Strange mix of realtime strategy and RPG. Nice ideas but could use lots more polish. Maps feel linear and contrived

User Rating: 7 | SpellForce: The Order of Dawn PC

Spellforce 1 went thru several patches and add-ons and the reviews are always saying some variation of "good but could use some improvements to the gameplay." Well I tried out the new 20 buck platinum edition and those reviews are basically right.

Essentially, Spellforce is a resource gathering game with player-controlled heroes that you can improve with weapons and battle experience. There are quests to earn experience too.

The strange thing is that the game feels more like a massive multiplayer RPG like World of Warcraft than anything else. The single player campaigns are totally off-line but the interface might as well be from an MMORPG. The RTS elements are very straightforward and I almost wish they weren't a part of the game at all. The resources on the map should play an important strategic role but they dont in practice. The maps in single-player are small and contain lots of narrow paths that force you to walk down that path and fight your way thru gauntlet style. You cant jump down from one path onto another. You are always stuck on these paths.

Does the gameplay work? Kinda. The interface is somewhat awkward and none of the characters or enemies animate in battle very well. The graphics are good if your system can handle it, but for some reason this game is also a massive system hog. Most systems will need to run the game without the hi-res textures. The lighting engine could also use some work. The gameworld transitions from day to night but it never really looks convincing.

Hopefully Spellforce 2 will improve upon the game. There's almost a great game here.