificant - TBS was never a genre that was heavy into graphics, it's all about the game - that you likely won't even look at the gfx twice, this is not a game that will capture your attention with it's brooding storm clouds and lightning bolts (although both are present.) 

Actually, to an extent, upgrading to this 3D engine has hurt Eador a lot more then it has benefited. The game runs much slower, whereas in Genesis I'd go from the map to the battlescreen instantly in this remake it takes a couple of seconds, during which I'm staring at a black screen - and this is a pretty good machine. But the bigger issue is that it just doesn't look good! Re-using the old elements defeats the purpose of having this graphically advanced engine, regardless of it being horribly optimized, as well as looking WORSE then Genesis looks. (sh!t is clipping everywhere, things are popping in an out, etc)

Basically if you're a fan of Genesis, I can't really recommend MBW, at least not until they fix it to be as stable as Genesis and actually add something that we have NOT seen yet. If you're a first time player of Eador, pick up either game, they're mostly the same thing anyway - if you're willing to go through patching up and possibly some bugs (ocassionaly fatal and/or gamebreaking ones) then you should def get MBW, if you want to get a game that is ready (and stable) to play right now then go with Genesis. The only reason for anybody to get MBW right now is in hopes of them eventually adding something NEW, and fixing the gazillion bugs that still exist. (http://alturl.com/dmwfm is the current list of known bugs, unfortunately for many of you it's in Russian, but just look at the number of bugs, and this is current - meaning that there has already been 7 patches and that list is what still remains to be fixed... I have never, for any game, seen a list of bugs that long.)

1wikkid1
1wikkid1

After reading some of the comments: YES! Eador is consciously tuned at the more "hardcore" type strategy fans. This is absolutely NOT the game you can dive into at the hardest difficulty, it's so easy to lose that it really becomes important to have a full understanding of the basics. The AI is totally unforgiving, and very aggressive, and the game seems to be much in favor of aggressive, quick, play-style then the more "noob" friendly TBS games. This is one of those games that if given the time and effort would become a favorite for a HUGE portion of TBS fans, but if you dive into it like another Civilization clone you're gonna get you a$$ handed to you on a platter (likely carved out of your skull.)

1wikkid1
1wikkid1

This is EXACTLY what I was worried about when I heard about them re-making Eador. The original is honestly (IMO obv) one of the best TBS experiences I've had in a long long time. The depth of management that you *could* go into is staggering, note that it's not a requirement, you could mostly ignore the "fine print" and have a successful campaign, at least at lower difficulties, but you also have the option of examining all the numbers, the progression of various units as they level up and gain medals versus the higher tier units but at lower lvls, etc etc, it really offers such depth that I've not seen in a game before. BUT, that's the original Eador. This new version, from what I understand (mostly from the creators words and a little bit from this review) is essentially the same old Eador but set in a graphically superior 3D world, whereas the original had "decent" 2D gfx which were perfectly suitable for a game that's made for the more "hard-core" strategy fans.

Many MANY people on the forums have expressed concern with this new release because it is so not needed. The original Eador does everything perfectly, aside from really minor issues that are based in my preferences (I'm not a fan of super-aggressive AI, I like to build up and play at my pace) and gfx were never a major draw for the strategy types anyway. I'll probably check this game out once they polish it off some more, but I'm not expecting anything staggering since it's basically the exact same game with different gfx. Actually the screenshots in this review (especially the one that's showing the shards) look exactly like the original.

Stressthesky
Stressthesky

A very harsh score for a game that has been fairly well received by most. The most critical bugs were ironed out pretty quick. Did you play this on different computers to ensure the technical issues weren't on your end?

the_hunger
the_hunger

It's too bad that they rushed this one out of the door with so many problems.  The concept of the game seems interesting, and I was certainly looking at it before the botched release.  Anyhow, I hope that Age of Wonders III scratches my turn-based strategy itch.

avernuz
avernuz

well.. this game is a good game, I heard this game was the first big project from snowbird studio. Many technical problem and game-breaking bug upon the game release is very annoying tho, but the developer already try they best to fix it. Since I'm a fan of turn base strategy game, this game worth my time.

Devastation3000
Devastation3000

This is a great game. Gamespot should be ashamed of this review, it's biased, pretestous and, worse of all, misleading and false...

therealFrek
therealFrek

I almost bought this one. Glad I waited. It's in my steam wishlist but I'll wait until I've seen some significant patching before I buy it. Thanks for the heads up GS.

Bakaro
Bakaro

What's with the extreme polar different review scores on the metacritic score? It's either very high or very low, little in-between.

Something smells fishy, gonna hold on my wallet period.

hideinlight
hideinlight

Any game that require marginal amount of thinking will always get low scores from Gamespot.

Gamespot basically says mainstream or not mainstream.

Well at least now I know this game doesn't hold hands, and thx to some of the comments from people that actually invested time in it I know the devs frequently update this game. So it's not a release and disappear scenario.

If you want proper reviews of games like these you need to go to specialists sites.


