A fantastic blend of RTS, MMO and TCG. Battle forge will take you in, then refuse to let you out. (Full review)

User Rating: 10 | BattleForge PC
Ok, before i start i have to say the following. I give this game a 10 NOT because it is perfect, because in my eyes 10 is not perfect, it is either ground breaking or redefines a genre. And thats what Battle Forge does. Very well infact. So without further ado. Lets get started shall we?

I can play Battle Forge with everything turned on and get a solid frame rate that never noticeably drops. And battle forge is very hit and miss on the visuals. The environments look stunning, with lush green valleys and snowy mountain peaks, this game takes you everywhere. The environments are full of detail, and you can even see the clouds shadow pass over the landscape in real time. It is clear that most of EA's graphical bling went here. However, the units themselves are a bit lack luster in some cases. You basic troops look very blocky, lack detail and slightly blob like, add to this the lack of varied animation and you have some mediocre looking models and a stunning land scape and there is most defiantly a clash. Luckily, the later creations live up to the landscape and are suitably large, detailed and menacing in most cases with slow but purposeful movements and sluggish but powerful attacks. Spells for the most part are very good, with particles flying everywhere and bodies getting thrown left right and center but some of the 'buff' effects are very basic and lack imagination and don't really hit you like the more damaging spells.

To the games credit however, all summoning and building looks amazing. It has a VERY Lord of the Ring Battle for Middle Earth 2 look to the building creation, and the engine seems to be a alteration from that. The art style however couldnt be closer to Blizzards Warcraft series. But that is hardly a bad thing considering how great the art style that blizzard created is.

Overall, its a mixed bag of mediocre and stunning so i give the graphics a 8.5/10

A game on such an epic scale needs music suitably epic. And battle Forge delivers with fantastic music throughout all of its missions. Whether it be the calm before the storm or the war drums of an incoming enemy attack upon your weakened walls, this game has it all. Add to tis some decent voice work on the loading screens and during the missions and you have a winner.

Sound effects are loud, and booming from walls being destroyed by a rampaging colossus to the explosive crack of a Necrofuries artilary bombardment. A minor gripe about the sound is the unit voice overs. Some are great, like the Nox Trooper quoting the Borg from Star Trek but others just repeat the same tired, lifeless lines over and over again. Luckily with over 200 units to pick from, it takes a long time to even notice this, if you notice it at all.

Sound as a whole is top notch and i rate it 9/10

What story? OH you mean the story that is never really explained and is told to after you complete missions in a book which is well over 100 pages long once finished that you have to read manually? Yeah. Battle Forge is very story lite when you first delve into its murky depths, but if you take time to read the chapters on the story or the legends about your skeleton Warriors or Windweavers you are rewarded with a very good backstory and good premise for a game. Shame it wasnt voice acted so the lazy gamers (or those who just want to play) will never know why they are fighting and who they are fighting for.

But basically you are a long dead hero who fought beside Gods against Giants many years ago and where given the honor of becoming a Sky Lord: An immortal being who resides in the Forge (a giant floating fortress in the sky) with the power to make peoples dreams into reality. The Gods vanish, the sun dies, humans retreat into underground caves for a year and when they return Twilight has corrupted the world and the mortals of Lyr have called upon the sky lord to help them. You, Moon and Viridya are 3 of those who answered the call and are using the forge to conjure armies of legendary warriors and creatures. And thats where the game begins.

The story is good, if hidden from the normal gamer. 7/10

This is the make or break part of any game. Luckily it doesn't break the game. Once you make an account you can log in to Battle Forge and become a Sky Lord. You will be taken to the forge (unless you opt to do the tutorial first). The forge is your playground. A place where you can create your armies and pit your best units against each other to see who has what it takes to be in your deck. A lobby so to speak. From here you can join PVP or PVE games, visit the auction hall, create decks, buy boosters or tomes, edit decks, upgrade cards, view the journal and talk to players from around the world who are currently online.

But thats the 'boring' stuff. You want to know how battle forge is played. You create a deck and pick a mission you want to play. Once you enter the mission you will be given set objectives to complete whether it is to kill a certain boss, or defend an area (or 3). Most missions have many objectives to complete and some have optional objectives. But to complete objectives you need an army. This is where the TCG comes in. You have a maximum of 20 cards in your deck, and when you first start you can create the grunts of your army. The lowly Tier 1 cards. These range from Archers of various degrees (big, bulky single creature archers, or squads of smaller archers) to Warriors (again, big single creature and smaller squads) to cavalry and low level mages, spells and structures. As you prgress through the game you will need to capture more power wells (which increase your mana flow) and monuments. Monuments unlock the next tier of card for that element. Tier 2 cards are noticably more powerful but rarely do you see anything of gargantuan proportions just yet. In all there are 4 tiers, with Tier 4 containing your most powerful creatures, spells and structures. Tier 4 is reserved for the end of the mission and you rarely get there early on. However T2 is achieved within minutes most of the time. You may be thinking, well you can just summon units to replace dead units, so you cant lose. This in a sense is true. You can summon new units where ever you have a GROUND unit near. But there is summon penalties that make them have 20 seconds of half hp and no special abilities. Add this to the fact that each card has limited charges before a recast timer is initiated, then you have to manage your army well to stay alive because if your army is crushed, then you will be pushed back to a power well or monument. Once all your wells and monuments are destroyed then its game over.

The thing that makes this game so good is the cards and the decks. There is no 1 deck that is better than all other decks. There are over 200 cards to choose from over 4 elements. Every deck has a weakness, and you just have to find a way to limit those weaknesses as best you can with complementing cards and upgrades acquired though missions and PVP.

The biggest prejudice against this game is the cost. And it is totally unreasonable. You start the game with half a deck (about 10 cards) of each element letting you experiment and see which element you favor. You also get given a free 3000 points (about £24 worth of points) to buy new cards. You can choose to buy boosters (8 random cards with 1 rare - Ultra rare, 2 Uncommon and 5 common) for 250 points, a Tome Deck which contains 6 boosters for 1250 points or buy your cards from the AH. 3000 points can buy you every card from 1 element if you spend wisely. And of course, if you go for the booster/tome route you can sell any rare cards you dont want, and you can the buy more boosters and cards. I havent spent a penny and i have all shadow cards and most nature cards. Although, i have had the temptation. Like all TCG, it has the just one more pack or just one more card appeal that can drive you crazy. I spend a lot of my time buying and selling cards to get a good deck, and it is fun! Surprisingly addictive.

PVP is standard RTS. You either turtle, or you rush. Most games dont go past Tier 3 (if they even get to Tier 3) so making a whole new PVP deck is advised (especially since some cards are only useful in PVP). It is either 1 v 1 or 2 v 2 on a variety of maps and you are rewarded with PVP ranks, gold, battle tokens, victory tokens and honor tokens which can buy you upgrades for cards making them stronger or adding new abilities. PVP is good, but it doesn't really do anything new and it has fallen into the same trap all RTS games do. Which is a shame for such a unique game. Some people will love this, some will hate it.

Battle Forge despite its numerous faults is the best in its genre and redefines the genre from being turn based to real time giving it my 10. A must for all TCG or RTS lovers. Trust me, you never have to spend over the price you payed if you have even a scrap of common sense.

10 OUT OF 10!