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Author Topic: Elemental: War of Magic  (Read 2275 times)

ackblom12

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Elemental: War of Magic
« on: 27 Aug 2010, 22:26 »

I'm a bit of a Stardock (Galactic Civilizations II and Sins of a Solar Empire fame) 4x strategy whore, so I immediately pre-ordered Elemental when it was announced.  Elemental is a 4x strategy game that is a very obvious spiritual successor to the 1995 game Masters of Magic. It's kind of a mix of Civilization and Fantasy RPG. You start with a hero who can build your first city, you then have to build pioneers/settlers to make more. You can build on resources to get extra materials, you get to lead armies with these heroes (who can also equip new loots) to go and hunt monsters and steal their treasures through either auto combat or changing to a turn based tactical combat grid. You can win a game win in one of 4 different ways, the usual 4x fare in that sense.

Some of the fun stuff involves making your own troops in the game. As you unlock equipment and powers you unlock new units, but you the real meat is unlocking new weapons, powers and customizing your own troops. You can save these customizations to include them in the list of trainable units. Not entirely surprising considering Stardock's obsession with giving these kinds of options in earlier games, but still a nice addition. The magic spells are satisfying, the summon creatures are great and so many things about it are great but goddamn when the game has a problem it has goddamn problems.

The interface is kind of shit terrible, it has no tutorial to speak of, it has one hell of a learning curve, it has quite a few bugs and tons of options in the settings menu that aren't explained in the menus at all.

Another one of the problems I'm having is with the graphics. Now, I am not one to need a good graphics engine for a 4x strategy game (Civilization V is perhaps going to spoil me) but this game has the problem of have some gorgeous terrain on the map but with character models straight out of 2003. It ends up having a rather ridiculous contrast that bothers me a bit.

Overall I'm quite enjoying the game, and they are working quite hard to fix it's problems (they've released 3 patches in the last 2 days) but I don't know if I could seriously make any real judgement until the game is actually spit shined and polished. It's definitely worth a shot if you enjoyed Masters of Magic in any way though.

Anyone else bought or considering trying the game out?
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Alex C

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Re: Elemental: War of Magic
« Reply #1 on: 27 Aug 2010, 23:11 »

This is one of those titles I've been monitoring but just haven't been able to pull the trigger on. I feel kinda bad about it really, because Stardock affiliated games usually have pretty generous pricing schemes and it usually doesn't take long before there's a steep discount on their product. But in practice this usually means that I'll buy one of their games for like $15 and then play it for 5 or 6 years until the next one goes on sale.  :|
« Last Edit: 27 Aug 2010, 23:13 by Alex C »
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ackblom12

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Re: Elemental: War of Magic
« Reply #2 on: 28 Aug 2010, 05:49 »

Oh, another point about the levels of customization Stardock go to with this game. IT has built in customization tools and it goes  so far as to include one for all city buildings and a goddamn particle modding tool so that you can change how spell and other map effects look.

You can access both of these from the main menu of the game. Feckin' Christ.
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Alex C

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Re: Elemental: War of Magic
« Reply #3 on: 28 Aug 2010, 16:11 »

That sounds cool but I also can't quite help but suspect such things are probably contributing to the shit terrible interface problem you mentioned. Does it just "feel" off or is it one of those games with a million commands that are nested within other commands and screens?
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ackblom12

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Re: Elemental: War of Magic
« Reply #4 on: 28 Aug 2010, 16:25 »

The 2nd problem you mentioned. There is also an issue with having to scroll through unit actions , unlike in more polished game like Civ where all of that units map actions are listed in a neat little row, this is a row that you have to scroll left and right in. It makes things much much slower until you can get hotkeys down.

From what I gather these are probably things they are going to be working on with patches and I'm sure if they don't the modding community will. Still a pain in the as till then though.
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Alex C

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Re: Elemental: War of Magic
« Reply #5 on: 28 Aug 2010, 16:58 »

row that you have to scroll left and right in

Okay, now THAT sounds weird. They must be building around the idea of being very playable on netbooks or some shit because otherwise that makes zero sense in a world in which my 1680x1050 widescreen monitor was a sub $300 mainstream product when I bought it a few years ago.
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the ship has Dr. Pepper but not Mr. Pibb; it's an absolute goddamned travesty
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