Posted: November 28
When I first saw what Stardock wanted to do with Fallen Enchantress, I became excited. All those video diaries about the lore of the world, the customization options, and the options for what you could do made me very excited for the game! Then I paid $40 for a complete mess of a game that, aside from being buggy, was very much a half ♥♥♥♥♥ project that did not live up to my expectations. I gave up on that, but then I heard of the "expansion" to a bad game with a great concept: Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes! Although it looked like the exact same game for the exact same price, it couldn't be completely the same, right? They probably had to change EVERYTHING to fix it, essentially creating a new game, right? Nope. As far as I'm aware, there is no difference except for maybe a new faction and maybe a new map. As such, here are the reasons why not to give Stardock any more money ever.
1). Tedious city building.
To me, this game looked very much like a customizable game of Civilization that, considering the modders of the popular Fall from Heaven mod for Civ IV were working on this, I expected it to play like Civilization. However, although some aspects of city building are similar to the Civ series, it falls considerably short of it. Settling of cities can only be on certain places, and those places start with a predetermined Food, Production, and Mana. Once you place your city, there is no way to work the surrounding land to enhance them. Instead, you gain more "resources" by building outposts next to resources (iron, crystal, and mana) and then build upgrades on those resources. Your cities do not take part in this process, instead being used solely for unit production. Although you can build buildings to "improve" your cities, they never really seem to improve them that much. The game decided to follow "a lot of a little is a lot" making city progression a very long and tedious task that does not factor in units or later buildings, meaning they take FOREVER to build.
2). Pointless Unit customization.
In the game, you start off with a hero and a settler. You can explore and complete quests with your hero, and found a city with your settlers. Once your city is founded, you are allowed to customize units much like you can customize your hero. At first this sounds really cool; the possibilities are seemingly endless with the amount of equipment you can give your troops to improve them. But then you realize that equiping a troop with horses doesn't make them cavalry, or that equiping them with spears doesn't make them spearmen. Instead, the game simplifies combat to three basic unit types: Ranged, melee, magic. As you can guess, each type dictates how each unit attacks, either from range with a bow or magic, or up close with a variety of melee weapons. Although each weapon has a unique "attribute" that gives them additional functionality, these attributes hardly matter during battle. The only thing that matters is how hard each weapon hits, which leads me to my next point.
3). Simplistic, boring, unbalanced combat.
The game was trying to go for a hybrid between TurnBasedStrategy and TurnBasedTactics. In this case, combat takes place on a relatively small grid (reminiscent of chess) with environmental textures that add nothing to said grid. Both teams start on opposite sides of the grid and must kill each other. This is typically how combat works in TurnBasedStrategies(like Tactics Ogre or FFTactics), however, it is not handled well. The only variety of the combat grid involves the textures, so every battle will essentially play out the same way. Mix that with units that have no range limits, and early battles become a slogfest that is determined by how many ranged units you have/can kill quickly. The most complex tactic is which unit to focus fire on. There is no positioning/elevation advantage, useful abilities, unit variety advantage, or change in AI behavior. The AI have a suicidal mentality, and why wouldn't they? It doesn't matter if they die while targetting a single unit, they are only there to be a pawn in the great battle of attrition. If this sounds like the game is challenging, don't fall for it. This only affects early game, late game is a cake walk due to how OP troops become. Troops, unlike heroes, can be upgraded in SIZE, meaning that more soldiers will be in that troop. This increases the health and damage of the troop unit with each additional member. This means that troops will EASILY out perform any amount of heroes at any level with any equipment. These essentially godly units can only be countered by other godly units, which are...never made. Once you reach the max level of equipment, its smooth sailing.
4). All around lack of variety.
Overall, there is very little variety in gameplay. All the possibilities of the game are quickly exhausted after a few hours. The only victory condition I am aware of is conquest, making the game easily beaten and done with. There is no point to unit variety, so unless you want to create a challenge for yourself, there is no reason to change it up. With no random map generation, Stardock has resorted to selling map pack DLC for maps that add no actual variety or unique experiences to the game. Aside from singleplayer random game, there is a "story/campaign" that apparently tells a lore driven story of...something. I have played the campaign and found it very similar to a random game with extra random scenarios. It is apparent that the developers wanted the antagonist faction to be an overwhelming superpower that the player had no chance of standing up against, but I felt no sense of ugency to complete the story objectives. The final objective is for you to bring your hero into a portal and fight demons as a final resort to stop the "invasion"(or something), but I found myself conquering their unneccessarily large quanitity of cities with ease(once again, late game cakewalk). However, stepping into the portal is a completely different story. Apparently your hero forgots to bring his army, because its him against max level demons. As you would expect, he gets easily slaughtered. This HUGE difficulty spike is artificial and unfair, as there is no way of preparing for it. Apparently the only way to win is to use magic the scenario GIVES YOU, meaning there is no way to prepare or create a solution.
In conclusion, if you like the premise of a customizable TBS/T game that is probably easily modded(?), then this game is right up your alley. It is VERY rough and definitely needs a modder's touch, but the core concepts are there and, in the end, that's all you can hope for...*cries*