Preview: Elven Legacy (PC)

34802_elven_legacy-10Elven Legacy
Developer: 1C Company
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Genre: Turn Based Strategy
Release Date: Q1 2009

Despite their mediocre ratings when I’ve reviewed their games, I like Paradox Interactive as a publisher. I reviewed Dark Horizon, and though I was ambivalent towards it, I could see that they were trying to do something interesting. I also reviewed Mount & Blade, and though I was hard on it for some major issues throughout the game, I did really like it, and still do (Hear that, M+B fans? I like the game, OK? I like it, and said as much in my review. You can stop pestering what’s left of my inbox and I now. I heard you all loud and clear. I sleep with the lights on at night because I’m afraid one of you guys is going to find my house an exact revenge). I also really like Europa Universalis: Rome, as well. In short, though they have an infuriating habit of hiring developers with the right intentions in mind but happen to make one or two crucial mistakes in the process of making their games, I wish we had more developers like Paradox.

Naturally, I got the task of reviewing the latest Paradox game, Elven Legacy, which is still in late developmental stages. I was able to sample a near-complete version with Russian voices, and while it’s not complete yet, we could potentially have another good strategy game at an affordable price.

34805_elven_legacy-21The story, from what little I was able to gather, involves you and a mage fighting to restore the Elves to their former glory against… er, something or other. I couldn’t gather too much of the story that wasn’t in text form, but the story, from what I was able to acertain, is only meaningful to move the gameplay along, The gameplay takes part on a grided field, where you can see the range your characters are allowed to move. When an enemy’s in range, his icon lights up, indicating that your player can attack him. With enough experience, your characters level up, gaining “perks” such as an ability to fight better in forests, new spells, etc.

In practise, the game reminds me greatly of another lesser known strategy game: The Battle for Wesnoth, a free SRPG for Windows, OS/X and the popular variations of Linux. I play it at work a lot not only because it’s easy – it installs straight from default repositories in Ubuntu as well as OpenSuSE – but because it’s a quality game. If Elven Legacy is more or less Battle for Wesnoth with better graphics and a more involved story (instead of loose campaigns) and multiplayer, then I’ll indeed be a very happy camper.

34801_elven_legacy-04 Granted, the game is not without faults. The interface needs some work. It’s hard to see where your flying units are, and it’s also not particularly easy to see whether or not you are able to attack someone. The biggest issue I had was that some goals are very, very obscure. In one stage, I had to take my mage female to a spot on the wall, with the caveat that she had to stay alive. No problem, they even marked the spot for me. So I took her there, and… nothing happened. I just kept getting hit by long-range units. Then I learned there were more enemies to the side that I might or might not have to beat. I took them out, and still couldn’t advance, instead finding more enemies I had to take out. By the time I got around to that endeavour, I ran out of turns and had to start the stage over. A LOT more clarity on mission objectives is going to be needed in the final version. Past that, the game looks great, the combat system works well, and best of all, the MSRP is only $30, making this highly affordable. Furthermore, if Mount & Blade is an example, not only will this game be on Paradox’s own Gamers Gate service, I expect to see it on Steam as well.

Elven Legacy will drop in March of this year. Here’s to hoping a genre in need of an A-plus title finally gets one.



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