Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 19
  2. Negative: 7 out of 19
  1. Elemental: War of Magic has a lot of good ideas that set it apart from being another kingdom-building clone, and while it borrows from many places, it doesn't really do a great job of making any of them feel particularly strong or fully fleshed out.
  2. The bare bones of a hugely exciting strategy RPG hybrid. The the AI just isn't good enough to make it special, yet.
  3. 70
    While it may be too unfocused and complex for some there's no doubt intrigued 4x fans will feel the pull of Elemental's premise, and those of you who do can likely find something here to love, faults and all.
  4. My intense 4X fandom has been conquered by Elemental's nonstop irritations. I'm putting it down for now, but I'm not writing the game off forever.
  5. 60
    Out of respect for Stardock, I will stop here, because it's hard for me to imagine how a decent developer has allowed such a product to be released in this state, with little connection to the term of entertainment.
  6. Dec 23, 2010
    60
    The subtlety of these exchanges suggests that a strategy game of some greatness exists beneath the cumbersome framework, and we trust Stardock, a developer of proven diligence and passion, to continue refining it. [Nov 2010, p.93]
  7. 60
    In the end I have to admit that despite its large number of problems I find Elemental strangely engaging, and I want to keep playing just because I know that someday it's going to become a much better game than it is right now.
  8. Once again, the excellent idea was killed by ambitions. If Stardock's risky bet had paid out, Elemental would have been a masterpiece, but to make one is not as easy as cramming a bunch of "new" features together. You actually need to glue them with a rock-solid concept. And, in violation of the second clause of its own The Gamer's Bill of Rights, Stardock had released a game as buggy and unfinished as Disciples 3.
  9. 58
    So, is it all a disaster? Well, the A.I. problems are fixed to some degree by the robust multiplayer (if you can find friends willing to slog through the ugliest visuals since finger-painting class), and yes, the level of customization for both the world map and your alter-ego hero is nice -- but no number of small details can hope to salvage quality from this debacle of execution.
  10. A complex story attempts to give meaning to each quest, but even the most hardcore 4Xers will feel betrayed by Elemental. There's very little to love here, and it's so unbalanced and frustratingly crippled no magic will fix it.
  11. Elemental has potential, can be very engaging (when not crashing constantly) and even manage to offer some surprises. Unfortunately, there are so many wrongs that everything remotely positive gets kicked out of the curve very quickly.
  12. But we can only look at what we have now. Elemental is now undercooked with no incentive to keep sitting down to dinner. With more variety and more clarity, Stardock's fantasy world might tell stories you would tell your friends. It's a shame it insisted on trying to tell them now.
  13. Rife with technical issues and a clunky user interface, Elemental: War of Magic is not yet the game I hoped it could be.
  14. Potentially a great and complex strategy game is absolutely wasted by technical issues – instability, user-unfriendliness and the worst AI we remember so far. [Issue#196]
  15. A decent strategic foundation is rendered all but meaningless by horrific bugs, missing features, a poor interface, and plenty of other defects.
  16. It's surprising that Stardock would release Elemental in the condition it's in. The game is unfinished in every aspect; missing features that are standard in current 4X games and in video games in general.
  17. When not crashing, stuttering, or burdening you with menus, Elemental threatens to be interesting.
  18. Great promises, bad realization: too many bugs, an unplayable multiplayer and lots of slowdown. Disastrous.
User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 72 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 38
  2. Negative: 22 out of 38
  1. Aug 24, 2010
    6
    There are moments of fun to be had here, but it's clear Elemental was developed without any sort of formal design methodology or prototyping. The erratic and frantic nature of the last few patches make this clear. Fundamental and sweeping changes of core mechanics in the last two beta cycles and even as recent as the day-0 patches are a dead give-away that Elemental's core gameplay was most likely not planned. Where the rest of the game industry plans and prototypes the core mechanics of new titles, Stardock very obviously subscribes to a school of thought that revolves around some sort of agile design philosophy. I'd be willing to bet that a lot of the features that separate Elemental from its spiritual predecessor Master of Magic (dynasties, diplomacy, quests) started with the sentence "Wouldn't it be cool if...". Outside of some rare strokes of genius, this methodology very rarely makes for engaging and deliberate design decisions.

    Design aside, a lot of the flaws in Elemental's core mechanics are overshadowed by it's dated UI and it's amateur production values. So many of the user interface problems that plagued Stardock's previous title, Galactic Civilizations 2, are present in Elemental. The user interface does a poor job of communicating information to the user and is very unwelcoming to new users. Aesthetically, Elemental's user interface appears very dated to me. Small touches that make modern user interfaces visually pleasing, such as transitions and animations, are noticeably absent from Elemental. The use of modal dialog boxes is especially rampant in Elemental, as it was in Galactic Civilizations 2, and is very reminiscent of Windows productivity and office software; this isn't how a modern PC game should feel. There are better ways to notify and ask for feedback from the user.
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 28, 2010
    4
    A a huge fan of Master of Magic, 4X games and the previous Stardock games, I was looking forward to this game as the Grail coming back to Gaming's earth. Very disappointed so far and far from being fun overall. The gameplay is not intuitive at all and questionable in many respects, the interface should be improved dramatically and the graphics (despite not being important for this kind of game) need to be more "magic" than the current various shades of gray, brown, etc... Was expecting something like "Civ IV of Magic" and got more something like Age of Wonder (not a compliment in my mouth...). Disappointment compounded by the inability to get the game on Steam. Stardock, we deserve more from you and you need to fix this. Full Review »
  3. Aug 25, 2010
    1
    This game is just terrible in basically every respect. First and foremost there is no "fun factor" to be found. You do stuff move characters around and build things but you never really feel like you're doing anything important.

    Secondly it is technically a very poor game. It crashes far too often, some components in the game just don't work as they should.

    Thirdly it's aesthetics are quite terrible. I understand Stardock was going for a game that ran on netbooks but that's no excuse for all the art to be of such poor quality. The characters look worse than the avatars on Nintendo Sports for the Wii.

    On the good side it does have that 4X type of game feel at some points but that's as good as it gets. It doesn't make up for the previous failings.

    No 4X for you!
    Full Review »