Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Legends of Eisenwald (PC) Quick Review

I received a review code for Legends of Eisenwald a while ago, and got a chance to check it out for a bit.  It's a turn-based RPG with some unique elements that make it unlike any game I have played before.  The graphics are pretty good on my PC (i7-something), and the game runs really well with no hiccups or slowdown that I experienced.

Combat takes place on a hex-based grid.  When a character's turn comes up (based off of their initiative), they can choose a target to attack.  You will then move toward them and attack.  However, there is a chance they will counter-attack, so the aggressor might take some damage too.  Depending on which side you click on, the character will move to a different hex.  There are a few caveats, though.  You can't just have a person move somewhere, as they have to have a target.  If you are next to an enemy, you have to attack them.  This can really hurt archer units, but can be used to your advantage.  Sometimes, when one enemy is left, they might surrender, ending the battle early!  That alone is pretty cool, since I haven't seen that in a game yet.

Since your main character is whichever class you chose for them, you will need to fill out your ranks with mercenaries.  Your party can have a lot of characters, but you'll have to pay for them.  You aren't just limited to fighters and archers, though.  Healers and mages can also be hired.  Both use magic to heal, support or do other effects.  They can't attack with weapons like the others can, but they can retreat to a safe hex if an enemy is in their face.  If you don't have enough to cast a spell, they can meditate to restore some magic for the next turn.  Magic type characters are useful, but they can't do much if they are the only ones left.

Your main character can purchase skills when he or she levels up.  Hired warriors will instead upgrade their class, and there are splits in the tree where you have to decide which class to make them.  It is possible to have different types, since you can hire several different people to help you out.  Each character can also equip several different pieces of armor, and some can even ride horses (assuming the terrain allows it).  People have default equipment that you cannot remove, but anything you have them equip will be used instead.  This threw me off for a bit in the beginning, since I didn't realize why they had secondary slots under their equipment.  From a gameplay perspective, it's nice so they aren't stuck punching guys if they don't have a weapon equipped.

There is also a time mechanic to make use of in the game.  By default, time will only move forward when you are moving.  It is possible to have it go forward when you are standing around as well.  There are certain events that may only happen at night, plus you will have to pay your mercenaries when the next dawn rises.  I've seen the day/night cycle in games before, but it seems much more natural in Eisenwald.  The cycle isn't too fast or too slow.  Plus, you can adjust the speed that you/the clock moves if you want to move it along.  Just a well done aspect of the game.

I haven't played a whole lot of the game yet, but Legends of Eisenwald is pretty fun so far.  The unique hex-based strategy combat is very interesting.  The game is a good challenge, and the prologue is good at teaching you game mechanics without hand-holding.  As an involved RPG with a lot of focus on the story, there are times when you have to choose one side or the other.  On the other hand, it isn't a very easy game to pick up and play weeks later, but the quest log will help you find your way again.  Legends of Eisenwald is a solid RPG for PC players to pick up.

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