Review | Spellforce III : Reforced
A competent console RTS / ARPG Hybrid
Released originally for the PC platform in 2017, this redefined and enhanced edition comes to consoles with new ways to play and brings a good, well-balanced experience for fans of the RTS genre. The story of Spellforce sets itself in a fictional fantasy world called Eo, 500 years before events in SpellForce: The Order of Dawn (the first game in the franchise).In this timeline several races such as humans, elves, orcs, and dwarves co-exist and magic is an important part of life.
The player controls Tahar, the child of Isamo Tahar. Tahar quests alongside a number of characters that were mentioned in the first game as the mages of The Circle. Among them are Yria, an elven white mage; Isgrimm, a dwarven archaeologist; Rohen Tahir, a human mage and former follower of Isamo; Uram, a demon summoner; Ianna, an assassin; Undergast, a mage who is able to wield both light and dark magic; and Gor, an orcish shaman and chieftain. The main plot line in the starting campaign revolves around a mysterious plague that begins to sweep the land and as the titular hero, you are tasked with stopping the plague before it consumes the realms. The presentation of the game is wonderful with the art direction, sound design, and lore adjoinders really pulling you into the world when you play.
The divergent ways you play
The main thrust of gameplay in the campaign is you managing a player character that you will create which can be any of the game’s many classes, then you will be thrust into a story and gameplay styling that will be reminiscent of the ARPGs of the past but with a good execution that makes the combat and movement feel great with a controller. The divergence comes in towards the flashpoints of the campaigns where you will be asked to become a commander of the armed forces and then you begin the RTS hybrid style of gameplay.
the real-time strategy components of the game are quite fun and enjoyable to play, to be clear this isn’t a deep RTS like Age of Empires where you are required to micromanage your efforts across both economic and military units, instead you are managing and expanding a home base and the health of that Homebase will generate more workers (to a cap) that you can assign to various buildings, that will increase your worker count, then you generate a larger army and you must use your army and hero units to expand your zone control by capturing flags in adjoining zones, so the loop is simple enough to complete but mastering provides a good challenge. while you build and level up you will be required to acquire more and more unique resources to build more complex units for your armies.
The controller support for a game like this feels like it shouldn’t work, but once you have picked it up it actually does become quite intuitive and become easy to master. Each trigger of the controller is a different radial, left trigger is your buildings, left bumper is your building production. right trigger is your hero abilities and the right bumper is your unit commands for strategic placements. While at the start I was confoundedly flapping about to find the right radial wheel for the right thing in the right situation by around the 3rd hour in I was able to navigate the gameplay loop with ease and there should be a credit given to the UI team for that effort. The only negative in the UI was with the inventory management screen, which you will need to hit frequently to upgrade your gear, manage potion use and also access the skill trees. This window can sometimes feel tedious and overwhelming at points.
The Modal Minutia
Outside of the campaign, there are also a few multiplayer modes that can be played co-op or competitive, or solo against AI, the first is the purely RTS mode, secondly is the journey mode which is a campaign-style mode across the multiplayer maps and lastly, the arena mode which is a mode where you make a hero fight against hordes of enemies and then you upgrade between waves.
Overall Spellforce III: Reforced is a great package with a lot of content for players who are into a vibe of playing games like Baldurs Gate and Diablo or fans of RTS games like the original Warcraft 3 or Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War series. While the campaign story is good and understandable it is easy to become overwhelmed by the forced dialogue and the RTS gameplay is intuitive but it can take a while to take it all in and program your hands to use the radial wheels efficiently. Overall I recommend Spellforce III : Reforced as a fan of RTS and ARPGs.
|Reviewed on||Xbox Series X|
|Available on||Xbox Series X, Playstation 5|
|Release Date||June 7th, 2022|
|Developed by||Grimlore Games|
|Published by||Grimlore Games|
|Rated||M for Mature|