Back in April Paradox Interactive released Elven Legacy, the follow-up to Fantasy Wars. In my review, I praised the turn-based battle system and story, but criticized the difficulty and creeping sense of sameness, and eventually concluded by advising gamers to ‘Try It’ for the main game. Since then I have replayed it a bit here and there, and my fondness for the game has grown – it is still difficult, still not as good as King’s Bounty: The Legend, and I would still rate it as a ‘Try It’. After its release, Paradox Interactive announced that they would expand Elven Legacy with a trilogy of $9.99 DLC modules rather than a single huge expansion. It is an interesting concept, and I’ve enjoyed the first two, so let’s see how they did with the last add-on, Magic!
A comment about the reviews for these add-ons: because they are specialized and limited DLC that pertains directly to the main Elven Legacy game, I will not spend too much time rehashing the core game in terms of how it works and plays and what it looks like. If you are interested in those things head back to my original review of the game. What I will do is address the changes the add-on makes to the core game, and also the elements of the add-on itself.
As the last add-on, Magic naturally deals with the final chapters in the story. The end of the Siege expansion opened up a wave of demonic energy that is sweeping the land and having a terrible impact on the world and is driving the Arcane Masters insane. The Holy Inquisition intervenes in order to stop the spread of darkness and madness.
Elven Legacy: Magic features a single campaign with 15 missions focused around a single hero class: the mage. The focus is around a single new hero: the Archmage supreme Alfred Brennock. There are also two returning heroes, so that you once again have three playable heroes. But the real story here is Brennock, who gets armed with some powerful new skills, spells and runes.
The game really caters to those who love playing a mage – the game introduces powerful new spells and summons that are also nicely complemented with stunning visual effects that are truly massive in scope. The scope of the world is every bit as huge as in Siege, as you are trying to save the entire world from sweeping forces of darkness.
Elven Legacy: Magic unsurprisingly continues the trend of not having any voice acting. At this point it is no big deal, and remains a fair trade-off to get such a large expansion with such a breadth of content for such a great price. The graphics and controls remain largely untouched from Siege. Once again, this add-on depicts some truly epic battles that nearly stress the engine to its breaking point, but again I found that it was more satisfying than frustrating.
The difficulty level of Siege was punishing, and with Magic we see that the lull in difficulty in Ranger was a momentary lapse, never to be seen again. If you haven’t discovered it by now, it is really important to do as well as possible in missions, which typically means repeating them for better results. However, for many folks (certainly for someone like me who likes strategy games but is no grognard!) it often means repeating missions just to survive and THEN repeating more to get the Gold victory!
More than ever, getting those Gold victories will reward you in the end. The completist in me just wanted every possible mission, but what I got in the end was a bonus mission that tied together everything from the series going all the way back to Fantasy Wars! What a great way to end the series!
That said, Elven Legacy: Magic changes nothing about the things that will make you love or hate the series. It is a great value, but really depends on you having played the original game and both add-ons, and benefits even more if you also played Fantasy Wars. Like the previous expansions, if you already enjoy the original game you’ll love this third and final add-on too!
+ Solid turn-based combat system
+ Great value for the price
+ Decreased difficulty
+ Decent story
+ Solid graphics
+ Possibility to win … but still lose
- No voice acting
- Poor translations cause occasional confusion
- Time limits can STILL be frustrating
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: 12/1/09
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
ESRB Rating: Teen