Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars
Spellforce 2 : Shadow Wars promises a unique mix of RTS and RPG. I’m always sceptical when I hear something like this, because with such a mix chances of disappointing both sides are very high. All the same you never know, so a little curious I started to play this game.
It strikes me that the game itself makes a distinction between RTS and RPG too. ‘Free Game’ revolves around solving quests while ‘Skirmish’ is RTS all the way. Only in the campaign the two really get together. All in all, the game is put together well, and you will have mastered the gameplay quickly. No thanks to the tutorial, because it takes you by the hand many times to explain the simple things without going into detail about the advanced possibilities or new functions in Spellforce 2.
The story is boring, it doesn’t appeal to me and I sometimes couldn’t follow it, mainly because of the references to the first Spellforce. In this campaign the loading times are also too long, luckily this isn’t the case in the other game modes. The quests do make playing fun because of their variation.
Building your base and developing your character both go smooth and intuitive, although it wil probably be too easy for veterans. On top of that the difficulty level can only be changed in the campaign.
During dialogues in the game, you sometimes have the ability to choose what you’re going to say, but this has no function at all. When actions interfere they are displayed in a strange way. By the way, the lip sync isn’t what it has to be. Another limited function is the mini-map. It’s only useful to see where your goals are, it’s almost impossible to find certain units or characters, even when you have selected them. Provided that you peer alot, you might see a large group on it.
The two most important special functions of Spellforce 2 are third-person view and teleportation. The first one is superfluous, I didn’t found any use for it in the game. On top of that it’s very unhandy because of the wrong camera angles. Teleportation does add something. On your way you pass so-called ‘Journey Stones’, once activated they allow you to travel back to them. This comes in handy to save you from walking all the way back when needed, but only your character can use this. Further on some nice additions are available, like the possibility to sort your inventory.
The graphics look fine at first sight, even when you zoom in which is sometimes a problem in RTS games. The cycle of day and night is seen in the shadows and the great play of light but when you look better, a few errors can be seen anyway. For instance the grass has as much charisma as cardboard, and the trees don’t seem so natural either. The biggest problem can be found in the shadows. They are clearly built out of blocks, which is really ugly. Luckily this can be solved by adjusting the graphics to ‘very high’.
The sound is okay, the music contributes to the atmosphere, but there is a problem here too: the same music is heard again too fast and too often, which annoys after a while.
Spellforce 2 : Shadow Wars could have gone many ways, but mistakes during the completion of the game have lowered the whole. Too bad. Yet it’s still suitable for those who play RTS, RPG or both of them for the first time.