Elemental: War of Magic - Day 0 Preview
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August 25th, 2010, 14:43
Got weak, and I bought it, and I've played it for a number of hours.
There's a decent game in there, but it performs abysmally - considering how basic it looks, and there are bugs a'plenty.
I'm not personally bothered by the atrocious documentation, because I've found most things rather straightforward - so far.
Why they've opted to release it in this condition, I'll never know. It's exactly the opposite of what Wardell has been boasting for years - as in taking the time to finish something, since they have that option - being self-funded.
The game is definitely rough, and I advise everyone to wait 3-6 months before taking the plunge, unless you're a big TBS fan.
The multiplayer isn't even in yet, and it won't have full functionality for a long while.
The game in itself is very much like Master of Magic, but it's pretty clear Stardock isn't anywhere near SimTex in terms of design competence and the skill it takes to make features work together to provide a consistent gaming experience. Mostly, it seems like a mish-mash of stolen ideas - mostly from Civilization and Master of Magic. Not a bad thing, per say, but it's definitely not very impressive either.
The best thing I can say about it, is that it has potential - and it's significantly less "dry" than GalCiv 2. There's a bit of charm in there - but again, they really don't know what they're doing when it comes to games like this. It's not enough to just steal what works, as you also have to understand WHY it works. Spell design, for instance, is incredibly linear and boring. The same is true for quest design, and in general - it's just not anywhere near the same level as MoM. With the kind of potential they've had, it's really disappointing that they couldn't, at LEAST, reach the level of MoM - especially in terms of spell variety, hero skills, underground areas, flying creatures, and all kinds of other things. If you have the resources, and you have the game available - at least LOOK at what it provides and match it.
Campaign improvements? I'm trying not to be TOO harsh, but it's just about the worst and least inspiring campaign I've EVER tried in a strategy game. It's incredibly dull, at least judging from the couple of hours I spent before quitting.
I've been playing with the latest patch, and to be honest - I've yet to see an improvement. I was really looking forward to performance enhancements, but the game remains a total dog. I have no idea what makes the game so slow, because it doesn't look good - and it certainly isn't littered with detail.
The engine was a VERY poor choice for this kind of game. I honestly think 2D would have served it much better, or at least a less "flashy" engine - because they make absolutely no use of the flash. Incompetence, I'm afraid.
This is like a typical Paradox release…