View Full Version : Spellforce 2

07-30-06, 02:09 AM
My last thread before a long silence. A well deserved vacation is waiting me and it will take most of August.

I was really impressed by this game. Spellforce games are marketed as an RPG/RTS hybrid but -imho- they should be labelled as a hack'n'slash/RTS hybrid as the RPG parts are quite shallow with dialogue and choices non existant and always a single outcome (mmm... Oblivion :p ).

No matter, the game is very fun. The single player campaign is quite long: 20-30hrs at minimum. The RTS experience is very satisfiying with the ability to control every unit individually and mix the strategic aspect of planning defenses, exploiting resources and strategically placing the troops with the fast paced gameplay typical of a hack'n' slash adventure in Diablo style. Battles are won by carefully using the strenghts of the main party, taking an active role in the battle (as an in a RPG) with the active support of the troops at disposal. The party itself can be disbanded, each member controlled individually or as a part of a larger task force. During the larger campaigns, up to 100 fighters can be controlled -individually if necessary- not counting NPCs and non-battling units such as craftmen, slaves or farmers.

The game allows quite a few customizations to the main characters, there are a lot of armor and weapon meshes modelled. There's an abundance of mundane items to chose from, maybe too much of them, but choice is always fine. Not counting the critters encountered in the RPG portions of the game, there are 5 "factions" each with its own strenght and tactics. During the course of the story it will be possible to control 3 of them (human realms, orc clans and elven rebels) and battle against the other 4 factions. The story introduces quite a few twists to explain why the main hero switch sides.

Graphics are very good for a RTS. It's possible to either use a full 3d isonometric view or a "behind the shoulders camera" approach. The maps are very detailed and so are the textures; the 3D engine sports a few must-have effects (shadows, realistic water, bloom, light glares etc...) but overall it remains playable on low end graphic cards. The only downside I can think about the engine is the eccessive memory utilization. Although the recommended specs include 1GB of RAM, 1.5GB is a must to avoid swapping. I tracked the commit charge while the game was running using the task manager and it reached 1.2 GB ! This with no other app in background and only 90MB of RAM used by Windows after a fresh reboot.

One last thing: the soundtrack is one of the best I EVER heard in a computer game. A 80 elements classic orchestra with chorus was hired to play the music as well as a very good soprano singer for the solo parts.

The game was developed by german studio Phenomic (founded by Volker Wertich, creator of the Settlers) and it's published in Europe by JoeWood. The european version of the game uses Starforce ( :thumbdwn: ) and it's distributed on DVD, the north american version is protected by Tages and it's distributed on CDs. An expansion has already been announced to come out the next winter.