Short Sessions, Part 14

This is another post in my series about the odd games that I have decided not to complete, although I will at least try them out for up to an hour or two.

SpellForce: Platinum Edition

Developer: EA Phenomic | Released: 2005 | Genre: RPG, RTS

Both this and the sequel were gifted to me. As I’m not crazy about strategy elements in a game, I knew it probably wouldn’t be my cup of tea. The SpellForce series are fantasy RPG with RTS elements.

I must say the narrated tutorial was quite extensive. It was very keen on holding my hand through using the UI, combat, and even building a complete settlement for crafting and feeding the human workers. The only thing that annoyed me was the pause of a few seconds between every voiced tutorial tip. That guy sure wasn’t in too much of a hurry to teach me the game.

I wasn’t too fond of the controls. It was another one of those where I had to select all members of the party to make sure they followed each other, and I had to use right mouse click for selecting and moving to a new spot. What I did like a lot was how zooming in close to the protagonist, a female mage, automatically switched to a 3PS mode steering with WASD and using mouselook with the right mouse button.

The RPG elements with inventory, spells and combat in general seem fairly typical of the genre. What stood out to me was the runeboard for acquiring e.g. party members or human workers as runes to be placed in sockets. Then I could spawn them from a monument. A party member joined my side in combat, while human workers could gather resources such a stone, iron or wood, then craft buildings.

SpellForce 2: Anniversary Edition

Developer: EA Phenomic | Released: 2006 | Genre: RPG, RTS

I tried this one right after the first one (well, actually, I had lunch first). It was very much the same as the first one, even down to the details of the voiced tutorial to learn the ropes. The user interface, the combat, companions picked up on the way, and the settlement, ordering human workers to gather materials and putting up buildings – not much deviation there. The controls used were almost the same too.

The graphics were a little better, and the annoying pause between tutorial tips were gone. It also achieved the 4K resolution properly, something the first game failed to do. The user interface was more streamlined but essentially offered the same features. While I still wasn’t fond of the control scheme, I could see the combination of RPG and RTS had it charms for gamers that enjoyed both.

And it sure had scantily clad women. It didn’t take long into the tutorial before my party met the iconic woman seen in press images for the game. I like beautiful women as much as any man, but her outfit was borderline ridiculous. No wonder we had to revive her after a fight we found her in.

SpellForce 2: Faith in Destiny

Developer: Mind Over Matter Studios | Released: 2012 | Genre: RPG, RTS

I also tried the standalone expansion pack after that. Exactly the same user interface and features as the main game. It even had another extremely scantily clad woman on the title screen. Why change this popular RPG cliché? After all, it might sell more copies.

Strange that there was no choice between a male and a female protagonist this time around. I could only choose male. The dialog in the short while I played the game was not exactly Hemingway. The writing seemed weak, and the accompanying woman was annoyingly condescending to the protagonist.

I also found it quite lame that I could talk to a military commander on a horse about maybe spotting evil invaders, yet a floating demon eyeball was also clearly visible a few meters away to the left. I know the eyesight of game characters are notoriously limited, but that was really preposterous.

See also: Short Sessions, Part 13

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