May 11, 2013

Eador: Masters of the Broken World Review

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3 Okay
Retails for: $19.99
We Recommend: $11.99
  • Developer: Snowbird Games
  • Publisher: Snowbird Games
  • Genre: Strategy, Indie
  • Released: Apr 19, 2013
  • Platform: Windows
  • Reviewed: Windows

Eador: Masters of the Broken World is essentially a remake of Eador: Genesis from 2009 by Snowbird Games. A game I have not played. That statement alone may get me drawn & quartered going forward. Snowbird Games is a group of veteran developers from Russia and the Ukraine, responsible for games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword. Masters of the Broken World was also successful of being greenlit on Steam.

Editor’s Note: This review is based on version 1.0.6 (May 7th patch) of the game

The basic premise is that the world has shattered into shards, drifting in space. The Masters, who are like gods are competing to take control of the shards hoping that they will assemble again. This provides for some wonderful looking backdrops and interesting looking locations as you play the game. The campaign is incredibly lengthy, from what I’m told, an upwards of 100 hours or so. And I have spent no where near that much time with it. Provinces have a percentage, you can take control without 100%, but doing so helps  your guys level as you explore and dominate. You can pay for guards to protect garrisons and overall keep the province in check. Over time you’ll be able to upgrade and build things within them.

The game is much more than turn-based strategy. Fans of Heroes of Might & Magic or King’s Bounty will be reminded of the gameplay, looks and feel, with improvements differentiating it from those series. Not only do you travel the hero from place to place, but you’ll be interacting with hostile enemies and can fight them or buy them off to avoid battle. Should you enter battle, both parties enter a battlefield full of hexagons and each unit must be moved via action points or attack. Then you end your turn and the enemy makes their move. You’ll fight everything from humans to orcs to other nasty, flying creatures.

And beyond that, the game plays like an RPG where not only your hero levels up, but you’ll buy dudes to serve under you as you wage war. At the end of a battle, if they’ve leveled you’ll be able to pick a specific upgrade for them to have better vitality, or more hit points. However, if they die, they are gone for good, as well as their ranks. You’ll get the spoils of war with gold and equipment. Equipment can be used to give your hero new weapons, armor and other trinkets to enhance themselves and do better in battle. RPG, buying dudes, earning gold, xp, levelling up, once guys die they’re gone for good.

Simple bugs from achievements not unlocking to more complex bugs like enemy units retreating from a battle, but no resolution forming getting you stuck until you reload. Snowbird Games is working tirelessly and has been patching since before launch to get it in working order. I feel it’s the most stable it has been, but caution to that it still feels like a work-in-progress. Eador was released a little too soon and needed a few more weeks of polish for a better release.

Multiplayer is also available for when you’re done being abused by the difficult AI. Many humans such as yourself are likely to be struggling with a lot of the same systems you are, and so by playing online, will likely be able to understand the game a bit better.

My PC Specs:
– Intel Core i7 3770k @ 3.9GHz (Turbo)

I could make jokes about how the game is “broken” similar to the game’s subtitle, but I won’t. The game still has its fair share of problems, but it isn’t broken. That aside, there is incredible depth and complexity that you can’t get out of higher priced titles. I can’t recommend the game at full price as it is, but even if you do purchase it right after reading this, it’s a wonderful strategy experience that not only has complex systems, but looks visually appealing and stunning while doing so. Strategy novices should be cautious, while strategy experts will grin at the breadth of detail, infinite number of options and replayability available to them.

A Steam code was provided by PR for review purposes