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Mixed or average reviews- based on 73 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 73
  2. Negative: 31 out of 73

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  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.
  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. Expand
  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!
  4. Aug 24, 2010
    Well alright, it seems I have the first review status, and I will say that it feels great. But you want to know about this game, and I shall oblige. First, let me say that I played Master of Magic back in the days of Microprose, and this game is not Master of Magic. There are hints of Age of Wonders, smatterings of Civilization 4, a bit of Galactic Civilizations, among others. The list of things that this game does right is too long, so let me just say this: this game is fun, if you are into the genre. I played a bit of the campaign mode to learn how to play, and I had picked up the concepts and whatnot within the first 100 turns. I then started a 'sandbox' style game, played long enough to lose a moderate force to a goody hut and tried to load an autosave and the game crashed. So now I am writing a review. The GUI needs patching in this game, several times I noticed stuff from behind the book window thing superimposed with it, nothing major. It SEEMS to me that the game WILL need patching, and if you happened to pirate it, you will not be getting the patch for quite some time, since it is a Stardock game ( you have to patch it with their steamoid Impulse software thingy.) I recommend this game highly, if you like turn-based strategy games like Civilization 4 or Age of Wonders, this game is for you. Expand
  5. Aug 26, 2010
    Broken. Unintuitive. Frustrating. These are the main terms that come to mind regarding this game. I'm a long time "4X" gamer, among other genres, though this is by far a favorite since the days of the very first Civilization. I've been looking forward to Elemental since I first heard about it, and it may be the most crushing dissapointment of the past few years.

    Stardock has a rep for
    great strategy titles, and while some of their previous games have been rough around the edges, they've always come through as balanced, fun, and absorbing experiences. Elemental is none of these. Even after the 1.05 patch that fixed the majority of the most egregious, game-breaking crashes and bugs, the game is still utterly broken. There is no "Balance" to speak of between factions. Alt-tabbing to do something on your desktop while result in a crash as often as not. The map freezes, stutters, and locks up. Creating a new Sovereign (Character) is iffy at best, as textures and meshes may or may not apply properly, causing corruption and a crash.

    Beyond these game-breakers, the game is the least intuitive I may have ever played. Civilization IV on the hardest difficulty? Been there. Same for most any 4X game you can name. And while I understand the concepts in Elemental, the implementation and explanation is simply so bad as to be impenetrable unless you had months in beta to figure it out. Resources are intuitive. The mathematics behind resource production and accrual are flawed, badly. The economics of the various resources (Gold [gilar], Material, Ore, Tech and Arcane Research) are nowhere layed out in a comprehensible form. Nothing in the entire game is made clear to the player, unless you want to wade through the official forums to find the explanations of how things actually work from beta-testers.

    I've enjoyed every Stardock game before Elemental, but this game is bad enough that I will be very cautious buying anything from them again, and that's saying something. Just terrible all around.
  6. Aug 25, 2010
    The game is full of bugs it is impossible to play. If you did not take part in the beta trial you will have no idea how to play the game properly as there is no tutorial for it. Oh and the grapics are terrible
  7. Aug 25, 2010
    A promising and innovative game that should be popular for years to come. Outstanding RPG and fantasy game. Great graphics! Great story! I see longevity here. The Ver 1.0 game will undoubtedly have bug fixes and patches in the near future, but with Stardock behind the game, no worries here. Killer game play--well worth the wait!
  8. Aug 27, 2010
    The game has potential but is months away from even finishing it's combat engine. Tech bugs aside (and there are still a ton) this game needed to wait until 2011 for release. Brutally disappointing.
  9. Aug 27, 2010
    While this game has huge potential to be one of the greats in the fantasy turn-based 4X genre, it is simply not finished. The crash bugs, graphics bugs, and lack of play balance leave me tired and frustrated.
    I expected great things based on Galactic Civilizations 2, and am still hopeful that the guys at Stardock will reward this hope and someday soon give me a finished game. However,
    I have to ask: "What the hell were they thinking releasing a game this unfinished and broken?"
    The only possible answer that I can come up with is that they felt that they needed to beat Civ V out the door or be swamped by the wave of that 800 pound gorilla landing in the pool on September 21. Given their great history of unpdating and perfecting their games via Impulse, I can almost hear them discussing it in their offices. "It'll be allright", I can hear them saying. "Our fans will understand that we'll fix everything."

