A new turn-based strategy game came out today for the PC. It is called Elven Legacy, and it is by a Russian developer named 1C: Ino-Co.
The game is a sequel to 2007's Fantasy Wars.
The best way to describe Elven Legacy is that it is a fantasy take on the tactical war-game genre, molded on such PC classics as the Panzer General series, crossed with RPG and magic elements, such as those found in Heroes of Might and Magic.
If you haven't played any of those games I just cited, then let me describe Elven Legacy in a different way: the game takes place in a common fantasy world; one populated with knights, mages, and orcs. (And of course Elves!) You control an army, basically. Your army is composed of units, which can either be squads of troops of the same type (cavalry, archers, swordsmen, etcetra) or your units can be heroes -- the generals of your army.
The gameplay takes place on a map, broken down into hexagons. Strategy is the name of the game here, as you have to conquer the map in a set period of time. To unlock bonuses, you have to move quick, arranging your armies and assaulting the enemy using a bit of foresight and deadly, combined assaults from your troops.
Here's a description of a typical turn: four goblin units are hiding out in a castle. You move an archer unit into range, and take a shot, but the walls give too high of a defensive bonus for it to be effective. You move your unit-squad of warriors into the castle gates, so they are ready for some stabbin' next turn. Meanwhile you get your mage hero to last fireball into the castle, to soften the goblins up. Unfortunately, none of the goblins die; you hit the end-turn button, and the goblins start slicin' at ya...
Elven Legacy isn't a game for everyone, but it is a game that certain gamers will derive a lot of enjoyment from. While the gameplay video below shows a fairly kinetic game, Elven Legacy is unapologetically focused on strategic, turn-based combat. Those who are more into RTS or action games may find the pace a bit too slow; while those who enjoy deliberating over strategies -- such as arranging there archers on the mountains, to gain firing advantages -- will be just a home here. If you like other turn-based strategy games, such as say something from the Final Fantasy Tactics series, or the recent King's Bounty, Elven Legacy would serve as a excellent introduction to a similar sort of game that instead focuses on entire armies, instead of one squad.
The game has a number of things going for it: the strategic depth is definitely present, with over a 100 units in the game. A variety of spells serve as long-range artillery, while artifacts and gold are found in your travels that can be used to upgrade your heroes. Also, your units gain experience, if you keep your troops alive over the stretches of battle, it pays off, as they develop more fearsome abilities. Elven Legacy's UI is well-done: the game is easy to navigate, and presents important information in a way that seems natural and intuitive. If you enjoyed 2007's Fantasy Wars, you'll enjoy this sequel, as the game is similar in most ways.
Elven Legacy has a multiplayer component in it: the game can be played online, or in hotseat mode. The multiplayer combat is pretty much 1-4 players on a large map, with each team trying to wipe the other out. Depending on which of the roughly 20 MP maps you play on, you can choose to play as the Humans, Elves, Orcs. I was playing a pre-released version of the game, so unfortunately there was no one out there with which to test MP out with.
While Eleven Legacy doesn't do anything to reinvigorate the genre, and the fantasy setting is rigorously generic,overall the game is well-executed and those who enjoyed turn-based strategy games should find it a worthwhile purchase at its reasonable introductory pricepoint of $29.99.