Stardock Is Going Elemental
I wrote a pseudo-review of Hinterland a month ago so when my friend Nathan mentioned that another game with a similar concept was coming out soon, my ears perked up. For fifteen minutes we tried to recall what the name of the damn thing was; developers/publishers seriously need to find better, colorful words to differentiate their games. After discovering the name, Elemental: War of Magic, we checked the publisher and immediately my interest rose. Why? Stardock, that's why. Stardock is the Superman to Ubisoft's Lex Luthor, fighting for truth, justice and the American (read: smart capitalism) way.
But back on topic, after watching a demo walkthrough for Elemental, it seems less like Hinterland and more like Civilization mixed with RPG mechanics. If you didn't just jump out of your seat after reading that sentence, then you need to reconsider your gamer Buddha-nature. While the execution is still a question mark, the core idea sounds insanely fun.
What is it about screens like this that make me completely nerd out?
You start off creating your hero unit which serves as your main NPC recruiter, city governor, and explorer. As you adventure, you pick up companions, build city structures (which increase the size and shape of the city boundaries), research technologies, and perform many other standard tropes that go along with turn based strategy. You also perform lots of the standard RPG actions, such as fighting off monsters, collecting loot, outfitting your hero, and so on. Eventually, the game map will start to look like Civ, as you found more and more cities, establish trade routes and compete with other nations.
Loving the oddly-shaped town.
The graphics look functional, if not exactly flashy. But any experienced gamer knows that some of the best games ever made lack high-end visuals. Gothic, Risen and Mount & Blade are all examples of amazing games that flew under the radar because they neglected to license the latest Unreal engine. I'm hoping that this fall, I can add Elemental: War of Magic to that growing list. I'll be sure to follow along and keep you updated as it nears release later in the year.