Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 19
  2. Negative: 7 out of 19
  1. A decent strategic foundation is rendered all but meaningless by horrific bugs, missing features, a poor interface, and plenty of other defects.
  2. When not crashing, stuttering, or burdening you with menus, Elemental threatens to be interesting.
  3. Great promises, bad realization: too many bugs, an unplayable multiplayer and lots of slowdown. Disastrous.
  4. 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.
  5. Rife with technical issues and a clunky user interface, Elemental: War of Magic is not yet the game I hoped it could be.
  6. 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]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 73 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 38
  2. Negative: 22 out of 38
  1. Aug 24, 2010
    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.
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  2. Aug 28, 2010
    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
    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 »