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Elven Legacy: Standard Fare with Added Flair

Elven Legacy is an upcoming fantasy strategy simulation due to be released sometime in Q1 2009 by veteran game publisher Paradox Interactive. Set in a rich and compelling world, the game features an encompassing quest to restore the Elven race to its former glory. This feat is accomplished through a series of missions that serve to progress the storyline. However, there are branching paths which add to the depth and replayability of the game. Missions are not overly long, so replaying them in an attempt to achieve bonus conditions will not lead to much frustration for most gamers. I replayed several of the maps simply for the chance to explore a bit and ensure that I had not overlooked some hidden artifact or objective. Succeeding in a mission while fulfilling particular bonus conditions may even open bonus, non-linear levels which give the player a chance to revisit in-game historical events and even possibly play as the Orcs. These bonus conditions are generally stated at the beginning of the scenario and normally consist of winning within a set number of turns.

The mechanics of Elven Legacy will feel quite familiar to most fans of the genre and will easily be picked up by new players. At heart, it is a turn-based game in which players move various small units of their army across a map broken into hexagonal spaces. The type of units available to the player increases as the game progresses and players are given the option to upgrade their experienced units to the new types, thereby not sacrificing the time spent building up specific units. Missions begin the usual way, with a cutscene followed by the player choosing and positioning his various units in predetermined areas. Once this is done, the rounds begin. Finishing a mission within a certain number of turns will often net the player with special bonuses, including new units, artifacts, and, as mentioned above, occasionally bonus missions.

The preview version of Elven Legacy had only Russian voiceovers, so it was a little difficult becoming totally engaged in the storyline, but there were subtitles for most speech, enough so that I could at least follow along with what was going on with the main characters. The user-interface was easy enough to grasp, in as much as, even with no written directions, I was able to fumble through the tutorial levels after watching pre-rendered examples with the Russian voiceovers. There were still a few grammatical errors on labels and in text, but again, this is an incomplete version of the game. The game A.I. leaves a bit to be desired at this point, but that is subject to change prior to final release.

Elven Legacy is already very nice graphically and, with a little cleaning and polishing, should provide nice visual appeal. The final version is set to feature two primary campaigns, elf and human, as well as Multiplayer scenarios and even tools which will give players to ability to create and distribute their own missions and campaigns. All in all, it was an enjoyable experience and, while nothing truly ground-breaking, the branching paths, upgradable units and chance to play as both elf and human should keep fantasy fans and strategy enthusiasts quite happy for a long while.

-The Mung Bard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Buddy Ethridge

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