I never felt intrigued about the SpellForce franchise until now that I had the chance to personally review one of the titles. I always thought this was one more strategy game that mixed up a random story with some RPG elements and that the game couldn’t even make it to a 6, oh boy how wrong I was…
Spellforce 2: Demons of the Past is a standalone expansion to the SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars, so no need to buy the previous games which is excellent for someone like me who didn’t played the other games. However you must be curious on the reason on why so many people are interested in this franchise, and I’ll tell you what it is.. it’s the lore & the content.
In terms of story, Demons of the Past is the conclusion to the story of the previous games and leaves it open for the upcoming SpellForce 3. We play as the Elder of the Shaikan and our objective is simple, go to the Realm of the Gods and finish Zazhut once and for all (after he managed to get free apparently).
But it seems like the gods aren’t really happy about our decision of going after Zazhut, so they try everything they can to stop us. Demons of The Past brings some enemies from the past and we have to go against all odds to save Eo.
T0 be honest I’m still trying to catch up on the story but so far I’ve been enjoying it, the game has up to 20 hours of content just in the single player campaign itself plus it allows you to play up to 3 races (Pact, Shaikan and the Undead). One can argue that the game becomes repetitive but at the end of the day it really depends on the person that it’s behind the keyboard and their attachment to the franchise.
The game itself reminds me of my childhood playing Warcraft 3 not only for it’s cutscenes and dialogues but also on the combat which requires a player to click on each character to activate it’s special abilities but let’s get more into detail about that.
Contrary to the popular myth that Spellforce is just a real time strategy game like many others isn’t exactly true, the game is very RPGish actually and requires the players to have amazing multi tasking and micro management skills. In terms of the RPG elements there’s gearing up characters with new items or spells and a huge chunk of side quests available to the player to keep him entertained.
The maps of this game are…huge.. One of the biggest that I’ve actually ever seen in Real Time Strategy games, the game has double or triple a Starcraft 2 or Age of Empires campaign map has. There’s side quests everywhere and once I pick them all I can’t really decide where to start.
Although I haven’t fully picked up on Spellforce’s Lore, in what so far I have digged I have to admit that it’s quite impressive. It doesn’t have much lore as compared to Warcraft or Warhammer but it has an impressive amount of lore especially from a franchise that comes from a studio that isn’t that well known.
If you’re a fan of Multiplayer RTS games you will definitely enjoy Demons of the Past multiplayer. Especially if you’re a Warcraft 3 fan, you will find many things that will remind you of that game, whether it’s on the resource system, units training or even the upgrading system, players that played old RTS will feel at home here.
There’s content for everybody even on the multiplayer side of the game, you can play in skirmish mode both versus either the AI or even mixed up with others by using either LAN or Online functionality.
One of the things this game fails at is unfortunately the technical deportment, I understand that they’re using the same engine ever since the release of SpellForce 2 in 2006. They did make some miracles especially on buildings and textures but the character models are very ugly and in comparison with the other aspects of the game. In terms of graphics, it’s just disappointing. It looks like we’re playing a completely different game if we compare the scenarios with character models.
I recommend this game to any RTS player who enjoys this type of games from the old times, I however do not recommend this game to all types of players. It might get too repetitive for some persons especially if they’re not in for the lore.
If you’re interested in the multiplayer part, I’ll just tell you off the bat that this game isn’t on par with current competitive RTS games such as Starcraft 2. It’s fun to drop in and have some fun like the old Age of Empires III times but if you’re expecting a competitive balanced multiplayer game, you won’t find it here.
Overall if you’re looking for an epic campaign story and a fun multiplayer this is the game for you. If by any luck you want to play some game close to the Warcraft RTS series but in a more modern game I’ll tell you immediately that this game is for you.