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.
Not 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!’.
Elven 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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