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Elven Legacy: Siege
Score: 77%
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: 1C Company
Media: Download/1
Players: 1, 1 - 4
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy

Continuing the Legacy:

The recently released Elven Legacy: Siege (EL:S) is the second of three expansions based upon the Paradox Interactive game Elven Legacy slated to be released before the end of 2009. The first expansion, Elven Legacy: Ranger (EL:R), released October 2009, took players back into the realm of the sacred kingdoms, this time leading the ranger Cornelius on a bevvy of missions for the mysterious Order of Marcus. The second expansion, which does require the original game but not the first expansion, follows some several months after the proceedings in EL:R. The elven lord Saggitel has once again acted rashly and is inciting war with humankind. This time, the humans are prepared and Saggitel and his elves end up fleeing the righteous retribution of the human armies. Players can expect to visit lands occupied by elves, humans and dwarves in their adventures across the kingdoms.

The Definition of Redundancy is...:

The quality or state of being redundant (No, really, it is: redundancy). Elven Legacy, though flawed, was an interesting game, one that showed a lot of potential and occupied a very open hole in a genre that is sparse in offerings. Fans of previous games such as Fantasy Wars quickly latched onto this morsel, enthralled by both an interesting story and by a complex battle system. As a turn-based strategy, it offered veteran players a challenge that was as rewarding as it was frustrating. The first expansion followed suit, scaling back the difficulty just enough to allow less hardcore players to enjoy the game while expanding the number of missions, heroes and other goodies offered in the parent title.

So, what can I say about Elven Legacy: Siege that hasn't already been said about EL:R? The answer, unfortunately, is not much. From a content standpoint, EL:S offers 19 new missions, with three new heroes, with bonus missions if a gold medal is achieved on all regular missions. The only real "new" twist is that the outcome of the missions can affect the subsequent missions, offering additional troops or medal achievements. Gameplay, controls, and presentation were all basically unchanged. While hardcore fans will undoubtedly not mind this, it leaves me to wonder if three expansions with little in the way of upgrades or improvements can be justified.

Moving Forward, In Reverse:

As mentioned earlier, the difficulty of the Elven Legacy series has been viewed as both a selling point and a drawback. Hardcore strategy gamers have shown great appreciation for the unforgiving nature of the games, but at the same time, less dedicated players shied away a bit from the original game due to this. EL:R improved upon this by scaling back the difficulty just a bit, making it enjoyable for the more casual gamers, while still providing a decent challenge for the die-hards. Elven Legacy: Siege has backpedaled in this regard a bit, again ramping up the difficulty factor. The missions tend to be long, some going on for over an hour. While this is certainly not something to complain about, the problem lies in the overall strategy needed to win some scenarios. Often, losing just one unit can have a detrimental effect on the entire mission, but the effect may not be felt until much later in the mission, meaning that, a "catastrophic" loss early on may not become evident as such until quite a bit of playtime has been invested in the mission. This can and will cause a significant amount of anxiety and frustration among the casual gaming crowd.

In addition to the difficulty issues, there just was not enough in the way of new offerings. Sure, there were new characters and missions, but the maps were just rehashes of previous scenes. Sure, there was snow and mountains as well as the fields and forests, but it all just felt, well, like it had all been seen before. For a game so close to being great, just a little extra work (and perhaps a little more time between expansions) would go such a long way.

Once More Unto The Breach:

Criticism of "sameness" aside, Elven Legacy: Siege holds true to form and the storyline remains a strong suit. Fans of the genre will continue to enjoy the missions, undoubtedly replaying them to get the coveted gold medals, thus unlocking the bonus mission. The price is very appealing, offering a great amount of playtime for a measly $9.95. While I cannot say that I am particularly ecstatic about the third installment, entitled Elven Legacy: Magic, the series has not been a total disappointment and does fill a hole within the turn-based genre that has been empty far too long. Fans of the previous installments should not hesitate to purchase this expansion. As for new players, you can pick up Elven Legacy for $14.95. If you enjoy it, know that you'll have quite a bit of continued play to choose from should you desire.

-The Mung Bard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Buddy Ethridge
Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Memory: 512 MB of RAM, Video Card: 128 MB
  Test System:

OS: Windows XP, Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo CPU 3.06 GHz, Memory: 2 GB of RAM, Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox 360 Borderlands: The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned Sony PlayStation 3 Borderlands: The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned

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