Elven Legacy is a sequel to Fantasy Wars, a turn-based strategy title released a year ago. Elven Legacy carries on with a detailed story of the Elves that were featured in Fantasy Wars, with alternating missions of Humans and Elves. This, too, is a turn-based game, so get ready to kick back comfortably in your chair and don’t worry about being able to get up and warm your coffee, as you will have plenty of time to do so.
If choosing the Campaign mode, players will immediately begin the missions that will propel them through the game. This preview build doesn’t have a tutorial mode as such, but the first missions are basically tutorials that are easy to accomplish. Also, players can pick a difficulty level for each mission in the campaign.
Like any good turn-based strategy game, it’s all about planning each attack from each unit. Things to consider include the strength of the units on both sides (right-clicking on a unit brings up a detailed window of statistics) and the type of terrain square, each of which has differing attributes to impart to the occupying units. The ground is laid out in hexagons in a grid, the lines of which can be toggled on or off.
When moving the units, directional arrows will show the possible movements available for the units. Icons of weapons will show if the enemy unit can be attacked or not. A great option for unit deployment is the “undo” button, which will allow players to erase mistaken moves.
The interface is easy to use and understand from the beginning of gameplay. I’m compulsive about playing tutorials and reading the manual, but I easily managed without either in this preview build. The available units are displayed at the bottom of the menu, and other various game functions are displayed along the bottom and sides of the screen. The information is concise, yet informative.
The story involves the usual fantasy suspects of elves, orcs, humans, undead creatures, etc. A quirky addition is the use of flying ships, albeit drawn in Elvish style. I’ve not played a turn-based fantasy title with enemy units that stayed above the battlefield the entire time and I enjoyed this different type of unit. While this type of story has been around for eons, that’s ok. Fantasy fans like elves better than spaceships, anyway.
From time to time, the missions will offer story branches that will take the game in different directions. This was a nice addition, but there wasn’t a whole lot of information offered for each choice to help in deciding which road to take. The missions are also rated as to how fast they can be finished by counting turns. Completing a mission in a set number of turns will earn the player degreed badges. Higher badges grant better units for upgrades.
The look of the game is bright and vivid. The characters look a bit blocky, but are still attractive. The environments fair a bit better. The camera view can be zoomed in or out at will. One note about the characters, the designers drew the Elf women with minimal clothing and maximum cleavage. Amazingly, they wear protective coverings on their arms, but not on their more “delicate” parts. As always, I wonder about these aesthetic decisions which appear to be a cheap method of selling a game to the supposed demographic.
Elven Legacy reminded me a bit of Heroes of Might and Magic, with its turn-based moves for movement and battles, the fantasy figures, the artifacts and the look of the game. While not as complex or compelling, it is still a lot of fun and offers a good mental workout. Turn-based strategy games are my favorite type of strategy, as I enjoy intelligent games which allow you to turtle your way through as fast or as slowly as wanted. I look forward to the final release, even if the Elf chicks look like hoochy-mamas from American Idol tryouts.