Spellforce has over a 20-year history of games ahead of this latest iteration Conquest of EO. Developed by Owned by Gravity and published by THQ Nordic SpellForce: Conquest of Eo takes you on a path to become the most powerful mage in the world of EO. A special blend of tactical battles which lead your armies into ever-changing turn-based strategy RPG style combat. SpellForce: Conquest of EO combines unique elements from 4x strategy titles, RPGs, and turn-based tactical combat games alongside a plethora of procedurally generated adventures priced at $29.99.
This is my first playthrough of a Spellforce title, but I am a huge fan of Total War: Warhammer 3, Diablo, Warcraft 3, and other parallel similar games. What initially caught my eye was the Necromancer trailer they dropped just before release. Aesthetically the game looked great in the trailer and the narration was on point it gravitated me toward it. I was disappointed to find out that the production from the video didn’t carry over to the game. I was looking forward to at least a mythical voice guiding me throughout my journey in EO but to no avail. There was no epic cinematics or mystical vocal companions to accompany me through the narrative.
On the flip side, I was very impressed by the music and ambiance. The sound kit really brought the map to life in a way that kept me engaged enough to keep pushing through. The map felt alive with trouble to get into everywhere you turn. Procedural generation is the key factor in keeping the game so busy but also adds to its replayability. No campaign is ever the same and the main opponents are always randomly generated with their own game plans. These systems give it so much potential to be a multiplayer game if they were to go in that direction.
As a new player, I did have some trouble beginning my carrier as a circle mage. I found some systems a bit confusing without proper early-game tutorials. They do have an extensive written tutorial system, but I think they should have added videos to help as well. There is also no search feature to help you find what you are looking for on the fly either. I personally like a lot of people out there am a visual hands-on type of learner. The in-game tutorial is very minimal and covers a brief overview of combat at the beginning. I think this also should be expanded more with either a vocal or tooltip type of in-game tutorial mode you can toggle on or off. If you are new to this series or in the worst-case scenario this genre, you might be in for a steep learning curve.
Combat was an absolute blast! I would love to see a multiplayer mode where you can just run skirmishes and battles against other players. Combat is definitely the high point of this game and it is very addicting. Multiple layers of strategy include different spell schools, unit itemization, spell upgrades, crafting, and of course hero/apprentice units. A wide variety of enemy units make each battle feel fresh and unique. All taking place in procedurally generated instances that feature hex grid turn-based movements. I feel like this is just the right amount of technicality to keep it more fun than a number-crunching simulator.
On a wider scale, you have elements of 4X strategy games. Choose your outside faction reputation carefully to make sure your territory is secure. I am not a huge fan of the need to post units manually on resource nodes to gather. Spellforce: Conquest of EO also lacks a passive system for attaining crafting resources either which seems a bit off. The progression system does keep you engaged because there is so much to do on every turn. You are always looking forward to the next best spell alongside learning new recipes to craft to make you stronger. You don’t have many stale turns due to the map being so busy, there is always an adventure to go on.
I really enjoyed this genre mash between a turn-based RPG and 4X. The pace of the game offers constant action to keep you on your toes. 3 different base playstyles and a custom mode in combination with 5 difficulties allow you to play the game how you want to play it. The combat system is too much fun to not want to buy this game at the friendly price of $29.99. I am going to keep this installed and play through a few different modes for sure!