I'm very mixed about my review, especially since this game is in early access level and in the middle of being worked on. I really REALLY want to like this game and my pros almost outweigh the cons but after careful consideration Ive come to the conclusion that overall unless they make some drastic changes to the game, I wouldnt in good conscience recommend it. Now its not a very expensive game, so maybe its still worth trying it out and finding out if you can ignore the major cons that pushed the scales out of balance for me. My review is purely informative, though I have to admit the game's frustration level outweighed my objectionable standing.
While this game looks much like Heroes of Might and Magic and Kings Bounty in how the combat system looks and overall map systems are designed and played, the combat you would expect and how static buildings are handled are very different. If you are looking for another version of M&M or Kings Bounty, This game is not it.
Combat takes place with single units instead of mass groups, and limitations on how many units you can have are based on how many castles you own. The castles only other benefit is that if you are attacked while in a castle, before your army is engaged the opposing unit gets wounded based on its level and defense. Siege equipment is not present at this time in this game at all.
So far from I have seen, you have a starting base of six units you can have (including your hero) and you get an additional unit per castle you own. For example, if you have one castle you can support one hero, two foot troops, two archers, a healer, and a priest. Im going to break down what the units are like in Pros (because I do like their versions) and other ideas the game excelled and is severely hampered by below.
Pros and Cons:
Makes great use of the German historical background and some of its mythos. It really tries to immerse you in that culture of the medieval dark periods in its campaign.
The art and music is by far enticing like few games out there and makes great effort to keep in the tradition of Germanic arms and equipment of the time period.
Equipment is very easy to understand in terms of bonuses they apply to your units.
The Tutorial slowly integrates you into the functions of the game rather well.
Units consist of Melee, Ranged, Healing, Buffing, and limited Magic classes that really well integrate into the historical setting.
Units promote into different options and provide interesting additions to your game, each unit can be customized with gear.
While combat is predominately a "Con" for me in this game (see below), it does make sense that the front line limits melee from engaging in the secondary and tirtiary line of defense. I sincerely wish games like King's Bounty and M&M had that limitation in their games as well.
The Journal is very useful though it could be better streamlined when giving you notes in "Additonal Information" on where to find quests..I stumbled around a lot trying to find some locations that are not immediately available unless you find yourself close to them.
Movement in combat is a happenstance; Melee units are directed by the computer towards specific targets. a Melee unit cannot move just anywhere on the hex board, they may delay their action to move them to the bottom of the turn line once, but hereafter MUST engage in units directed by the computer with no other alternatives. If they do not have skills that they can use instead (for example, if you have a peasant that would most likely die if he engages with another by himself) he must engage since he has no other skills to avoid that engagement. A unit's only other move instead of to engage into combat (outside of skills like parry, counter strike, as an example), is to retreat one or two spaces from an already engaged fight.
Healers, Mages, and Ranged Units cannot move except to retreat from a melee unit. They can only do their functions such as attack or heal, they are rooted to the spot otherwise. There's no moving to a better position in this game at all, and when suggested to the developers that this is a weakness to the game, they were steadfast that this would never change, as it would require a complete rework of the programming.
This may be a condition of the early access situation, so this one is not a severe con since it can be reworked or streamlined, but it should be mentioned. Sometimes healers will not have certain targets available to heal, regardless of how wounded the unit may be. Ive contacted the developers on the topic and I was assured the game is working properly and that most likely the unit was trying to buff the units instead of healing them since as healers are promoted they get multiple spell options. This was not the case but by the response I was pretty sure there was no point in discussing the matter anymore (especially after the pointless conversation to cover movement in combat).
The Market has a major limitation in that you cannot take something that your units are wearing and swap it out for something else. In order to upgrade, you must first buy the item you want, leave the market, switch items, go back to the market and then sell the item.
In the second chapter of the campaign game, four different leaders ask you to destroy two of their opponents for them to help you. One of those leaders sits in the large town and is not accessable in order to destroy that opponent. You can take his castles and land holdings but it will not count towards destroying him unless you confront him as well. Once you declare war on him, he will no longer be accessable.
The campaign in the third chapter is rather punishing. You are limited to jump through obstacles that require you to wait on other enemy units (which I dont want to spoil it for you, so Im being perposefully vague here) and at the same time are run down by an impossible adversary that requires you to keep on the run. After trying to play that section as specified by the game by its rules, I finally gave up when that impossible adversary showed up.
In conclusion, at this moment while I believe the game has extreme potential, unless they make changes to the combat system I cant emphatically suggest or recommend such a game system...especially since a game like this is anchored around its combat system. The campaign is nothing without it. If changes occur during development of course Ill be happy to come in and redo my review when (or if) that happens.