Elven Legacy Preview

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Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: 1C's Ino-Co

Platform: PC
Official Site http://www.1cpublishing.eu/

In late 2007, Russian publisher 1C's Ino-Co studio released its game Fantasy Wars for the PC to audiences in North America. Published in North America by Atari, the game was a flawed, turn-based strategy game with fantasy-themed units fighting it out on hex-based battlefields. This time around, Ino-Co is focusing on the Elves of their world with a sequel that continues the play of Fantasy Wars by exploring the world's Elven Legacy, with a game that should be released shortly by Paradox Interactive.

Projected Release: 1st Quarter, 2009
Kyle Ackerman

Elven Legacy was already released to Russian-speaking audiences, so the game is substantially done. I was playing code that represents the final AI, graphics and so forth. What remains is localization for an English-speaking audience – most importantly, the voice-overs. As a result, I won't talk much about the story except to say that it involves the same sort of high-fantasy epic tale as in Fantasy Wars. Of course, if you just want to get straight to the turn-based battles, then you won't much care about the story and will enjoy a similar experience to the one I had, just facing off against the game's campaign. From my experience, I can say that Eleven Legacy is an even stronger game than Fantasy Wars.

The first game in the series, Fantasy Wars, had problems, the biggest of which involved the game's AI and balance. In Elven Legacy, these issues have been (for the most part) addressed. Enemy units will no longer charge as a horde to attack from a riverbed with massive defensive penalties. Now, the enemy does a better job of flanking and enveloping forces, and retreating to recuperate when combat is hopeless, rallying only around critical defensive points and mission goals. That, alone, does wonders for making Elven Legacy a lot more entertaining than its predecessor. The game has also done a better job of addressing balance issues, meaning that skirmishers with poisoned weapons are no longer simply death personified, marauding the countryside.

The graphics are very similar to the original release. That means that the fantasy world is extremely colorful, populated with fantastic monsters and extravagant spell effects. There are extensive combat animations (which can be sped up to an extreme if they grow tiresome) and a fully 3D world. Elven Legacy does continue a failing of Fantasy Wars in that despite unit banners to indicate status, it can be very difficult to tell, at a glance, exactly which unit belongs to whom. I still found that I sometimes had to go to the mission map to be completely clear, and I still don't like being dragged out of the regular game interface to be certain what is happening.

I spent a lot of time with the Elven campaign, one of two campaigns in Elven Legacy that are accompanied by several bonus missions unlocked through superior play. The game follows Sagittel, an Elven mage who wields a bow like a Klingon swings a Bat'leth, and Gylven, an Elven sorceress – both of whom are ardent protectors of Elvenkind and willing to defend humanity, if it doesn't inconvenience them too much. 1C promises a non-linear storyline, but that appears to mean that you follow a linear campaign in which you often have a choice between one of two battles. That suggests that the campaigns have at least one solid replay beyond just improving your performance.

Like in Fantasy Wars, the campaign for Elven Legacy starts off easy, but the real challenge is one of resources. You get gold for sacking towns or finishing quickly (it can be hard to do both). That gold is necessary for upgrading old units and purchasing new units. Fail to earn enough gold, or lose too many units, and you're sunk for every mission thereafter. At the same time, preserve your units, and you'll fight with them long enough to get attached.

Some of the maps feel more restrictive then the previous game, forcing my armies to follow a linear path bounded by mountains or water to the goal, rather than the wider, more open feel of the original game. But that just makes for new and interesting adventures.

Aside from the improved AI, which is the single most important thing that needed to be improved from Fantasy Wars, Elven Legacy is very much the same game. The campaigns are different, with new missions, some new units and a different plot, but with the same style, graphics and turn-based mayhem. Expect many hours of turn-based strategy entertainment when Elven Legacy is released.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on January 8, 2009 7:02 PM.

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