Iíd like to tell you a story. It begins in a broken world, where men scrabble over hard earth for scraps of the past. Where magic can still be bent from the spaces between to fill the hearts and hands that wield it with fire or ice or death. Where demons and dragons and things roam, keeping to the wild places until you attract their eye. Where one comes from the shadows to raise an empire, to break mountains and forge men and carve a path across the world.
Iíd like to tell you this story. . . but I canít.
Iíd like to tell you this is the game of thrones at itís purest. . . but, really, there isnít nearly enough sex for that.
No, Fallen Enchantress is Sins of a Solar Empire spilling out of the stars into Frodoís backyard, and youíll find thatís not a bad thing. Though, like all acts of translation, there is some loss of fidelity.
Iím not going to engage in a point by point comparison of Fallen Enchantress to Sins or Civilization. Fallen is a game right in the sweet spot for strategy gamers, hitting all the required elements competently, if without flair. If youíve played any turn based strategy titles before you know where they are interesting and where they fall flat for you. If you like them, Fallen Enchantress will scratch that itch to click through one more season so you can build that last city improvement, so you can finish that last rival city off, so you can seal that last deal. If not, move along then, nothing to see here. There are unique elements to Fallen Enchantress, but nothing to shake up the genre.
First and foremost, you can build. . . well, pretty much everything. This is by far the most customizable strategy game that Iíve ever seen. You can create your own faction, your own heroes, effects, tiles, customize units, all the tools the developers used are at your disposal. They donít give you a manual, but you can monkey around with the interface for a bit and figure it out. About the only thing that you couldnít mess with were the base races for the game, but there are enough of those that you donít feel limited.
After youíve gotten tired of playing with the world tools, drop into the world and see how they measure up. While there are limits to the editors so you canít break the game too badly (there are point restrictions on character and empire creation), itís still satisfying to see your colors run rampant across your enemies. Speaking of which, crushing your enemies can be a little more involved here than you might be used to. Combat in Fallen Enchantress taps into the tactician in all of us. Instead of the typical mathematical auto-resolve that most strategy titles use, you can go to a tactical screen which will let you control each unit individually. Itís like Stardock took itís core strategy framework and decided to graft on Disgaea just to see if the resulting abomination could destroy more of your life (hint, it does).
For all these bells and whistles, and the solid core of Stardock backing things up. . . Iím just not interested. Graphically the game seems like itís a few years behind the curve and please, please for the love of my sanity (whatís left of it) could someone hire a writer or at least try to name things better? If it were any more obvious that the setting was just sitting a convenient skin over game mechanics they would have just called this Fantasy Strategy Title. I get that you canít really plot these spreadsheet empire games, but at least with the space ones they donít even make a pretense to it. Hey, youíre this empire, go out and conquer. Totally cool. But bring that down planet side and you get a world built by a 14 year old who just read DragonLance and thinks he can hammer a fantasy world together using plastic ears, Krazy glue and some glitter. Note the lack of a hammer there.
There is a scenario mode that you can play which is more story driven. . . but some of the quests were broken when I played, and honestly, I just wasnít interested in the plot presented. The characters seemed flat, I wasnít exactly sure what the point of everything was and the writing was. . . I wonít call it Twilight bad, but itís not too far from. Aside from a complete lack of setting involvement and a near zombie level of brainless clicking I do actually like the game. Thereís decent character leveling, equipment whoring and technology building to keep you involved well past your bedtime. . . though you might come to from that night of binge conquest and think of all the more productive things you could be doing with your time. Like leveling that Pandaren Monk. Or building the Death Star out of little blocks.
Overall, if youíre a junkie for these types of games Fallen Enchantress will more than satisfy that hit youíve been craving, and itís got just enough flavor to satisfy. If youíve never played a strategy titleÖeh, Iíd recommend Sins or Civ to whet your appetite first. Theyíre prettier, have fewer distractions and execute mechanics and difficulty just enough better.