(This turned out to be rather long. Skip to the conclusion if short on time. Thank you!)
I got the original WMotA game for free during some give away I can't remember. Then one day I looked up and the game was upgraded to the "complete" version for free too. Mind you, I still hadn't even played the game. I looked up some reviews and got a lot of mixed signals about it being good or not so good. The only constant was that it was a "Civ 5" clone. And since I'm a HUGE Civ IV, V & BE fan, I didn't see a point in playing a knock off.
To the point of this review, I made a point of playing this game over the holidays. I didn't want to write a review of it until I played it at least 25 hours and gave it every chance under the sun to impress me. In conclusion, my verdict is...this is an outstanding game!
The first thing I want to say is, this is not some Civ 5 clone. And people saying that have no idea what they're talking about. Just because it has a hex-based tile map seems to give WMotA some stigma of being "like" or "a clone" of Civ5. There are tons of games out with the same system, so that characteristic is more than unfounded to say this game is "like" Civ 5.
In Warlock, you will master economics, amass a versitile army, strategize, and FIGHT! Furthermore, unlike Civ 5, you will not have a DULL moment before pushing the "end turn" button. That's what I hate about all Civ games. You will get to a point where entertainment turns to a chore...and there's nothing you can do about it.
And unlike Civ games, each turn in WMotA matters! You not only get to pick what building you want to build for what city, but where to place them in your region. That's part of the fun in the city-building aspect. Each tile may give a specific bonus and it's worth checking out what gets placed where. It's worth checking out if you have a resource in your region you can exploit. In Civ games, you just worry about the percentages despite its land resources. In WMotA, you can research spells to change the dynamics of the tile...which in essence, changes the percentages or bonuses of that tile. And there are a ton of spells to do a ton of different things. Too many in fact to go into. But volcano spells and removing swamps to make fertile terrain is pretty epic in this game. You'll see when YOU play.
But what I like most about WMotA is its variety. Look folks, you will never amass the amount of different units you can...collect...in this game and even remotely compare it to Civ 5. I mean (laughing histerically) this is supposed to be a fantasy game, right? But you got armored soldiers from a Civ game; you've got fantasy units from an Age of Wonders game; you've got undead units from a Lords of the Ring game; you've got blood sucking units from a Van Helsing game; you've got badass bears of all types from every game...I mean...LOL...it's ridiculous. And here's the kicker: No land-based melee unit can attack a flying range unit. So you won't see a knight on a horse killing a blackhawk helicopter like you WILL see in a Civ game! In WMotA, these units serve purposes true to logical gameplay. Not just some random point system statistical outcome.
And then there are the portals that send you to other worlds. Where the hell is that in a Civ 5 game? In Civ 5 you play on 1 map; O-N-E! WMotA has the main map, and then there are portals that can send you to as many other maps as you request in the game setup. Listen folks, I selected the XL map (the largest) with six alternate worlds (the most) against eight other mages (the highest) on the difficult setting (the default). It was a mad house... A MAD HOUSE! I had no idea I had to fight monsters and rouge civilizations along WITH the others mages in the game. Everybody was fighting everybody. It was insane! It was wonderful!!
In fact, the only, and I do mean only, downside to the game was its diplomacy aspect. It truly sucks. I can't even begin to lie about that; especially when compared with Civ games. I guarantee (unless you're a lousy player) that any "demand" from the enemy AI given to you will result in WAR. You're not even going to consider the ridiculous stuff this game offers you to keep from going to war. The other stuff though is plausable and makes the game fly by unscathed.
But back to the portals, man. They occasionally send up these strong monster units, and if you aren't ready for them, they will wreck havoc. Then there are the quest (again, nothing like Civ 5) that sometimes make you defeat enemies you've never even heard of, man. Like the time the game dropped this pissed off supernatural ghost smack down on my settlement without a hero in sight. That green ghost...man...he laid a smack down on my candy-♥♥♥ like The Rock. I finally got my hero chick over there to battle it. They fought for five turns until she finally overcame him and I won the quest. Got some sweet rewards too. Yet, that was only a SMIDGEN of what was going on with my other endeavours during those turns.
So I got pretty confident in my efforts and decided to send my tanked-out Hero Knight into one of these portals. When the map switched over...LOL...I was SURROUNDED by doubled-headed dragons, Fire Elementals, and other high-powered monsters I can't even name. I could not believe what quick work they made of my Rambo-Lancelot. I was truly butt-hurt after that encounter. I called the game a cheater and hurled all sorts of foul insults at the monitor for hours before quitting for the night. Heck, I almost quit the game twice after that beatdown.
But guess what? The next day and several hours later, I researched a spell that would bring my hero back to life. Not only did I finally get him back, but he was still tanked-out. I love this game. The next time, I sent a few zomie units to another portal to check THAT world out. Of course it looked TOTALLY different. Nice diversity in the maps here! My zombies didn't last long either but the spolied sacks of meat had like 60 hit points apiece. They lasted longer than the Hero Knight did. P.S., did I tell you one of my zombies was walking around on fire...after getting blazed by that two-headed dragon?
BUGS: Believe it or not, there aren't many bugs in this game. In fact, I really searched and only found 1; and it isn't even that major. What happens is you sometimes get double event screens but you're only able to see the last event. So you can't close the first event or see it for that matter. You have to hit the escape key which takes you to the main menu. Select "resume" and you're back to your game and are able to close the last event screen. It's not as bad nor annoying as it sounds once you understand what's happening. It also doesn't happen that often. You can see what you missed at the top of the menu bar where the quests are kept.
I know this was long (much longer that I meant it to be) but I wanted to express my disagreement with some of the claims out there. This is no Civ 5 clone. It's a great turn-based/action/strategy/4x game that fixes a ton of stuff that Civ games and Endless Legend gets wrong. You can hire heroes and equip them with armor, weapons and artifacts much like Endless Legend & Fallen Enchantress - Legendary Heroes.
In conclusion, thank you for reading my review. This is my opinion showing no bias for nor against other reviews or reviewers but solely based on my gameplay experiences. In final, this game's sole similarity to Civ 5 is its hex-based tiles. With that in mind, I found WMotA to be a Civ 5/Endless Legend/Fallen Enchantress - Legendary Heroes chimera. And it would be WELL WORTH your time to experience it at least once for yourself. Thank you for your time. GO PLAY SOMETHING!