Introduction to Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars
There aren’t many games that have a combination of popular real-time strategy games and role-playing games, but Spellforce 2 mimics parts of Diablo, Baldur’s Gate, and WarCraft. A 3D game that notched out a genre of its own between these two highly successful and productive genres, games like Spellforce 2 could be creating a genre that we’ll be seeing more of in the years to come.
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The Good Parts (4 out of 5)
The combination of Diablo style role-playing game play and real-time tactics and strategy on massive maps that are open environments allow you to determine your own path through the game.
The huge single player campaign has hours and hours of play time conducting battles, full-filling quests, and collecting treasure and items to make you more powerful.
Excellent multiple camera angles to choose from; a zoomed in look, a real-time strategy view, and even the behind the back, third person view is available, which provides a lot more entertainment choices.
Parts That Need Improvement (3 out of 5)
There are hundreds of different items and weapons to choose from for your characters and troops to use, but for some reason they all feel and do the same damage during the battles, which takes away the point of collecting all of these items.
Graphics (3 out of 5)
The overall visual presentation was above average, with pretty good detail and a few textures to enjoy in the country sides and character animations during the accelerated night and day cycle Phenomic designed into Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars.
The zoom camera angle was nice for getting an over all view of the whole map, as the maps are huge and it’s easy to get a little lost at times, so you can find your place a lot easier with this camera angle. I didn’t use the real-tim strategy camera angle much, because I preferred the third person view of the third camera choice to the first two as it was better for moving around and for combat functions, which are the two main gameplay features in Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars.
Sounds and Music (3 out of 5)
The sound effects were effective, with the sounds of battle, and the environmental effects on the maps well executed, clear and entertaining as you travel around the huge maps.
An intense sound track was effective during the battle scenes, adding to the energy level and creating extra excitement during battles, but slows down to a more relaxed pace when you’re traveling around the environments.
Story (3 out of 5)
In the single player campaign, you are a member of an outcast human/dragon hybrid race tasked with gathering together forces to protect the land from the Dwarves, who are mobilizing for war, and then lead these forces in battle to protect the lives and property of all the nations. Before you can do this, however, you must prove your worth and gain the trust of the people by fulfilling a number of dangerous and engaging quests that require you to dispatch a number of powerful and challenging opponents.
Playability (4 out of 5)
It took me about twenty five hours to play through the single player campaign and I didn’t do everything; I skipped a few of the less important parts that are more filler than anything. The open environments mean you can wander around and complete the quests in the order you prefer, or just explore everything, which obviously adds a lot more lpaying time to the game.
The multiplayer mode I haven’t finished yet, but you could spend weeks playing the multiplayer mode if you had a challenging and intelligent opponent.
There’s an option to play the single player campaign online, where you can choose to play any of the four available factions in a real-time strategy mode, as well as a cooperative mode for up to four players in online campaigns that look, feel and play very similar to the single player campaign.
The Bottom Line (3 out of 5)
Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars tries to combine the best parts of the RPG and RTS genres and ultimately fails to improve on either one, but may be starting a new genre all its own. Still, the RTS elements provide a nice change of pace to the action of RPG combat elements. Phenomic improved some of the path finding problems that cropped up in Spellforce and kept all the elements you loved, so Spellforce 2 is definitely an improvement, which may be the initial shots across the bow for both genres in a battle that could see the two genres combine to make a single genre in the years to come.