MR_TUBBy
MR_TUBBy

I look forward to more patches for this game.  I think the 4/10 is understandable given the chaotic circumstances of the game so close to it's release.  I've enjoyed it despite the obvious shortcomings it suffers (namely a disgusting slowdown of the overview map as you reveal more players and territory)

camelotcrusade
camelotcrusade

I really wonder if I have played 100+ hours on the same game as the reviewer.  I've had a lot of fun with Eador and while I've found some bugs only one of them stopped me from playing.  The developers have been putting out a patch per week and so far the community has been supportive and friendly helping new players figure out the game. 

Ironically, the biggest complaint I have with the game isn't even in the review:  The campaign tutorial teaches you a weak play style and it's not one you can use to win.  If you play the third scenario the way you played the first two (taking your time, exploring, learning slowly) you will have your head handed to you on a platter.  This rude awakening motivates some players to start over and learn new tricks, but for others it feels like a betrayal and a "screw this, I'm done with this crap" moment.   

If campaign boot camp isn't your idea of fun, you can always create a custom game with you and the AI miles apart and just ignore it, doing what you want and learning all you can.   Give this game a chance if you have the spare cash and want something different.  

ShienYeh
ShienYeh

I'm the guy who pre-ordered this game. I have to say it's a really buggy game indeed. And it can't be played on windowed mode until 1.05 patch . But 4.0 is a bit harsh , I give it 6/10 at least the devs are trying to solve all problems, 6 patches within one month

Vambran
Vambran

The games called Masters of the Broken world... and it's full of bugs... go figure.

TriggerManX97
TriggerManX97

I guess you could say this game really is a master of the "broken" world. "badum tsss"

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

Too bad. Would have given it a shot if it didn't sound like such a headache. 

Gooseman321
Gooseman321

I didn't notice too many bugs although I couldn't even finish the tutorial.

The fact that movement takes place only after the end turn button is pressed and can't be sped up is really poor design. I haven't seen that brought up so far anywhere. That's a deal breaker for me.

Building tree is too complicated and confusing. Too easy to issue incorrect orders to troops in combat.

I wanted to like this game but it sucks. Too bad. The previous commenter is right though, Heroes VI should have gotten as bad a score.


cuk2uk
cuk2uk

Im impressed with this guy he actually manged to finish the game couldnt even finish tutorial couse of all the bugs -_-

rastotm
rastotm

At the moment you are way better off playing Eador Genesis. The graphics may be horrible but it does not suffer from game-breaking bugs. Furthermore eador genesis has a excellent mod out already, that nearly doubles the amount of units, spells and items. In addition it grants every in-game unit a 'evolution' after a certain level has been reached. Last time I checked this mod was only out in Russion though. Luckily one can just open the relevant game files and use google translate to translate the text. Apart from typo's, my entire game is translated fine.

berserker66666
berserker66666

Well at least they did something accurately...."Masters of Broken World:.

Freedomination
Freedomination

I've played this alot lately and i've had alot of fun with it. But then i'm a big fan of these types of games.

The bugs are definately there but i'd hardly say the game is unplayable because of it. I've played hours without seeing one, and if they happen you just have to restart, reload the autosave and sometimes wait a turn with the battle that caused it.

The game has alot of unfulfilled potential. The hero classes are varied and interesting, the loot likewise. I love the different guard contracts you can obtain, even though the way the map is made you'll prolly never find an actual use for the strongest most expensive ones.

After a while though i came to realize the game was all about grinding xp and gear for your heroes. Even though the other troops level up they usually prove to be most effective as a living shield around your hero, and even if they all die they can often be re-hired with just the gold from the same battle.

The AI of enemy players seem very weak so the actual wars are usually a formality when your hero has grown strong enough. Specially when you play on maps where you start out at peace with them.

For the price its not that bad a game, it has alot of weaknesses but it also has alot of good stuff. Fun for a while but a bit shallow and in the end. Lots of unfulfilled potential. And the search for a new HoMM3 goes on :D

Quantomas
Quantomas

I haven't defended a game against a review before, but in this case I feel urged to intervene. The verdict seems overly harsh.

The developers have indeed released a fair number of patches, which fix the most serious bugs. With this Eador runs mostly stable.

The UI will definitely not win any rewards for its ergonomics or accessibility, but it's functional, and one gets used to it after a while.

In the end playing the game is a good deal of fun.

That said, yes, it was most likely released a bit early and the reviewer is right to deduct score points for technical glitches and the UI, but giving it a 4 while GS has handed out high scores for broken releases like Ubisoft's Heroes VI, is a bit too stark in my book.


Stebsis
Stebsis

Reviewer doesn't seem to know that this is actually a remake of Eador Genesis. It doesn't say it anywhere, not on steam or gog. Just go and play Genesis, it's awesome and basically the same as this, except not as good looking but works, and it's only 6 bucks on GOG anyway.

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

It seems the game is aptly named - Masters of the 'Broken' World.

I watched some gameplay footage on Youtube and it looked alright, but if it's a buggy mess, I'll wait.  I hope they release a patch to fix most of the issues, because it still seems like an interesting game.

