Published on December 20th, 2017 | by Chris O'Connor
Spellforce 3 PC Game Review
Summary: If Command and Conquer and Baldur's Gate had a child... it may well have come out as Spellforce 3. Take your character's through a grand story while developing military outposts along the way.
There’s no question about the inspiration for Spellforce 3 (well other than presumably Spellforce 1 and 2, obviously). For anyone interested in RPG games it’s hard to ignore some of the early classics such as Baldur’s Gate and there are absolutely splashes of that throughout Spellforce 3. But where it strikes a different chord is in the added element of RTS gaming. You don’t always need to build a base or rouse an army… but just as you will find yourself soldiering through and developing your main hero/s you will have plenty of occasions in which you need to set down roots and let your forces grow.
But perhaps (as usual) I’m getting ahead of myself. Spellforce 3 begins with a preamble of sorts. You learn of a great change in society… the point at which mages were generally outlawed… then you learn that your main character is the child of the mage that caused this giant shift. Stuck between being the child of arguably the most despised mage and your path towards becoming a battle mage for the very society your father shook to it’s core… you are obviously in for some fairly rocky times. Sure enough your lineage comes into play and you will be shunned for the sins of your father… but that won’t stop you forging your own path and making your own little imprint on history.
So clearly the story is writ large throughout the game. Often RPG’s do indeed work best when the story is well developed and conflict is infused within… well it certainly is here. As mentioned earlier the game is arguably primarily an RPG, so developing your character is important to your progression. As you follow the story and make your way from battle to battle you naturally accrue experience and periodically get to level up. The standard tree structure is used for enhancing abilities with focuses on spells, ranged combat and brutal force being among the areas you will want to develop. Much like Baldur’s Gate your party will grow and contract over time depending on what your path requires. As with your main character your companions will also level up and to stay successful you would do wise to balance their skill set with yours, complimenting your ranged attackers with strong front line heroes and a touch of magical assistance never hurt anyone.
As much as the first impression of Spellforce was that it was Baldur’s Gate with RTS elements it actually ended up reminding me a bit more of another game I remember fondly, The Lord Of The Rings: The Battle For Middle Earth. I guess the main difference there is that the story for the Lord Of The Rings: The Battle For Middle Earth was so well known prior to the game that it didn’t require quite as much fleshing out and so the focus could be more on the RTS elements. But the idea of Hero units and their abilities and cool downs is certainly common between the two. Base building was perhaps more prominent in Lord Of The Rings but becomes ever more important in Spellforce 3 as you progress. Visually it is quite lush and comes across a bit like a knights and armour version of Company of heroes, you can zoom right in to see the troops on the ground or you can pull back and survey the battleground. In regards to viewing your surroundings though you will likely want to keep your fingers hovering over the page up and page down keys as sometimes you need to rotate your view to get the most out of an area (finding loot or important items), the home key will snap you back to the normal view so it’s easy enough but I certainly found myself rotating the camera more than I have in this sort of game for a while.
I’m a pretty big fan of RTS and certainly a big fan of RPG’s, I love being able to dig into a character and forge them the way I would like. Spellforce 3 does a good job of mashing those two genres together and the result is a pretty decent campaign that should have you entertained for quite some time. A little bit of this and a little bit of that, in just the right doses and you get a great game that stands above the sum of it’s parts.