    Frankly, this sort of thinking has become prevalent in the PC games industry, and as a gamer, and an industry professional for 20 years, it has me shaking my head. The fact is that this approach does more to turn off fans and potential fans than they can imagine. When I plunk down my $50 or $60, I expect a finished, stable, balanced, fun game worth $50 or $60...not 6 months from now, but when I buy it. All too often these days, I get my new game home, tear off the shrink, load it up, and quickly get disgusted with what the publisher sold me. MUCH more often than not, I never bother to patch these crap-in-box games, and they never see the light of monitor again.

    In the industry, we wonder why the PC game market continues to shrink. Well, this is one reason. Even a die-hard PC gamer like me looks whistfully at my kids as they play their DS games and wish that a 1st party hardware company like Nintendo could regulate the submissions of PC game publishers the way that they do on their platforms. That way, at least we could be assured that the dran things were finished before we spent our money on them.
  10. Aug 24, 2010
    Very first impression. Skimmed the manual which just barely explains what's going on. There's no real tutorial but the campaign that comes with the game (more to follow perhaps) seemed to give a bunch of hints. Anyway, the game is clearly for a die-hard strategy player and a beginner would probably get lost or find the many pieces daunting. There's definitely a 4X feel with some Magic the Gathering style combat. Didn't get far enough to see any really great spells. The mythology of the world here is a little vague when you get into the races and factions. Nothing as familiar as elves, dwarves, and goblins. And the differences aren't obvious either. The graphical style they're going for, a sort of medieval cartoon, comes off a bit crude on my low-end card. Maybe higher-end cards see more. And the audio is none too impressive. When combat zooms into a tactical view, there's a bit of a learning curve as the manual doesn't explain this part very well. I was expecting Might and Magic but it seems a lot more like Etherlords. But the meat of the game is the strategy. And if they can pull off an impressive AI, this game might just get reviewed as well as GalCiv did. But again, just starting out and learning the ropes. Barely got my feet wet and the game can probably soak you like the deep end of the pool. It's sure to keep the fans of "just one more turn" busy for a while. Didn't see a crash, but you need to open up your firewall for the game before it starts or it will just hang at the title screen and you'll have to restart your PC the hard way (at least I had to). Then again, even Starcraft 2 did this to me and you'd think these advanced developers would know about firewall prompts by now. Looking forward to the professional reviewers' takes. Expand
  11. Aug 25, 2010
    I purchased the game last night with the hope to play multiplayer w/ a friend, but the multiplayer servers are unavailable until next week. Upsetting, but understandable. The game crashed on me after about an hour, but again I have come expect these type of crashes on new games. Play style: Civ 4 meets Warlords Battlecries on the map. FF tactics for the battle system. I like the spell system and overall feel of the game. It still needs some polishing. Character creation is a lot of fun too.

    If you want this game to be great from the time of purchase, I would say wait. If you want something fun to play and don't mind the occasional crash or bug buy it now.