Zandersmith
Zandersmith

@Auth Have been playing these type of games since the mid 90's, and this is probably one of the best.  I am very sorry that the author suffered from the complicated button arrangement on the menu.  It is that way for one reason.  Removing a hand full of these buttons would take away from the well crafted complexity.  Sad if the younger crowd can't spend 50 hour mastering a game that will last years...  130+ hours into the game and new things keep popping up that I have NEVER seen before.  How many games can you say that about. While he didn't have to give the game a 10, a 4 is silly.  Maybe he should get a better PC to write his reviews with?  I doubt he got much past the tutorial before he sat down and decided to write this.....

sarge61
sarge61

@Zandersmith Agreed, i played this almost up to 100 hours, sure there are bugs but i only had few crashes/freezes, needless to say frequently coming patches. And menus are hard to use? Only a child would think that, imo. They did a good job for such an indie developer.

1wikkid1
1wikkid1

@the_hunger give the original Eador a try. From what I can tell so far (I haven't played this new version) it's exactly the same game, just a different graphics engine. I've not had ANY problems playing the original Eador, especially with the latest patch that even goes as far as removing DRM.

FaeLKuN
FaeLKuN

@MateykoSlam I thought it was impossible to be worse than RE6 this generation, really D:

Zandersmith
Zandersmith

@Quantomas yea, remember how crappy the AI was in Civ V when it came out, another fine example, I think GS gave it a 9.  And they did not have 7 patches in two weeks like these guys, it took a several huge patches, spread out over months to make the game what it is....  Maybe this game is just not his thing?  Either you like this type of game or not.  I'm having great fun with it, yes it took forever to learn, I probably sunk 30+ hours getting a good grasp on the strategy so I didn't get rolled on by the AI.  I remember thinking good God the beginner is impossible, after playing around with it, beginner becomes very easy after a while.  It hands you NOTHING on the ol silver platter though.  Which is good.  Making the game challenging makes you learn better strategy.  

I have one annoying bug left, a siege bug where siege does not trigger for me properly.  It has a very easy work around, move out, and cancel the move.  Yea that is game breaking .... NOT.  It might make you cry in frustration for a little while, but get past that point, and you realize it's shear genius! Everything is balanced perfectly.  Ever gold income counts, every hp.  And there is a counter to everything, you just need to find it.  

Each world is sort of like a puzzle.  Depending on what type of world it is, makes me change what type of hero I start with.  What type of terrain, how much gold income, how many crystals for starting areas etc... every shard plays different because of this.  If you enjoy the genre of HOMM, Kings Bounty, or even older stuff like Master of Magic, or Age of Wonders then this is Gold.  If not then move along, it's just not going to be your type of game.  

Lastly the game was only $20.  What a steal.  Think how much it cost you to buy any of those other games listed above.  Yes if you want the completely bug free version buy Eador Genesis.  But as long as your system meets the recommended specs then go for Masters of the Broken World.  I think most of the problems people are having is under powered systems.  This game will chug along very slowly on an inferior system.  Don't blame it on the game, they listed the specs clearly.

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

@Stebsis Thanks for the information and advice.  I'll probably pick up Eador Genesis instead. :)

Auth
Auth

@Zandersmith @Auth 

sad thing, most reviewers now were born in the the 90s or at least the late 80s.

different time. different time.

dutchgamer83
dutchgamer83

@Auth It's more that reviewers of these days are the mainstream gamer and not a core gamer even though they concider themselves to be just that.


The problem is that with xbox and ps2, but more so with the current gen of consoles that many people started to game who didn't had a interest in gaming before.  Now not all console gamers are like that but most prefer their games short and simple so they will feel good about themselves (this is stated by publishers to defend their insane decrease on game hours in games). Where games used to last much longer and needed time to master, now you can pick up a controller and just blast away. The pc has been pushed aside by many gamers and that also counts for reviewers. Games like these take to long to learn, you aren't the best damn gaming master in 5 minutes...and godforbid a game takes longer then 5 hours these days. Those are minor points, also it doesn't cary the name Call of Duty or Halo so don't exspect a PC only game that is just as games used to be (needing time to master and lasting for quiet some time) to get a epic score.


And bugs, well i remember that Skyrim had many bugs too, and so did Fallout New Vegas, some game breaking bugs even (though i didn't had them but i heard on the consoles these games where bugged ridden). Both games scored a nice score so it really is measuring with two standards, in one game bugs that make it unplayable are seen as a "will be patched" and when a smaller company delivers a game its "BUUUURN YOU HAVE BUGS BUUUURN".

Eador: Masters of the Broken World More Info

First Release on Apr 19, 2013
  • PC
  • Macintosh
  • Unix/Linux
Eador: Masters of the Broken World is a turn-based strategy in a fantasy setting.
6.9
Average User RatingOut of 61 User Ratings
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Developed by:
Snowbird Game Studios, Snowbird Games
Published by:
Snowbird Game Studios, Mastertronic, Snowbird Games
Genres:
Strategy, Turn-Based