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SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars

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Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars is a combination Real-time strategy and RPG game created by German game developers Phenomic as a sequel to their 2003 release Spellforce: The Order of Dawn and its two expansions (Spellforce: The Breath of Winter and Spellforce: Shadow of the Phoenix). Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars has been followed by the expansion Spellforce 2: Dragon Storm.

JoWood Productions announced a second expansion - Spellforce 2: Faith in Destiny in May 2009.

Gameplay

The Spellforce game series has been one of the few attempts to fuse role-playing game (RPG) and real-time strategy (RTS) elements. Other games that have attempted to integrate the two genres include Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard and Warcraft 3.

The RPG aspects of Spellforce 2 parallel games such as Diablo, Diablo II, and Sacred for both character development and skill trees, equipment customization, and top-down isometric viewing. However the capacity to control multiple heroes often makes the gameplay similar to that found in the Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter Nights PC games.

The RTS aspects of Spellforce 2 mirror the Warcraft fantasy RTS games. This includes the ability to control several separate factions such as "the Realm" (humans/elves/dwarves), "the Pact" (dark elves/gargoyles/shadows) and "the Clans" (orcs/trolls/barbarians). Each faction has its own individual troop and building types.

Spellforce 2 has several gaming modes, including Campaign play (which is expositional), Skirmish mode (which almost purely RTS), and Free Play (similar to Campaign play, but without an overarching plot). It can also be played co-operatively or competitively in multiplayer mode.

Only Campaign play allows the user to save the game.

Tactics

The tactics for Spellforce are common to those used to successfully complete other RPG and RTS games.

RPG character development requires a player to obtain experience as well as high-quality armour and weapons. In campaign play these rewards are maximized by completing "optional" side-quests.

RTS sections usually involve building a camp, most often defended by RPG characters in its infancy. Then it typically involves marshalling the maximum number of troops to a point of conflict. While army composition does matter, unit micromanagement does not appear to be a major factor in RTS success.

Game statistics

You can control up to 6 characters including your avatar and will also have the opportunity to be accompanied by one or more NPCs. Your main character, or avatar, can get to level 30, while your party members can only get to level 24.

Plot

The main character controlled by the player is a Shaikan, or a character who has the blood of the dragon Ur. This dragon blood allows resurrection of oneself and followers, as well as the ability to summon followers instantly to one's side.

As the avatar returns back to the Shaikan fortress, he finds that small groups of dark elves have already started attacking. In a desperate attempt to save those caught off guard the Shaikan enlists the help of the humans at a nearby outpost. After buying his/her people a chance to retreat, the Shaikan's patron Ur sends the avatar off to warn and unite the forces of light, the humans, dwarves and elves to battle the with the help of a dark elf heroine, Nightsong.

Reception

Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars was well received by both critics and players. According to the metacritic website, it obtained a score of 80% from critics and 7.2/10 from players, as of July 23rd, 2008.[1]

Many of the criticisms of the original Spellforce (e.g. poor integration of RPG and RTS aspects, a confusing interface, and an overly cumbersome RTS system) were improved upon in the sequel.

While many reviewers indicate that Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars is one of the best hybrid games to date, most acknowledge that it presents little innovation for either of its RPG or RTS genres.

To quote Pro-G: "RTS and RPG, mesh together brilliantly, if you take either of those elements in isolation, they're perhaps a little on the lightweight side." [2]

The Russian and EU versions of Spellforce 2 are protected by StarForce copy protection system. [3] The NA version is protected by TAGES.

Online Play

While the game originally featured a central online matchmaking service, this service shut down in 2009. Originally, the developers announced that a new contract for resuming matchmaking would take effect around July 2009 [4], however as of February 2010 the online matchmaking is still unavailable. Multiplayer is still possible via LAN or by using a service such as Hamachi.

References

External links

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