    Scored it a 7 because -1 for the crash, and -2 for no multiplayer yet.
  12. Aug 29, 2010
    Score (3.0)
    The game is unstable, crashes quite often, lacks balance and ai, which is a pity since it has great potential.
    The user interface is rather unintuitive, awkward and unhelpful.
    The artificial intelligence is not yet in, there is no MP yet. So after learning the game, even if you enjoy it, you better hope Stardock issues a patch or the game will be unfun very fast, all the more
    so with the poor quality of map randomization.
    Magic is rather nonplussing.
    Technology is rather well done, there are good ideas, tactical battles need some work to match those of old Master of Magic.
    Overall, it's an unfinished product, and I can't stress enough the need to wait at least a few months before purchasing it.
  13. Jun 4, 2011
    It's funny how the "professional" reviewers finally grab their sacks when a middle market developer puts out a flawed game. Truth be told though, if I had rated this game on release, I'd have given it a 3. I think it's actually fun now and Stardock has bent over backwards to make it up to the people that bought the game in it's initial shoddy state. As of now, the game is now quite playable and I find it pretty fun. I think when the stand alone expansion comes out (Elemental:Fallen Enchantress) you'll see a truly great game. Expand
  14. Aug 25, 2010
    I have been a long-time fan of Stardock games, and have been anticipating this one for quite some time. It has exceeded my expectations, and I can't say how many hours I have put into playing it since the weekend. The game has been very stable for me, and I have not experienced any crashes or major issues. I do recommend anyone who is a fan of this genre to immediately grab this.
  15. Aug 30, 2010
    Major design problems. Case in point, DEF is defense against ALL attacks: ranged, melee and magic (even MoM treated these as 3 different). Also DEF is multiplicative, so the bigger the stack the higher the DEF. This causes huge problems.

    UI - There is not nearly enough info readily available, counter intuitive, tiny buttons that are hard to click.

    Crashing - Gamespot, Shacknews and many
    other professional review sites are holding back their reviews because the game likes to crash every 10 minutes. Don't take my word or theirs for it, go over to the Elemental support forum (1100 bug reports in less than 6 days since release)

    $50 for a buggy, shallow, crashy indie game is absurd
  16. Aug 26, 2010
    I've been with Elemental since the beginning, all the way back a year ago in Beta 1A. I've watched it go from absolutely, unbearable to play to the great game it is now. Does it need some help? Yes, there are still some bugs, balance issues, UI problems and the lack of a REAL tutorial hurts, but the game underneath all of that is really, really solid, deep and a blast to play.

    I have
    faith in Elemental and its ability to find itself to become a masterpiece. It's a little too rough around the edges and the UI is begging for more informaiton, so I can't give this game a 10 just yet, but I HONESTLY believe that this game will be a 10 one day. There is no doubt in my mind. Its greatness shines through so often and it just begs to be let out and consume the rest of the game. Truth is, Brad Wardell (even if I vehemently disagree with his politics) is a genuine man and seems to really be in touch with the average gamer (probably because he IS a gamer). With him at the helm and the rest of the fantastic Stardock team, this game can't possibly fail in the long term. Galactic Civilizations 2 is testament to that. The team at Stardock have one of the most passionate work ethics I've ever seen and it's only a matter of time before this game is being lauded as the one of the best examples of the turn-based strategy genre. Maybe in PC gaming, honestly. Therein lies the problem, though. It just needed more time. Maybe not 6 months, but I think at least another 2 or 3. With another 2 or 3 months of development time, we wouldn't have needed a "Day 0 Patch" to come save the day from the WRETCHED state that the gold code was in. That gold code should have been "Day 0" code + and the actual "Day 0" code should have been extra polish only meant to enhance the should not have been the only code that most people were capable of playing. Had I bought this game off the shelf and had no access to Stardock's Impulse, this review would have been very, very different (think 5 or 6). Anyway, to those who want to know whether or not to buy this game, I ask you one question: do you like Stardock or their previous titles? If so, buy it. It's a great game as it stands today and I can simply guarantee that it will be phenomenal some day soon. I've had a LOT of fun with the present build and I would buy it again, honestly. It fills the need for a modern-day Master of Magic and then some. Any self-loving turn-based strategy gamer with fond memories of MOM or someone just looking for something new and different could do no better than Elemental and supporting the team behind it, Stardock and Brad Wardell, is one of the best things you can do to support PC gaming as a whole. Expand
  17. Aug 27, 2010
    I have played the game since early beta and don't understand the negative reviews. This game is FUN! Sure, it has a few bugs, but I have faith that Stardock will fix them considering they keep putting up patches as bugs are reported on their forums. I have a feeling that people just don't "get" the game. It's fun and worth the money, especially if you get the collectors edition that has a cloth map (hello geek love) and a metal dragon. Expand
  18. Sep 2, 2010
    This game is a dog. It was released in an entirely unfinished state, with promised features like multiplayer absent. It crashes constantly, the AI is terrible and it looks like a kid with a box of crayons was in charge of the art. The UI is obtuse, the manual woefully outdated and the campaign is awful. There's currently no redeeming feature about the game whatsoever. It needed 6 more months to be playable. Instead, those of us who bought the game got ripped off big-time. Stay away. Stay far, far away. Expand
  19. Sep 2, 2010
    Currently the game is unfinished and there's no two ways around that. Many aspects of the game are simply broken like the AI or the balance. The UI is unintuitive and when you combine that with an admittedly outdated and incomplete manual (then why did you ship it Stardock?) and a game that crashes when you ALT-TAB, that's a recipe for failure.

