The mad scientists at Grimlore Games have stitched together an RTS and an RPG, the seams definitely show but overall they’ve made a fun little monster.
Developer: Grimlore Games
MonsterVine was supplied with an PC code for review
When I started playing Spellforce 3 my first thought was “Ah, I’ve wanted a game like this for ages”: heroes with abilities and cooldowns in real-time fights I can combo with each other. Kind of like a PvE MOBA, which is a description I’m sure is making certain die hard fans of the RPG genre froth at the mouth with rage. Games like Pillars of Eternity began to scratch this itch but ultimately too based around pausing the action to plan. While Divinity: Original Sin II already fulfils the turn-based squad strategy quota.
I was having extraordinary fun with my little gruffly voiced tank and ranger, figuring out their abilities and getting my terrible micro skills around to making them semi-competent fighters. After a very suspicious necromancer and a white mage joined the party I was hoping for some generic, but ultimately fulfilling dungeon raids or villager rescues or whatever 1st Act hero stuff was in store. However, the game took a very sharp left turn into actual Warcraft-esque RTS base building, unit production, the whole kit and caboodle.
I decided to hold off on jumping into that can of worms because I still had cool hero stuff to do and the workers seemed to be gathering grain, rocks and pocket lint for the glory of the nation. It was only until larger and larger groups of angry men arriving at the gates and putting to death of my good but woefully outnumbered army boys did I realise I had made a huge mistake. As it turns out, there was a whole civilization of angry jerk-offs collecting their own pocket lint with the sole purpose of wiping me off the face of the earth. Meanwhile I was faffing around trying to find magical keys with my group of plucky heroes who, while tenacious, cannot overcome a 50:1 ratio. Our encampment fell, everyone died.
It turns out that with correct expectations and preparations Spellforce 3 is a decently fun game. However it never really feels like one cohesive experience. There are definitely times where it flows together, when I gathered my nameless troops and my heroes into one hoard and rallied at the enemies. My tank would decimate the oncoming groups with huge cleaving attacks while the white mage would be shooting off AOE heals to support the fronts about to be overrun, etc.
The Final Word
Throughout most of my overall positive experience I felt like I was jumping from one genre into another and back again. It never felt greater than the sum of its parts. If you enjoy this style of RPG and RTS you’ll love this game, however if you’re only interested in one piece of the pie this isn’t the game to make you love the other half.
– MonsterVine Review Score: 3.5 out of 5 – Fair