I have played the Spellforce series from the beginning, and loved every installment. Until this one. The side quests are completely boring, mostly just "go back to the last area you cleared and find an item or two." The combat is easy but everything takes way too long to die. They probably expect you to skip the terrible side quests, so maybe I was stronger than I should have been.
The dialogue is terrible, and not because it's translated from German. The translation is fine. Every conversation just is way longer than it needs to be, packed with unneccessary dialogue, and delivered at a pace that would bore a sloth. I usually read the entire line of dialogue before they'd said two words of it, but with plot dialogues you can't skip lines, you can only skip the whole conversation. So you have to sit and listen to the sloooooowest talking dragons rehash plot points from previous games to which your character replies "I know. I was there" before they move on to new information. Or you can skip the whole thing and learn nothing. I feel like I'm being punished for caring about the lore. At least I get to look at close up shots of said dragons, which would look decent for a game from the early 2000's. To be fair to the dragons, though, the elves/humans/ghosts are just as bad.
The level design is terrible as well. In order, the levels are: a level from the last games, but ON FIRE! Then the laziest designed map in the history of games: a bunch of small islands that you teleport between so that they didn't have to try to create a flowing envronment. Then the most frustrating city ever, because it's very large and you move very slowly and the crappy fog of war doesn't update until you actually walk inside one of the dozens of buildings looking for the thing you need to move the plot along. Then a different level from the last game, again, but WITH DEMONS! That's where I stopped, due to it suddenly becoming unplayable.
Oh, yeah. It doesn't even work. The series has always been buggy, but it's never been unplayable for me before. Some examples of bugs: if a character is talking, and you go into a dialogue, your character starts what he was saying over. Which was really annoying during one puzzle in the second level where you have to use trial and error and keep initializing dialogue with some objects, and every time you fail they say the exact same lines. So Caine would start to talk, I'd interact with the item, he'd start over, I'd click the next item, he'd start over, etc etc etc. In the five minutes it took me to solve, I probably heard that first line about 100 times. Next, after completing a side quest involving 6 items, it didn't remove those items from my invenory. So I just put them on inventory page 10; not a big deal, but shoddy work. What finally broke the game for me was in the fourth level I had to go kill an NPC that was formerly neutral, and when it told me to go kill her it never set her to hostile. Reloaded my backup save and trudged through the tedious fghts and crappy dialogue and guess what: same bug. Unistalled.
So, I didn't finish the game. From what I played though, the "25+ hours of gameplay" would probably be about 5 in a game with better pacing. Slow movement, slow combat, slow dialogue. No new units added, poor map design, poor writing. I have been progressively more disappointed in each installment of Spellforce 2. I'm gonna reinstall the original Spellforce to cheer myself up.