събота, 29 август 2015 г.

Legends of Eisenwald - Meet my first strategic disciple

I found about Legends of Eisenwald accidentally, to be more precise a friend told me about it. And it turned out to be right up my alley. Legends of Eisenwald is an adventure game with strategic turn based battles and many RPG elements. It’s made by the Belorussian studio Aterdux Entertainment. It came out at 2 of July 2015.

World and Story

Due to betrayal you have lost control over your lands and lords. Now everything depends on you. Will you be able to reclaim what's yours by right? The story is not extremely impressive and can be easily skimmed trough, but if you delve into it you will find that it adds good bit to immersion of the game. LoE successfully creates a feeling of world filled with intrigue and betrayal where you're never sure who is a friend and who a foe. Also the surroundings are amazingly done in my opinion. You will see realistic castles and land shafts not to mention the day-night circle and the shadows of objects which dynamically change their orientation based on the time of the day. Also all weapons, shields and armor are pretty historically accurate. Those few small at first glance things really create the feeling of realism which most fantasy games lack. At the same time you have witches and healers who are far from not educated in the arts of magic.

I think I have met you before...

In the reviews of the game that I read Eisenwald is compared to games like Heroes of Might and Magic and King's Bounty and while those comparisons are not inaccurate LoE reminds me of another classic - Disciples by Strategy First. Well its true it have the pretty much unlimited movement of KB as well as the possibility of taking side quests and talking to all characters you meet. And the battles kind of remind you of Heroes at first glance, but let me explain and you will see that I'm right.

Oh one thing before that, mentioning King's Bounty and unlimited movement here is the place to mention that the game features two kinds of...movement on the map. Real time where everything happens despite your pace of movement and the other where time passes only when you move. So the game is not exactly TBS but its not really an RTS either...

Let's start wit the differences between Disciples and LoE. The first one is that you will see is that you do not develop your castles. Some of them are set to give you the ability to recruit or heal in them, but not all. Also in them you will not build any structures. Because of that here buildings are not needed for the evolution of your troops, they are ready to be upgraded once they acquire the required amount of experience. Your troops will again have two paths from which to choose and once you have chosen path the other is locked. What I noticed is that some troops have more diverse paths than the ones in Disciples. For example the healer will be able to become a more powerful healer or a witch. For comparison in Disciples your choice was between a single target healer and mass one.
The more advanced your troops are the more experience they will need of course, but also a lot stronger they will become gaining new abilities. Again very similar to Strategy First's masterpiece where troops gained levels slowly, but every single level was of great importance. Other similarities are the rare rather powerful items that you find and strangely enough the battles. True your units are able to move during battle unlike the ones in Disciples II, but they still will be able to attack only the closest target. This increases the available strategies in combat by some and to be honest this is how I imagined the battles in Disciples III would be.

Of course you should not think that Legend doesn't offer anything different from Strategy First's child. As I already mentioned the units level paths are more diverse like the healer and the witch, the monk and the cleric - one being melee and the other support unit etc. But probably the biggest difference is that some skills of your units are dependent on their equipment. Yes, you read that correct, you are able to give equipment not only to your hero but also to your troops. For example if a unit is using a spear it will have preemptive strike or if its using a shield it will be able to block attacks coming from certain sides or weapons.
Some troops are able to even use more than one kind of weapon giving you even more possible ways to customize your small army.

Shining knights and grand castles

I don't have much to add here about the graphics of the game. It looks nice with a lot of historically accurate armours and weapons. Not to mention the great looking castles for which Aterdux have drawn inspiration from real historical ones. Those things greatly add to the immersion of the game. Also Legends of Eisenwald have very atmospheric music. As a whole very atmospheric game, that really grabs you and brings in there. Or at least it did so with me.


Legends of Eisenwald have reminded me of a game that I greatly love - Disciples II. Both games have units that gain levels and can become different "classes". Also it’s the same mix between an RPG and a strategy game with decent story and nice looking. But while Disciples is high fantasy TBS LoE is a lot more...historical with a bit of magic. In it you will see great castles inspired by real ones as well as weapons and armuors that are historically accurate. Those few small purely visual details add a lot more than you think to the immersion in the game.
Another big difference between the two is the ability of all your units in LoE to equip different items which together with the more diverse "level up" paths bring a lot of customization options to the table. Not to mention that the weapons doesn't give only different look to your units but some also give them unique abilities.

The only downsides of the game that I can think of are the facts that it is not visually impressive and lacks any flashy effects. Also the story is not anything special although it’s not bad either. And if you’re looking for deep strategy game, this is not for you, because I think that Loe has been created to be played in short bursts instead of long epic sessions. But if you put those aside Legends of Eisewald is very potent historical strategy game with RPG elements and a grind of magic. Try it, it hides a lot more than it show at first look.



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