A fantastic game, but if you a hardcore RPG or RTS fan, you may want to look elsewhere...
SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars (SP2:SW) is one of the very few games in the RPS genre, or Role-playing Strategy. It blends the levelling, exp, questing, talent trees, armor and weapons of the RPG genre and mixes them in with the base building, army gathering and strategy concepts to create a very unique game.
The graphics are great. All the character models have been done exceptionally well and even your simple soldier unit has been created well and is easily distinguishable from other units. Enemy units look good too and each has its own unique style. The scenery is awesome, the trees, plants and resources all look amazing and the buildings and towns that you will venture through all look very nice. Nothing breathtaking, but better than you may expect.
As mentioned earlier, the gameplay in Spellforce is unique as it mixes RPG and RTS. As you begin to play you will quickly see the RPG aspects of the game. You get to create your own Hero character and as the game progresses put points into their talent trees and aim them to using combat or magic skills. Your Avatar can also level up and gains experience from killing enemies and completing quests.
Apart from your avatar you will have numerous hero characters and will always be slightly weaker than your avatar, but are much stronger than normal units. You can move with the point and click RTS style or move with WASD in an RPG style, however the point and click generally works better.
But, it could not be an RTS without the true RTS features. Fairly earlier in the main campaign you will begin to build your first base. You have three resources to work with: Lenya (for some units and reviving Heroes), Silver (for creating units) and stone (for creating buildings). There are many different buildings and units to create from Soldiers and Farms to Castles and Titans. There are plenty or armies you will have to come up against and use your strategy and superior numbers to defeat, but the use of RPG type skills will also influence the outcome.
For those of you who want something to compare the game to, its kind of like a cross between Warcraft III and Guild Wars, but only vaguely.
The background music in Shadow Wars is fairly plain and you'll be quickly running your own music instead as its fairly bland and repetitive. However this is easily made up for with the sound effects department. The effects have all been done wonderfully and they really draw you into the game. The voice acting of your own Avatars and Heroes is generally pretty good, but the voices of NPCs is generally a horror to listen to.
Replay Value 10/10:
The main campaign itself will take many, many hours to complete (you'd be looking at something like 30+ on a normal difficulty level) and even once you have done that you could do it again, either on a different difficulty level or influence your characters talent tree in a different direction to keep things interesting. There are also two other single player modes, but they are nowhere near as good as the campaign. On top of that you then have an online multiplayer mode to have fun with!
Spellforce 2 is an awesome game and is definitely worth a look at. Ignore playing the demo as it pales in comparison to the real thing and is not a good show off of the game. If you are a hardcore RPG or RTS fan though, you may not quite find what you are looking for here. But if you like both the genres and are interested in a blend of the two, then this game is definitely for you!