LifeisXbox’s Spellforced 3: Reforced review | Now here is somthing we don’t see every day for our lovely Xbox machine, the RTS genre! If you are primarily a console gamer you are most likely not going to know this franchise. Spellforce is a hybrid between the RTS genre and a classic action RPG and has been gaining fans since 2003 when Spellforce: The Order of Dawn came out. Don’t immediately start thinking that this doesn’t play pleasantly on the Xbox because then you are wrong. Sure, there are some difficulties here and there but just like Halo Wars this works perfectly on console.
I feel the need to explain Spellforce community a little, as I spoke with a few of them before I started my adventure. Since 2003 they have gone through a lot of unsure moments where the future of the franchise was in doubt. With Phenomic, JoWooD, EA and now THQ Nordic it had multiple publishers, it faced bankruptcy and had several developers too. Spellforce 3 released in 2017 for PC and had a rocky start but current developer Grimlore gained massive respect from the community by pushing out improvements and bug fixes at an incredible speed and multiple times a day! Today the game is going strong on PC, with a strong level-editor and user-generated content. A brand-new chapter starts for the franchise, as consoles welcome the experience for the first time. Time for me to share what I think about the Xbox version!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- About that RTS | This ain’t no Age of Empires, but Spellforce does has a few managing tasks that can feel complex for inexperienced players. The main task is expanding your home base and keeping it safe so your workers can gather material and food resources for your army. Sounds easy, right? Anyways, these light-RTS elements make Spellforce 3 very unique with the combination of the RPG gameplay and rich story, even on PC but especially on consoles. Creating a large and impressive army is a real satisfying feeling, seeing them all getting killed by enemies is a bit less entertaining but that’s because my gaming skills in this genre is limited.
- How you control everything | Give it time! The first two hours will be confusing and you’ll have to learn yourself how to control everything but I promise you that the development team did some incredible work putting the keyboard and mouse control scheme on a limited controller. All shoulder buttons are used for selection wheels. you have one for hero abilities but most of them are used for the RTS-elements for example building, army production and unit commands. Moving your army and heroes or zooming in and out with the camera is done with the analogue sticks, I found this to be extremely easy but was used to this kind of controls from Gears Tactics and Halo Wars. You will also spend a lot of time in the inventory menu, nothing new for RPG players of course. Think about upgrading weapons and distributing skill points, again attention has been given to console players by simplifying it with trigger buttons. I must say that the UI text could have been a bit larger, but overall I was pleasantly surprised and positive about the controls for such a complex game.
- Storytelling | This third main game in the series takes place half a century before the actual story of Spellforce begins. There is absolutely no need to play Spellforce: The Order of Dawn and Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars, so the timing to release this franchise for the first time on consoles couldn’t have been better. The player is introduced to the world Eo, a typical magical world that is inhabited by humans, orcs, elves and many other creatures. Slow but surely you get familiar with the interesting cast of characters, Eo’s religion and unique situations about the state between factions and a worldwide crisis. This game doesn’t take lore lightly so you can really indulge yourself in it. Dialogue happens regularly and you can branch off a little by asking more questions, or not… it is entirely up to you how much of the lore and story you want to experience.
- Lots of content | Spellforce 3 came out on PC in 2017 and received a whole bunch of updates and additional content. All of that can be found in this console port, including the Journey mode. A mode with ultimate freedom that allows you to create your own hero and explore the vast world. In the Skirkish mode you can fight against other players online, not the easiest mode as skill levels are all over the place. The campaign itself is good for an average of 40 hours. So by now you’ll understand that most players will spent over 100 hours enjoying Spellforce 3 Reforced.
- Pacing doesn’t feel right | On a few occasions the game slows down and nothing seems to really happen that progresses the story or gameplay. Being stuck as your resources are limited can take a while too, as replenishing wood or stone can take a few minutes. It is worth it to get passed these rare moments as the game really shines when the action is high.
What we Disliked
- Sound and music is firmly below average, strange considering the rest is so good. | Not a bad word can be said about the voice actors but everything else regarding sound is bad. It kinda destroys the believable atmosphere and good-looking visuals to a point you start laughing with some of the cheap generic sounds.
How long to beat the story | 40 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 70 hours
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