Spellforce III – Review (PC)
So I’m going to admit something. I have never heard of Spellforce. Let alone know that there were even two previous games out. But when we first talked about SpellForce III, the hype has been beyond real. My mind has been trying to wrap around the idea of having an RTS and a Diablo-like game where you focus on leveling up and getting a character geared up. And to be perfectly honest, this game does it DAMN good.
Spellforce III brags about having a “Seamless blend of RTS and RPG”. It’s pretty damn close to being seamless and perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed the mix. I do feel though that there is much more RPG than RTS at times but I felt that more RPG was needed to push the story and want to drive you to do a little more exploring to find those side quests or even chests that can get you that epic piece of armor to help you defeat those massive trolls in your way.
Most of the time while playing SpellForce you will be basically in “story mode”. Where you won’t really have an army but are traveling around with your heroes exploring, talking to people, or finding quests. It usually isn’t until you get a “we need to clear these (insert enemy here) out so we can get by” is where the RTS comes to play.
The RTS side was pretty fun. You couldn’t just build anywhere and be effective. You needed to see the area that is given to you and what resources are located on it. Once a hall or trade post established, it’s up to you to decide what is needed. Do you need food, military, stone? Once you get the area plotted out you then have to manage the workers. You only get so many per location depending on the size of your hall or trade post. If you feel you need more workers gathering food? You’ll have to take some workers away from another task if there isn’t enough to max out every building. This can sometimes be a pain in the ass because a crucial area could be heavily contested and your workers could flat out be killed creating a choke point for resources.
While in RTS mode you always have a static main base. You will have to take your heroes and whatever troops you have and start exploring to a point that’s marked with a flag to show that a trade post can be started there. Once you build a trade post, your existing resources such as wood and stone and such, aren’t readily available. You will have to wait for the resources to be delivered by workers to the site. I have to admit, this was a little frustrating at first, but damn it if it doesn’t make sense.
The only issue I had, which was mostly my fault, is that you have to rotate the camera a lot in towns. I missed quests and simple interactions because they are not marked on the minimap and the icon above their head was blocked. On a side note: you will travel between areas within towns and they will always have a loading screen in between. This is sometimes a nuisance, but they explain the area you’re going into though.
The graphics are quite gorgeous. The maps are amazing, the details of each area and the towns you transverse through are very well done. All the little details in every nook and cranny was a visual treat. I do wish I had a new PC to see if the details were that much better. I have no complaints about the graphics whatsoever, nothing really looked the same, everything had a great look and feel like it actually belonged there.
As for the sound of Spellforce III, the voice acting was top notch. It was fun to listen to the characters actually having a voice. I spent a lot of time leaning back in my chair and listening to the conversations between the characters and speaking out what response you chose to continue the conversation. The voice acting really helped immerse you in the story, I really enjoyed it.
This was somewhat surprising to me. I wasn’t sure what to expect with a SpellForce story as I have yet to play one. Damn, I was not expecting this type of story. I do not want to ruin the story for any potential players of the game, so I’ll keep it brief. You are the son of a traitorous mage. Though you’ve always been loyal to the Queen, it becomes clear that other resent you because of your father. This really is a fun dynamic to play through as different characters react and talk to you differently because of this. The story and lore are quite epic. There were a lot of ‘WOW’ moments for me as well as some decent twists placed throughout that kept me wanting to get deeper into the lore and search everywhere to keep adding pieces to the puzzle.
Instant replay value is most definitely there. I couldn’t wait to play again and see where the story took me. After the story is complete there is a multiplayer part of SpellForce III. This definitely focuses more on the RTS aspect, unfortunately, there weren’t too many people playing but with the addition of Steam Workshop, I can see this taking off a bit more. You can create your character differently, and use different classes, and respond differently to conversations but the story (that already takes about 30/40 hours) may not change much to you.
SpellForce III was fun to me. The mix between RPG and RTS splashed with some good storytelling, and great voice acting created a fun experience that I recommend fans of either genre to definitely check this out.
Note: GameOctane Editor Jason Germino received a code for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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+ RTS and RPG gameplay is quite fun
+ Great detail in graphics and voice-overs
+ Story and lore is deep and satisfying
- Replayability after completing the story may be lacking for some gamers
- Transversing screens will always queue a loading screen
- Some backtracking may turn some gamers away