A very decent sequel to one of the most underappreciated RTS/RPG blend from Europe.

User Rating: 8.2 | SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars PC
Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars is a very decent sequel to the first one, The Order of Dawn, and its accompanying expansions. The gameplay and interface has been improved some, there are plenty of puzzles and quests to figure out, and plenty of fighting to go by.

The main quests for Spellforce 2 takes place after the time of the first Spellforce. The power of the Rune Warriors are gone - those left on the lands forced into more normal lives. However, there are still plenty of dangers, as the Dark Elves of the Norcaine, led by Sorvina, march into war. You take control of a Shaikhan, an agnostic human with the blood of the dragons flowing within who is put into the thick of things when the Dark Elves come knocking on Shaikhan lands.

This time, there are more customizations available, as you can have your Shaikhan use particular weapons or spells, or mix the two into a hybrid warrior. You also get to control up to 5 other major warriors whom you can either let the computer build as they level up with you, or direct their styles yourself. There are also 2 companions that come along, and both are critical to the missions; the Dark Elf, Nightsong, and one of the Orcs of the Clans. Unlike the previous Spellforce, your armies lvl up too, going up to lvl 18 by the time your Shaikhan reaches the maximum level of 30, and allied heroes go up to lvl 24.

The quests are many, and you'll find yourself using the journey stones very often to continue a quest or complete one for the rewards. You can even take control of a part of the Realm and build it to a sense of glory that brings citizens and certain people that, by doing corresponding sidequests, can give you weapons and armor.

The graphics are somewhat improved from the first one. The citizens have more expressions, even if their faces doesn't really show all of the realistic expressions. There are still the myriad of environment scenes, buildings, ruined areas, and so forth. The units also have some realistic movements, where it takes them about a second to go into a full run, and their attack speed varies too.

The audio isn't something worth really talking about, although some of the BGM is decent enough, while a few of them are carryovers from the first one. At least your Shaikhan doesn't speak as much outside a cutscene as your Rune Warrior from the first one does, so the mundane stuff is pretty much lowered. The worker units doesn't speak much either, so you won't really know when a building is finished, of if they or the base is under attack.

Like the first one, this one is very lengthy, with the replay value decent for the different builds you can employ on your Shaikhan. Some of the battles are epic, with enemy forces pouring in continuous waves to maraud your defenses or your attack force. Other times, it will just be your Shaikhan and your closest allies. You won't see any medusae petrifying them, but there will be some challenging boss battles before you find the final main quest boss. It can also be pretty hard to direct your army, especially if they see a nearby enemy or enemy towers.

So overall, it's right there with the first Spellforce, with a few improvements. The main quests are long and challenging, with sidequests to help add some diversion or help drive the main quest through. It's long with good replay value, so it is worth a buy if you're looking for a good long-term RTS/RPG blend.

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