|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 1C: Ino-Co||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Paradox Int.||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 7, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: Multiplayer||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Though units can be purchased and upgraded in-between missions, troops are persistent from battle to battle at least until they're slain (in which case they're gone for good). Your armies will be gradually populated with swordsmen, archers, mounted troops, siege weapons, flying creatures, and other types of units. Heroes and regular troops all gain experience, level up, and are granted special perk abilities. While this is great, it's easy to become attached to units once they've gained slick powers and fighting prowess. You'll quickly find yourself spewing curses and reloading from auto saves when key units perish in battle. Completing maps within a set amount of turns gives you a gold, silver, or bronze victory rating and dishes out cash for you to expand your forces, respectively. Conversely, taking too long or losing too many troops can be catastrophic, since gold is somewhat scarce.
Elven Legacy features brightly colored maps filled with varying terrain types and interesting units. That said, it looks very similar to its predecessor. Zooming in closely shows your armies swarming with numerous troops, while panning back makes each army represented by a single unit avatar. In either case, your forces are nicely animated. At a distance they have a lot of detail, yet they're not as good-looking close up. Most of the cinematics and cutscenes are done with the in-game engine zoomed-in at maximum. Needless to say, they're not so hot. The English translation voiceovers are equally deficient. An early preview build of the game featured German dialogue, yet the voice work was quite fitting in tone and cadence to the text. Here, the English voice acting is poorly done and hampers the story interactions as a result.
Turn-based strategy fans will enjoy digging into the game's dual campaigns, playing around with individual standalone scenarios, and strategizing in hotseat or online multiplayer matches. The streamlined gameplay lets vets focus on battle strategies and clearing maps with the best possible ratings, while less experienced players can wade through the game without being terribly bogged down by having to micromanage lots of minutia. Elven Legacy is by no means an amazing game, but it's a strong follow-up to Fantasy Wars and not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon.
CCC Staff Contributor