SpellForce : The Order of Dawn - Review
SpellForce is a game series that I first discovered way back in 2005, SpellForce: The Order of Dawn being the first one I played. The game is a blend of RPG and RTS, which developer Phenomic executed very well.
The game itself is set in the fantasy world of Eo, eight years after a group of thirteen powerful mages destroyed it with a ritual called the Convocation. You are thrown into the role of a Rune warrior, brought back to life by the only surviving mage of the thirteen. He then tasks you with saving the world from a powerful evil. You can play as one of six races, which are typical fantasy fare: human, elf, dwarf, orc, troll, or dark elf.
The RTS part of the game is very basic: you gather raw materials, build a fort, recruit an army, and destroy the enemy base. What surprised me was the way SpellForce presented it. They allow you to beat some levels on your own, or you can opt to quest with your heroes. Both ways have their own strategies and a rewarding in their own way.
You gain heroes by finding their runes in chests, then you can equip them to have the hero travel with you. They are often your most powerful fighters and mages. You can have up to 5 heroes at once.
You also have groups of workers and troops at your disposal to help you build your fort and make advances against your enemy. There are worker runes for each race that determine which level your workers and troops are.
They also took the time to add some nice details like your army eating food and with that lowering your food stocks...
Something I also noticed while playing the game is the huge amount of units and building (Which you have to find in chests of buy ).Each race has up to 10 units which allows for some nice army compositions, depending on your needs. They also took the time to add some nice details like your army eating food and with that lowering your food stocks or races having attributes in certain scenarios( Humans fighting stronger in day time, elves fighting stronger when in a forest...). There is also a day and night cycle.
The AI is quite good. My troops never got lost and the usually take the shortest way to the destination.
Like most games , SpellForce :TOoD features a tutorial. It is very long (up to an hour) but also very detailed. They show you everything from how to buy items to how enemies react when they see you. It is skippable so you don't have to do it every time.
Standard RPG elements, done right
The games features some of the standard RPG elements such as leveling and equipping your hero, main and side quests and so on.
The main quests are interesting, they aren't to long or to short. The side quests can range from short ones (bring X item to Y person ), or they can beextremely long, one even ranges from the beginning to the end of the game. They are very rewarding and you find out more bout the story of Eo and how this all happened.
You can build your avatar as a fighter or a mage.
You gain points as you level up. You then use these points to improve your skills in a specific area (Archery, Heavy combat arts, white magic).When you level up you also get 5 points to distribute to attributes (strength, stamina). You need to be careful when distributing these points, to increase your skills you need a certain amount of attributes.
It can be up to 70 hours long if you do all the side quests.
This game does favor fighters early and mages later so keep that in mind.
The game features a lot of items for each path you decide to take. Most of these items you can find in chests arround the world. You can also buy them from merchants.
It can be up to 70 hours long if you do all the side quests.
SpellForce : TOoD combines all these elements really well. It does lack a bit of depth in the RTS aspect of the game.
Gameplay : 9
SpellForce is and old game and you can see that the most on its graphics.The textures, while not the best, look s
There are no real smooth edges in the game you can see that on the character models, they just look a bit rough.
The environment, on the other hand, looks beautiful. You can still see blocky edges on some tall mountains but nothing to bad. If you crank the settings to a max you get some nice detail. I did get some frame drops in large battles on max settings. The game is still playable on lower settings and you don't need a strong PC to play it.
Graphics : 7
Now the bad part of the game: the voice acting.
It's not bad all the time, but some actors talk like they don't know the language.
If you buy this game in English prepare for some of the worst voice acting in video games. It's not bad all the time, but some actors talk like they don't know the language. You can look past that, it won't kill the experience. This is not the case in the other versions of the game. I can say that the voice acting in the German version is really good. It's just a shame for the English release to have such poor voice acting.
The music blew my ears away. It fits the game so well and you can hear that it took time to make. At some parts you just want to close your eyes and listen to it. This was always a big + for the game IMO.
Sound : 6 (English Version) , 10 (Other Versions)
The story is mostly linear . You are the good guy, save the world and so on. That does not mean it's bad. This game has some of the best story I have seen I a long time. I love it how the side quests just add to the main story. You might read in some other reviews that the story is not that good and that the ending is really bad and poorly made. You have to keep ind mind that The Order of Dawn is just the first part of the story . To get the full story you have to play it's 2 expansions. There is depth; when talking to NPCs you can discover so much of the background of other NPCs.
The story adds to the game in more than one way, to get the full experience you just have to play the series.
Story : 8
Fun Factor and Replayability
You play games for fun don't you?. SpellForce : TOoD is going to give you just that, if you like these types of games. The game can get boring if you don't like building up your base for an hour, or searching the whole map for chests.
SpellForce: TOoD is going to give you just that, if you like these types of games.
The searching is made worse by the big maps. I had to walk for 2 to 3 minutes to get from point A to point B.
The game has a lot of replayability. After you finish it once you can just make a new avatar and just build him differently. Yes the story is going to end the same no matter what path you build but it's still fun to see how one avatar compares to the other.
Fun Factor and Replayability : 8
SpellForce : TOoD is a mix between RTS and RPG. It plays very well, combining both elements into a good game. The AI is good and the game has no bugs (none that I have noticed).
The graphics are in the middle, not too good for todays standards but still good for this type of game. The games is still playable with a low range PC.
Music is just on another level than today's games. I can't say the same for the voice acting in the English version. I would recommend you to buy one of the other versions if you know how to speak the language.
The story is not complete in this game, you have to play all the SpellForce games to get a decent ending.
This is a fun game which I would recommend to everyone.
It is fun if you like these types of games. It has a lots of replayability and you can play it for months to come.