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Elven Legacy

10:3807/04/2009Posted by D+PAD Staff9 Comments

The humble turn-based strategy tends to be a bit of a niche genre these days. Maybe people just don’t have the patience for the structure, or maybe real-time strategy just outshines most turn-based games. There are only a few solid franchises representing the TBS in popular gaming, with the rest relegated to small cult fanbases. One may wonder why, but the answer is fairly obvious; the majority of turn-based strategy games are impenetrable, unforgiving beasts.

elvenaNot so in the case of Elven Legacy, at least according to developer Max Bodrikov, who told IGN that “we wanted to make a war game not only for hardcore players, but for all strategy fans, even younger players … We want you to be able to start playing without having to read the manual”. Good news for this reviewer then, who despite being a strategy fan tends to struggle with the more intense, difficult strategy games. Hard difficulties on Civ IV, latter stages on the Total War series and most RTSs, they all pose a challenge. Elven Legacy then, straight from the mouth of 1C:Ino-Co, should be ideal. Were this the truth, then the following would be a regular review. Alas, someone’s been telling porkies…

Elven Legacy starts off simple enough. One would be forgiven for thinking that yes, this game is fairly simple to get to grips with. In fact this writer said as much in February after playing a preview build of the game. The garish colours, chunky characters and clean interface are all incredibly welcoming despite the nonsensical opening cutscene and mission brief which references events that have seemingly no link to the rest of the story. The yarn being spun is somewhat familiar; elves like magic, humans want magic, zombies shamble and eat brains, orcs lumber menacingly, and somewhere below ground a wizard probably bellows ‘You shall not pass!’.

elven1Elven Legacy flaunts its influences unabashedly, luring the player in with promises of the geekiest kinds of comfort. “You won’t be left out in the cold here,” the story says. “Look at me! I’m colourful, cheerful, and eerily similar to certain other fantasy franchises. Embrace me!” And you do. You let your guard down, and then just as you’re getting into the swing of things, the game skewers you in the ear with a rusty Mithril Pike of Deception.

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  • Alan said:

    It’s brave of them to go turn based in the RTS dominated world of strategy gaming. Good move, and kudos on the attempt; even if it is a wee bit wishy washy.

  • Bob said:

    This game sounds like a challenge – just what I’m looking for! I must admit that I’m a hardcore TBS player. And your review just sold a game. It’s no fun to zip through a game without a few set backs. You learn from previous play and move forward with a new strategy on the next attempt. You didn’t mention that if you can save after each level, which is what I would do to help avoid starting from scratch. But sometimes, starting over is the only option to be ready for a level five. Thanks for the review and I look forward to playing Eleven Legacy very soon.

  • Ashton Raze said:

    Bob: Glad the review hasn’t put you off. I think a TBS veteran will probably love it. The problem was, as a TBS n00b, I didn’t really appreciate how to micromanage my army in the opening stages, so by the time I’d reached the trickier levels I didn’t have anywhere near enough men or gold to be able to progress. If I’d reloaded an old save I’d have been reloading one from pretty early on anyway, so restarting would’ve been simpler.
    This is one of those cases where I really hope people read the review text before looking at the score I’ve given, because it’s only worth 5/10 in the context I’ve reviewed it. The game was flawed for me as a beginner, but does that make it a bad game? Only if you’re a beginner.
    I’d certainly like to revisit Elven Legacy one day, maybe after having played some more accessible TBSes, to see how I get on with it then.

  • HellCold said:

    Just read your review now, and I have to admit you’re right about a lot of things. The game is indeed difficult for unsuspecting beginners. While I’m not a beginner, I definitely don’t consider myself a TBS veteran either, but anyway I’ve finished the game, bonus missions and all, with a gold rating and without losing or recruiting one Elf unit (main missions only, always lost most of my troops on bonus ones) all the way on easy difficulty.

    Before I got this game, I’d already played the first part, “Fantasy Wars”. While I couldn’t really finish it (stuck myself like you did, no army or money), I liked the concept and decided to try Elven Legacy, hoping it would be better. And it was. Much better, simpler, and–imagine this–easier!

    So I think it’s not a bad game if you knew what to expect. There’s not one impossible situation in all the missions which you can’t overcome with some tactical flexibility or reloading.

    For those looking for a challenging war TBS, and don’t mind its lack of story or sense, it’s a nice game to try–if not always very nice. For beginners, run!

  • Ashton Raze said:

    HellCold: All Gold ratings? I think you do yourself a disservice when you say you’re not a TBS veteran. ;) Some of the Gold criteria was insanely hard I thought… finish a massive mission in ten turns? Did you go back and replay them to get those ratings? I agree with the rest of your post too, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it a lot more once I go back to it and restart the game, knowing how to tackle it.

  • Dennydore said:

    I believe the mission you are talking about is the one where the Hexer must open the gate but must wait for 3 turns to do so. During that time you must fend off the onslaught of orcs from 3 different locations.

    The key to this game is making sure you capture as many cities as you can and not losing too many of your units. Early game play sets up the later game play.

    I had to replay this mission several times before I figured out how to win it.

    Take it slow. Clear the initial areas without using any magic. You need to keep all area spells for the onslaught at the end. Also make sure you re-heal or re-hire your units before going into the next area. This is done by returning your units to a city you are in control of and using the Recruite button. This will return your unit too maximum. During battle if you rest you only replenish those who are wounded.

    When I got to the gate I set up my units so all my melee units were protecting the heroes, hexer and my ranged units. My last step was to bring in Hexer to the spot to initiate the bringing down of the wall. This is what triggers the release of units from the three orc cities.

    From this point forward concentrate on using area spells to do damage to as many orcs as you can. Use the healing spell to replenish your units before they are killed.

    Doing this I was able to win without losing any units.

    Hope this helps.

  • lol said:

    The first mission Orcs show up is “remnants of the horde” which is the 4th story mission. Being a classic SRPG, your party status plays an important role in how easy or difficult the game becomes. If you start off on the wrong foot and choose poor skills, let units die, and miss good artifacts, you will find the game become progressively harder until it’s more or less impossible to get a Gold rating on Hard. On the other hand, if you do the opposite and kick lots of ass, the game will become easier for you.

    Anyway, AOEs and magic in general is overpowered because it has infinite range and does a ton of damage.

    Getting gold on every Hard mission is certainly possible if you play smart.

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