|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Stardock||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Stardock||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: TBA||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
February 2, 2009 - Be patient, my pretty. Soon you will be able to command the most astonishing and mysterious powers as you rule your mighty kingdom. The powers of magic that will be bestowed upon you have been used for ages. Soon it will be your turn, but there will be others that will threaten you with equally great powers. Be prepared for a war, a great magic war.
Once these powers have been bequeathed unto thee, they must be defended. You will in turn bequeath some powers to your underlings, as you will certainly need their assistance to drive back the great evils you will face. But, I implore you to bide your time, for Elemental: The War of Magic, it will arrive in due time.
Elemental: The War of Magic is a 4x4, turn-based strategy game the features both single-player and multiplayer modes. The gameplay was inspired by 1995's Master of Magic. In fact, the developer's original concept was to create a sequel to the game without all of the bugs that made it largely unpopular with weekend warriors. Seeing the potential in such a game in today's market, developer Stardock are refining and defining the gameplay as you read this. It won't be released at least until February of 2010. That may seem like a long wait, but it will ensure that the developers can give the game the attention it deserves.
A century after the great magic war in which destruction leveled much of the world, mysterious artifacts known as shards were scattered throughout the kingdom. These shards contain powers that allow the collector to channel magical energy. As the ruler of the kingdom, your responsibilities are to build and maintain your empire. There are also times when you will have to defend it from attack and invasion. These shards will help you attain your goals as you collect them and cultivate their powers.
Building cities, exploring dungeons, collecting shards, casting magic spells, and entering into battle with the enemy is just another day at the office when you rule your kingdom in Elemental: War of Magic. As the "channeler," you will have great powers and, of course, great responsibilities. You will have armies at your command with leaders to whom you can grant special magical powers. In the game, magic acts as a form of currency. You will need it to make your armies more powerful, and you'll also need it to make the land suitable for construction and habitation. The more magic you can dispense, the more land you will be able to amass to ultimately win the game. However, magic is not unlimited, and you can literally spread yourself too thin. You have to use the right amount of magic in the right places. This is where strategy plays an important role.
Magic is divided into five main elementals: fire, water, earth, air, and life. Players can choose their affiliation with either good or evil, although those distinctions are purely arbitrary from your perspective. The Life elemental is fundamental in preparing the land for habitation and thus the support of life. Using the Life elemental will see you as more of a benevolent healer. Fire on the other hand allows you to build an aggressive army, one that is prepared to take territory by force.
The terrain will play an important role in the gameplay. Some factions will heal the land, while others will leave a wake of destruction in their path. Landmarks such as mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers, channels, forests, and flatland can be used for strategic military purposes. Cities can prosper and grow in fertile sections. Fortresses, strongholds, and lookouts can be placed at key locations such as mountaintops or narrow passages where the enemy will be forced to pass through.
Artistically, the game is stunning. The landscapes are fantastically epic, appearing like surreal dreamscapes created in the mind of a master artist.
As most PC gamers know, the unparralled depth of such games sometimes means that there are ghosts in the machine. Most hardcore fans are willing to put up with some of these bugs, but the beauty of online play is that patches will be made readily available to address any of these issues. The developers of Elemental are not only trying to ensure virtual perfection right out of the gate, but they are accommodating modding from enthusiastic fans. That means the online gaming community will be able to evolve the gameplay by adding more content and refining concepts. This will ensure that every game you play will be different. That's magic!
CCC Senior Writer