Spellforce franchise fans I’m a noob to the series, so I apologize if anything I discuss about Spellforce 3 feels repetitive or obvious, but after getting a hands-off demo at E3, I am a fan of what the game has to offer. This is namely due to the fact that it seemingly marries the RPG and RTS genres together perfectly by balancing the two gameplay styles between missions and exploration. I enjoy both genres greatly, with RTS games being some of my most favorite experience in gaming, so Spellforce 3’s formula is enticing if anything else.
Let’s get the nuts and bolts out of the way first. Spellforce 3 features parties of four heroes, with one being a main, and the other companions you will find on your journey. It has a multiplayer component, and can also be played in a co-op setting. It’s a huge game with over 240,000 words of spoken dialogue, and a main campaign that lasts around 30 hours, but has legs if you go for full completion and explore every map. The heroes have equitable gear, and three skill slots to choose from that can all be upgraded through a tech tree program that features six total trees to choose from with a limit of three trees per character.
Combat is split between the game’s two modes. In the action-RPG component you carry out attacks in real-time, but can slow down time to enter in more strategic strikes. Hero skills can chain together, so for example let’s say one hero causes a bleeding effect, any additional hero attacks will be that much deadlier due to chaining off of the debuffed statuses.
During the RTS segments the gameplay transitions into a full on RTS strategy experience. Resources need harvesting, buildings need erected to create more troops, and troops have various classes to choose from. Controlling your army is down through traditional RTS controls with the mouse. Workers are used for building creation, resource gathering, and producing resources for each building, so they’re essentially the crux of the economy in Spellforce 3. The RTS side of Spellforce 3 really seemed deep and strategic, and almost reminded me of a modern Civ title, albeit in a much more RTS-centric version, so I’m looking forward to going hands-on with this gameplay mechanic more than the others.
In terms of Spellforce 3’s technical prowess, it’s strong. Visually, especially when you consider the amount of units and detail that goes into each one, as well as the world itself, the game looks impressive. I also didn’t notice the engine struggling during the RTS bits, which featured large amounts of units on screen at the same time. In general the visuals have a Fantasy setting feel to them, so the tones are Earthy over being vibrant. I really didn’t notice any issues on the visual front, so the game should look very polished when it release in full.
I may not have known much about the Spellforce franchise before seeing Spellforce 3 in action, but after doing so I can see why it is onto its second sequel. The blend of action-RPG and RTS genres seems balanced perfectly, so if you’re a fan of either or both, this game is going to be right up your alley.
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