    Even if it's fixed, the game is simply not
    that much fun. There are design flaws in the game that won't be overcome with simple patches. This game is MOO 3 all over again - greatly hyped and a colossal failure at release. Even patched MOO 3 never was anything more than mediocre and Elemental will share the same destiny. So if you want to spend your money on a game that's outright broken now and will be mediocre in 6 months, buy Elemental. Expand
  20. Sep 2, 2010
    (This review is of the 1.06 version.) This game is a magnet for hater vs fanboy.

    My review: it was released far too soon (probably due to Civ V), and the CEO has admitted that they made a mistake in thinking it was actually ready. (Source: )

    As it stands, aside from the bugs, there is no multiplayer (despite the claim on the side of
    the box) until they release a patch to enable it. What this means outside of corporate-speak is anyone's guess, so it's not worthwhile to speculate further.

    The campaign is terrible -- in fact, the sandbox mode offers a better learning experience (complete with decent "here's what to do" pop-ups) and a ton more gameplay.

    The diplomacy is very broken. While it appears to work 3/4 of the time, you'll find instances where the AI will gladly give you everything it has for a single gold coin. That is simply ludicrous, and most likely a logic bug (the screen that gives you the numerical likelihood read -784,559, forcing the AI to agree to anything I demand).

    The tactical combat is bland, flat, uninteresting, and fairly slow. A real lesson could be learned from Kings Bounty: Armored Princess and similar games.

    The magic system is equally dull and uninspired. Dominions 3, Master of Magic, and Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic all gave you a sense of massive enchantments that would effect the entire world. They made you feel like a god / powerful wizard. In Elemental, magic feels a lot less varied and interesting.

    The races are virtually identical. They are all humanoid with different colors and different faces, a few bonuses and penalties (most of which do not yet have any affect due to bugs), and little in the way of unique units.

    The army sizes are very small, more like adventuring bands than actual military forces. It doesn't seem all that epic when I play it. I want to be a wizard in charge of huge forces of men / dwarves / whatever, summoning armies from the abyss to overrun the world. In other games I mention here, you can. But not this one. It's focus is far more zoomed-in.

    With time, and a careful revisit of the gameplay design, this could be a fine strategy game. But not at release.
  21. Sep 9, 2010
    So I bought this game the day it came out, super excited. I played it for about 30 hours so far. And then I stopped, because to be honest this is one of the buggiest games I've played on my PC for a long time. My masochistic side forced me to keep playing through at least 50 CTD, and innumerable slow downs. Game would start out fast and just get slower and slower to respond every time I ended a turn. Things I should be able to click on, couldn't be. graphics would glitch. Combat would get stuck and require wildly clicking on your character to resolve remaining attacks. The list does go on and on. The AI is really quite stupid, and sometimes just downright crazily overpowered with wandering mobs running around with scores of over 9000.. (yes it's a pun, but also true) As someone to whom this game was like all the things I wanted in a game packaged up, I was willing to overlook a lot of problems, and I did. But ultimately sticking it out that long just convinced me that I wasted my money, and that the game is just ... well it's bad. Sorry guys. You tried to be everything to everyone, and the lack of focus really shines through. Expand
  22. e_k
    Sep 6, 2010
    This game feels like it should be a Beta, or perhaps even Alpha. It shows much promise, but feels unfinished, and even untested.

