Thursday, March 26, 2009

Elven Legacy

So I get this email from Paradox saying "Elven Legacy review code is in your Gamers Gate account!"

Oh, joy.

So I do some reading and this is a game that is a sequel to "Fantasy Wars" -- a game I knew by name but never played. And it's by 1C. I know 1C from my many E3 trips -- the Russian dudes who always supply me with Vodka. (Seriously.) But 1C's game are totally hit/miss. You might get Necrovision or You Are Empty -- or you might get King's Bounty, Men of War, or Space Rangers 2.

You just never know with these guys. I know you can say the same about many publishers but 1C is different. Just trust me on this.

Plus -- the titles. Jesus. "Men of War, "Fantasy Wars", "Theater of War", "Dawn of Magic", "Totally Friggin Generic Game X"

Who is coming up with these names?

But then 1C does something surprising -- they publish a game that is really, REALLY worth your time. They come out of nowhere with these EPIC games. Like King's Bounty. Like Men of War. Like Space Rangers and (potentially) like Elven Legacy.

I'm only on the 3rd campaign mission so I have no idea how the game will hold up, but I do know this much:

This game plays like a 3D/rotating camera version of Fantasy General. If you don't know Fantasy General...wait...really? You don't know Fantasy General? You make me sad. Unless you weren't gaming when DOS was king and EMM386 ruled with an iron fist.

Elven Legacy plays out on a grid, is turn based, has a branching campaign (so far, at least -- I was able to choose my campaign path after the first mission), grants perks (side missions) if you complete a mission within a certain number of turns, and allows you to carry your units from mission to mission, upgrade them, and if they die you lose highly experienced troops that need to be replaced with green reserves. It's the Panzer General design in full effect.

In short, this is my kind of game.

But it's also a 1C game and with that comes reservations-- it autosaves but it crashes a lot. It has an utterly strange story that assumes you know all of these characters and their history, and is laughably translated with voice acting right out of The School on How Not to Voice Act. But once you get past that -- the gameplay itself is brilliant. It's old school. And the hooks are in -- pretty deep.

I just hope it holds up.