Preview: Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes

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Fallen Enchantress released last fall a midst fierce competitors and seemed to make less of a splash than it should.  Only a few months later, we are staring down the release of a new entry, Fallen Enchantress : Legendary Heroes, full of new features and new content.  Have you been a fan and looking forward to the release, or are you one of the few that skipped it over?  Well, thankfully we’ve been lucky enough to have Beta access, so whichever side you represent, we’d like to bring you up to speed!

 

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Elemental, My Dear Watson

Before we dive into the fantastical goodies that we found in the Legenday Heroes Beta, I’d like to look back at where Fallen Enchantress came from.  Back in 2010 Stardock released Elemental : War of Magic in a manner that somewhat mirrored the recent SimCity release.  Rather than having always-online DRM features to blame for the buggy release, War of Magic just had a few too many launch bugs and balancing issues in it’s final release.  Heralded to be the spiritual successor to Masters of Magic, the game didn’t live up to expectations but came under fire for numerous combat bugs and accusations of vision without execution.  Very similar to the recent SimCity release, gamers were definitely less than understanding in their reception of War of Magic.  Sadly, this resulted in quite the controversy for Stardock, and even led to numerous layoffs.  The silver lining was that with two years of development, Fallen Enchantress was birthed on 10/23/2012, to warm receptions.  The game was set in the Elemental universe and featured the same ‘fanstasy 4X’ gameplay, similar to other games like Warlords and Heroes of Might and Magic.  With a reception that averaged a 4/5 score and easily being one of the top strategy games of 2012, an expansion would be expected, but a huge overhaul?  Why take something great and restructure it?  You won’t have to wait long to see for yourself because next month, we will get our hands on the expansion for Fallen Enchantress, titled Legendary Heroes.

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It’s All About The Heores

Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes is an expansion for Fallen Enchantress but it contains all of the content of the original game.  If this is confusing, I will cover all of the purchasing FAQs at the end of the article, to make this clearer.  The short and sweet version is that if you do NOT own any of the previous titles, this is the only game you would need to purchase to access all the content for $39.99. The game does use Steamworks, so you will get a Steam key regardless of where or how you purchase the game.  Where to begin on the many, many changes Legendary Heroes brings?  For one, the heroes have seen a massive overhaul and are now getting skill trees as opposed to random trait unlocks.  Those skill trees add a whole new level of RPG elements allowing you to tailor your characters to your playstyle, rather than be rewarded with random traits you may not desire or use.  If that weren’t enough, the magic system is seeing many new spells and abilities added, for both combat and overworld spells.  In addition, you will no longer find new heroes randomly, but rather gain them as your champions earn fame.  It seems most of the gameplay is now tailored more to your use and customization of the champions you have under your wing.

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Shiny Precious!

For those of us, like Smeagle, that seem to like the shinies, Stardock has overhauled the graphics engine and look of the game.  The visuals are sharp and impressive, but the aesthetic redesign of Fallen Enchantress didn’t stop there.  Maps have been made bigger to alow for more exploration and more territories to war and conquer.  Also, there have been many new monsters and enemies added.  The UI has been tweaked to be more clean and easier to grasp, it just seems Stardock has swept over an already successful game and done everything they can to make it better.  I’ve been reading some of the developer comments and notes on the forums and it’s impressive how they’ve tweaked the gameplay to suit the players based on feedback already.  Being a player who tends to get lost in the complexities, I noticed how Stardock discussed weapon abilities in terms of axes vs spears.  Spears would do more piercing damage and axes would deal more cutting damage.  Stardock noticed players really never grasped this feature, so they removed it, and then gave specific weapons bonuses instead, so you’ll find a spear that may do bonus impale damage, but that is specific to that item, not that class of weapon.  This is just example of the many intuitive improvements to the game.

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Raising An Empire

At the game’s onset you pick one of ten champions to lead the charge and build your empire.  Each, of course, with different abilities, attributes and strengths.  Also, each will tailor your capital city as to what builds you can make and armies you can raise.  Finding a suitable place to settle, dependent upon available/desired resources, you plant your flag and the game is afoot!  Your champion takes his armies and can be used to scout and complete quests, earning fame, drawing champions to your cause and meeting other factions.  On the homefront, you’ll be tasked with researching useful areas of magic, combat and town growth to have at your disposal.  Nearby resources may require an outpost to control and build upon, so expansion is not instantaneous, but carefully calculated, like most of the moves you will make in Fallen Enchantress.  If you are the type that likes to tank and rush headlong into challenges, you may want to rethink that strategy in the realm of Elemental!  There is quite a bit to absorb, in both combat an in your management of your towns and growth.  The real allure is how Fallen Enchantress provides this complexity and balances it with accessibility.  The menus are very intuitive and it’s not a game that you won’t need experience to master, you just wan’t need a translator either.  We’ll gladly go into more detail when our review is posted, suffice to say there is a huge amount of content for strategy gamers to love in Fallen Enchantress: Legenday Heroes.  If any of this has intrigued you, we’d encourage you to check them out at either their homepage or the Steam page!

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One Game To Rule Them All

I had just wanted to briefly provide some information about the cost of the game and the breakdown of content, because there are some points to be highlighted.

    • If you bought Elemental: War of Magic before November of 2010, you will already get a free Steam code for the game!
    • If you don’t fit into the above category, but you did already purchase Fallen Enchantress last Fall, you can upgrade to gain all of the new content in Legendary Heroes for only $19.99
    • As mentioned earlier, if you are new to the franchise as a whole, one purchase price of $39.99 will get you Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes, and that will contain ALL of the previous content from last Fall’s release and the new expansion content

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