    While promising both RPG and x4 elements, it currently does not deliver well on either. Perhaps with careful play-testing, fixing the UI, and polishing the graphics, this could become an enjoyable game.
  23. Sep 4, 2010
    Having been a 4X gamer for many years, this game has come with bitter disappointment. A horrible UI, ranking up there with Space Empires 5, is the first of many failings in this games overall design. I could go into all of the bugs, tutorial and graphics as so many others have, but I will not. Simply, the reason this game fails on such a massive level is it's just not fun. When playing SEV, Civ, GalCiv and others I must fight the urge to play for that next turn...but here, I simply just don't care. I'm sure the game will improve as time goes on, but after spending $50, I've gotten a half finished mess and has completely ruined this experience. I urge everyone to not get this game until it's either fixed or bargain binned. Expand
  24. Sep 4, 2010
    Unfinished and broken. It's unplayable at the moment. Crashes every now and then.. No Introduction. The graphics look old but nice, but i really don't know why this game is so hardware-hungry. No Multiplayer since release till now (04.09.2010). This game should not have been released till next year. I assume that all the good reviews are from fanboys of stardock, but if you have a look at the game-forum you will see that even that fanboys state many shortcomings of the game, but have the undeviating belief that we will get some updates in the future that qualify the good reviews they gave.
    Stardock has a very active community and that's probably why so many positive reviews were given. I hope their belief will come true and the game will be playable and entertaining sometime. Yet it's a long way to go there...
  25. Sep 7, 2010
    Another pre hype game that did not live up to the hype has cost the jobs of many of the people surrounding it and those NOT involved with it. I dropped all support for Stardock after Demigod and I am so glad I did not fall for the pre order craze of this game. I don't pay 50 bucks to beta test people's games. Sorry I am just not that gullible. You can read more from Brad Wardell of Stardock (posting as Frogboy) on the official Elemental forums which are sinking into a cesspool rapidly. Hey make the game 20 dollars and I will pick it up! It is true. Elemental's revenue was anticipated to provide the revenue both for our main games team's next project as well as a second team. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen so we've had to start laying people off. No one is being fired. None of these people did anything wrong. Stardock is a small company and each person here is truly amongst the best and brightest. So you can imagine how much it sucks for all of us to lay off anyone. We haven't had to lay anyone off since our migration from the OS/2 market in 1998. It would be great if we can bring as many of these people back over time if the studio can afford it. No one involved on the core components of Elemental is affected. Elemental's rocky launch can be summed up (IMO) as follows: Our QA process was insufficient to handle a brand new platform (Elemental = Kumquat 1.0 versus say Galactic Civilizations II was using Pear which was the same engine, modified, from 1997's Entrepreneur) + my own catastrophic poor judgment in not objectively evaluating the core game play components.

    Please note as a follow up: Joystiq has been informed by a source that this is only the first round of layoffs at Stardock and that the final count will be about 20 people. We've also been told the "games team itself is/was only 15 people big," so the layoffs will affect others at the company and outside contract workers. Survivors of the cuts will allegedly include the game's producer, art lead, and two lead developers. The source claims, "All of the posts [Wardell] has made in our public forums about how the games team is funded by our commercial software development and that Elemental was not rushed out the door for monetary reasons is a lie. These people are getting laid off due to poor sales and Stardock's inability to pay back the capital investors that funded Elemental's development." Finally Blog of War goes into the situation even further with this blogpost: So, basically, Brad says he was so in love with the world and the game that he lost sight of itâ
  26. Jul 7, 2012
    Stardock is a great company. Hands down. They made some mistakes with Elemental, but they worked on it. They develop with passion. They responded to users concerns and fixed them. They even went so far as to give their sequel to customers who bought War of Magic at the launch. I would definitely return to them and look forward to any game they release.
  27. Oct 6, 2010
    One day during early beta they called the game finished and released it.
    Buggy as hell, incomplete, unbalanced, unfun, etc.
    Maybe one day it will be finished (they are still actually working on it), but not yet.
  28. Aug 28, 2010
    This is a *fantastic* game. Think Civ4, but with a light rpg attached. Your main character can run around the world map doing quests, gaining levels, allies and gear. If you want, the game has multiple victory conditions built in so you can win by completing a difficult quest chain without ever having built a unit in one of your cities. Or you can go the traditional route and build a mighty army for your hero to lead (or take the diplomatic route, like anyone ever does that!). Not enough? Okay how about winning by extending your magical knowledge so far that you learn to control the very spell the gods themselves used to create the world?

