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Etherlords II

Score: 70%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Strategy First
Developer: Nival Interactive
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Etherlords II's graphics won't blow you away, but they are not something to scoff at. The look is good enough for this game and what it brings to the table, and nothing more than that. The 3D landscapes on the Adventure map resemble more of an RTS's graphical scheme more than anything else. The Dueling aspect of the game, where two heroes fight head-to-head in a single area, is also sparse of any flashy visuals other than explosions coming from the fingertips of the battling heroes.

The sound is also amazingly mediocre, with voice-overs that sound like they were taken from a Scottish pub after a football match. The musical score falls slightly short of memorable, and the sound effects are nothing to cheer for. That said, none of these bells and whistles are all that bad, they just won't stun either.


The gameplay in Etherlords II consists of two parts; first is the Exploration/Adventure mode where you walk your avatar around a 3D map. This is where you meet NPC's, collect resources, and engage in combat with an enemy. The second part of Etherlords II is the combat aspect, better known as Dueling. Once you have initiated combat with another character, you go to a stationary location where you and another hero battle it out.

While you can only choose to play the Campaign mode with two different races, you can play a simple Dueling mode where you can be any of 4 different races. Each, of course, has their own strength's and weaknesses, which come in the form of spells.

The single player Campaign mode is the biggest aspect of the game, and unfortunately extremely linear. During the Campaign portion you roam around, meet people, expose more of the plot, and then take a predetermined path to fight someone.

When you engage in combat, you either pass or fail. However, you can't lose at the game. If you lose a fight, there are no penalties. You just have to tweak the spells you are using and go back into the fray. This trial-and-error approach to the spells you use in combat may entertain some, but after a while it can become a hassle.

The Multiplayer portion of Etherlords II supports only two player Duels. This is the standard combat method for the Campaign mode also; two heroes squaring off against one another. The limit of only two people may not seem bad at first, but it will quickly become apparent that had there been support for battles containing more than two people, the replayability of the game would have been much greater.


Etherlords II isn't overly difficult, but it can become a little tedious at times. The hardest part is figuring what combinations of spells to use against your opponents, and you won't find that out until you lose a fight a couple of times. On the other hand, if you're good at predicting your foes, the game does actually offer a nice challenge.

Game Mechanics:

Etherlords II works much like the popular CCG, Magic: The Gathering. In fact, most of the terms from the card game have been blatantly stolen. You create a 'deck' of spells, which range from creatures to enchantments. When you are fighting, you draw a number of these spells into your hand, and you cast them with mana from your mana pool. Even the mechanics of the card game have been utterly ripped off, where your hero has a certain number of hit points but cannot directly attack anything. Instead, the hero must summon creatures to attack for him, or use various spells that will inflict harm upon the enemy.

If Etherlords II had added a few elements of gameplay instead of using almost the exact same rules as Magic, it may have turned a few heads. Instead, it's made an adventure game out of a card game. While it doesn't play that poorly, it could have gotten a lot more points for doing something a little unique.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/XP/2K, 600 MHz Processor, 128 MB RAM, 2 GB Hard Disk Space, 3D Accelerator

Test System:

Windows XP, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce FX 128 MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, Cable Modem Internet connection

Windows Emergency Room: Code Red Windows Eurofighter Typhoon

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated