|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Phenomic||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 25, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-12||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
BattleForge's pseudo-campaign unfolds by completing missions on the central map hub. There are many traditional solo-missions to plow through alongside map encounters that are designed for multiple players to dive into cooperatively. New maps unlock as you progress. Aside from the main game itself, a number of other important features can be accessed via the hub.
Social networking elements like in-game e-mail, chat, and trading auctions let you interact with other players who are logged in. This is great for locating folks to duel against in PvP maps or to play alongside in the campaign. You also sort through your cards and spend time creating various decks. Testing them out is easily done in the BattleForge itself - an arena area that lets you summon a few foes and test out your own creatures and spells against them without worrying about missions or power.
Because BattleForge is an online game, there are some problems with the RTS formula that occasionally arise. Namely, you can't save progress on a particular map once you've begun, so if your connection times out in mid-battle or you find yourself on the verge of losing after a lengthy play session, you're pretty much stuck going back to the hub and starting that mission over. During busy battles with lots of creatures on the screen, the framerate also tends to lag - even on a high-powered PC. This seemed to happen mainly during certain times of day and on weekends when player traffic is likely very high.
EA Phenomic has successfully pulled off a surprisingly natural convergence of two very different types of gameplay. The combination is wickedly addictive. BattleForge isn't entirely a flawless victory, but it looks good, plays great, and gives card hoarders something new to obsess over.
CCC Staff Contributor