    There are also incredibly detailed modding tools included with the game, so you can look forward to a whole barrage of excellent user generated content in the future, and the developers have promised the first free dlc within 60 days of launch.

    Okay, the bad bit; it's a bit buggy at the moment. My high score is based on Stardock's excellent pedigree and the assumption that they'll patch the bugs out of existence fairly rapidly. But basically, this game is Made Of Awesome. Ignore the poor reviews from people who have a thirty second attention span. If you enjoy strategy games, or rpgs, this game is a very worthy purchase. I'm not a big strategy gamer but was lured in by the rpg elements, and I have not been disappointed. Get it while it's still hip so that when everyone jumps on the bandwagon you can say you got it while it was "still indy" :P
  29. Sep 1, 2010
    TL;DR version: Check on this game in a few months.

    This game is frustrating, for a number of reasons. The main one being that the early game is actually pretty fun, and it's clear that there is a good game somewhere in here. But that good game is buried under an awful lot of problems.

    It was released far too early, and wasn't finished yet? Want proof? Multiplayer support is listed on the
    box as a feature. It's over a week since release and there is no MP support. No online play. No LAN play. Nothing. It's at least another week before it'll be enabled, and with the offhanded way Stardock has been informing people of it, it's clearly not a priority. When it does get enabled, some features of the game still won't be there (modding support, and tactical battles, though they say those will come back at some point). For a listed on the box feature to be entirely missing like this is just pathetic. (Bottom line, if you're at all interested in MP support, wait for Civ 5.)

    In the single player game, things are burdened by being rushed in other ways. There's a stat at character creation (Wisdom) that disappears in the game and is replaced by another stat (Essence). Shards that should boost your spell damage don't work due to a bug. Performance is improved since the initial release version, but can still drag high end systems to their knees for no apparent reason. (That said, the cloth map overview mode works great for a strategic overview and you'll spend a lot of your time on that, where performance isn't an issue.)

    The AI isn't very good. There are "minor factions" that have one city and don't really do anything all game. They just sit in their city waiting to be conquered. The major factions do things, but tend to do things that don't make sense like put their Sovereign (the king, basically) in positions where he can be easily killed. If your sovereign dies in enemy territory it's game over, so that tends to make things easy.

    The worst problem is the combat system. Tactical battles don't feature things like Line of Sight or walls during city sieges. They're simplistic, and in many cases reward the player for standing still and waiting for the AI to charge. There's a morale system, but most of the time it doesn't matter and when it does it doesn't make sense. In a large fight your morale goes down if you start the fight as the weaker of the two armies, even if you're *winning*.

    The combat damage system is simplistic and just plain bad. Damage is calculated with simple linear random numbers (the roll is 0 to your attack power, minus zero to their defense power). The results once the numbers scale up are wildly unpredictable, you'll see units with 17 defense take no damage, and other times the same unit take the maximum possible damage as if it had no defense at all, and get one-shot. Because of that the sovereign and champion units get weaker as the game goes on, eventually being largely useless except for the Teleport spell in the face of trained units with huge attack scores. The whole thing just makes late game a mess.

    Stardock has a reputation for sticking with and patching games into good shape, and that will probably happen this time. Unfortunately Stardock is also developing a reputation for releasing games that are buggy and unfinished, and they did that this time. It needed more time in development then it got. Take a pass on it for now and check it out again in a couple months. What you'll find will almost certainly be a good game.
  30. Sep 8, 2010
    This is a hard one. I bought it v1.05 and that was horrid. 1.06 better, 1.07 much better. This might well become one of the great games of all time. But at the moment it is ok. Its fun and there is plenty of game to have fun with but if you can peak into the future you can see what this game should become, should have been at launch time. Should you wait or buy now? I immensely pleased that I did buy this game and that I did stick to it through the first few bewildering games. Now I love it. As it is I would rate this a 7 as it might become a 9 so I will compromise and give the developers the benefit of future improvements. Expand
  31. Apr 23, 2011
    I think one stat sums up the state of this potentially excellent game. 51 patches - and the game STILL doesn't work properly No - you didn't read wrong. 51 Patches. Is this a record? These are all official patches (though Stardock claim many are "Beta" ) and the game is barely 8 months old. YOu can't claim they aren't doing something to fix it, but from the outside it looks like, rather than make a planned and concerted effort to get to the root of the problems (and the game had many on release) the devs are running around like headless chickens relying on user feedback to correct/recorrect and tinker with no real thought of an end goal.

    51 patches (one every 3 days on average) tells me there is no real plan going on here. Beta or otherwise, corrections are made, recorrected, deleted, remade, tinkered with , discared then re-introdroduced in slightly varying forms.

    The same could be said of the bugs - both hardware incompatitbility AND gameplay bugs (The game offers no challenge what-so-ever - it's a punching bag where some AI protagonists do absolutely nothing all)

    8 months after release and over 50 patches - and STILL the same issues as it had on day one. CTD's, OOM's. The forums are full of people saying "Quest broken" and "AI does nothing" "Game slows down to crawl after 60+ moves" Not just one or two moaners, but forums packed with people having the same issues they had at release.

    At time of writing they have 1.19n out, that's ,the 14th patch since 1.19 alone - they get around this by sayng they are all BETA patches..dunno about Beta how about making just BETTER patches eh?

    Stardock are also very ban happy about people who are cheesed off waiting for the game to be playable - bearing in mind this game costs almost £40 in the UK (over $60) it was on it's own as the most expensive single player PC game released in my local Game store in 2010, only a couple of special edition MMO's cost more (Cataclysm pack and FFXIV pack cost £5 more each)

    So when people are upset aftyer 8 months, 51 patches and a very expensive game that is still unplayable the developer calls them out for"whining" and claiming that he "hates people with a sense of entitlement" (these phrases are still on the Stardock forums - check them yourself).
    If you love 4x games - the wierd thing is Stardock made Galciv, they made the 4x lite Sins of a solar empire, they made the excellent Demigod. 3 total classics. THis is another in-house game from the same team.

    It's as if they turned development over to the interns - or their pre-school kids. I hope EWOM turns out to be ok in a few months.For now I recommend anyine interested gets Master of Magic from GOG (transparent DOS box set up - no config required) or Dominions 3 from Shrapnel, maybe even Age of Wonders II - but give EWON another 6 months and check the forums for yourself. At the moment the game is an exercise in frustration.
  32. Oct 30, 2010
    This game looked and sounded very promising before release. When I fired it up for the first time after buying it, I thought to myself that I was playing a shareware game from 10 years ago. Remember shareware? Bad UIs, graphics seemingly drawn with crayons, lack of documentation... Elemental hits all these marks. There is also a lack of exciting content. There is no variety of teams or factions to play - a problem brought on by the sandbox design. You create your own custom units from a pool of base types and gear. The story is nothing original. The game just utterly lacks drama. Also the magic system is awfully boring. Master of Magic is still 10x better than this game. It feels like Stardock put everything into designing the engine and technical details but forgot to give this game a heart. They had been pretty fast with new patches right after release, but I notice that version 1.1 is still not out and even that patch will not give this game the total revamp it needs. After a very rough release (lots of bugs, crappy AI, lack of direction for new players) I doubt this game can recover. They are better off sweeping it under the rug and putting out a new title next year, using what they learned from this bad experience. Expand
  33. May 5, 2012
    This is a very interesting hybrid that samples from my favorite game genres. Part city builder, part turn-based strategy. I'm still not sure if it has enough depth to be considered a true 4X. It reminds me alot of the Heroe's series with some building and diplomacy elements thrown in. Still very fun and worth a purchase for around 25$. I realize this game fell flat on it's face at release time, but since I bought it 6 months ago, I have not experienced any technical issues with it whatsoever. Recently I got my hands on the beta version of Fallen Enchantress and I am thrilled. I kind of wish Stardock would implement more depth to resource gathering and building aspects of the series, but all around this game I consider to be a must have for my library. Expand
  34. Aug 30, 2010
    This game is just plain bland. I'm an old-timer when it was come to strategy games. Maelstorm, MoM, Moo, Civ, HoMM, AoW, Dominions, Disciples, CTP, King's Bounty...etc. I've literally played them all! This new game from Stardock has got to be the worst of the bunch in the last twenty years. To be fair, I haven't encountered as much crashing as some other people mention, but there is sooooooooo much UI clunkiness and design stupidity that makes the game just plain frusturating. Even if the UI was easier to work with, there's hardly any game to be played with.

    Magic is surprisingly unimaginative and unimportant. (Why is this game called Elemental?) Champions? Forget it, just keep building stacks of swordsman and you'll conqueor the world in no time! Don't waste your money on this piece of turd -- if you want a Civ-like game, wait for Civ 5. If you want fantasy combat, buy King's Bounty. If you want another game like Master of Magic -- good luck, you won't find it here.
  35. Aug 31, 2010
    There are, with the current patches, still a few bugs. However, considering Stardock's track record and the patches so far I'm sure these will be resolved son. The game itself is fantastic, masterfully combining RPG elements with classic 4X game-play. While there is room for improvement, I am sure that the full potential will be realised, going on what Stardock have outlined as content for patches, hence the high score. If you enjoyed Galactic Civilizations, then you will enjoy this. Expand
  36. Feb 14, 2011
    Elemental War of Magic might seem like a promising game but beware! It is packed full of bugs, UI issues, gameplay issues, balance issues and stupidity. DO NOT BUY IT!

    Each patch makes things WORSE which is another reason I suggest you stay far away from this Stardock tragedy. Memory usage went UP (1.4 gigs) as did crash frequency (pretty damn often) when they patched to 1.1.

    They tried
    to increase complexity by simply doubting various resources and splitting benefits into two tech trees. This makes the game slow and cumbersome and removes any advantage of research.

    Gameplay mechanics like trade do nothing and several times upgrades did not do what they said and in fact seemed to do nothing at all. It's pretty hard to play a game when nothing does what it says.

    Also vision is broken (you can't see things on the map). Movement is broken (you can't move according to your movement rate). Monsters are broken (looking at a stack gives you incorrect information about it's contents. Questing is broken (there are two types of quests [which makes no sense] and in two games I was unable to get a to a level where I could access any of the available quests. Units are broken in several ways.

    Saving is also broken as you can't save keystroke/game progressions but only a fixed state. Conclusion: play Civ 5/4/2 or Alpha Centauri if you want a great 4x game. Play Galactic Civilizations 1 if you don't like Civilization and STAY AWAY FROM THIS PIECE OF CRAP.
  37. Oct 12, 2011
    Elemental: WoM is probably one of the saddest episode in gaming history. Great idea for a turn-based strategy game but sadly it's unplayable, boring, childish, buggy and empty. I played nearly 10-20 hours not counting my older saved games.
    It's probably enjoyable for 6 - 10 year old children but not for me who played many unforgettable hours with HoMM, Disciples, AoW and other TBS games.
    wanted to like this game but sadly it's a disaster. Expand
  38. May 21, 2013
    This game is entirely broken and really not playable. Its probably the reason why SOASE: Rebellion is expensive now.

Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 19
  2. Negative: 7 out of 19
  1. 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.
  2. Dec 23, 2010
    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]
  3. Quotation forthcoming.