Aug 28, 20104A 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
Aug 25, 20100This game is fundamentally unfinished. There's just a pile of problems. At the beginning of the campaign, the game will ask you to buy weapons. I looked everywhere on the UI, the map, etc.. I had no idea how to build the weapons that my heroes were to equip to win the battle against the black widow spider! The game gives no advice whatsoever.
Now, you can only see 5 "action icons" on the screen at any given time, and it has back and forward buttons to cycle through the list. It turns out, the game defaults list show items 2 through 6 rather than 1 through 5, so you actually have to cycle BACK to get the icon to buy weapons.
These kind of UI bugs are all over the place, and the game equally innept at telling you what to do as the tutorial (the campaign) is just awful at doing it's job.
There's also a pretty nasty UI bug with the ESC key. Go to any dialog box in the game and press the ESC key. Go ahead, press it a few more times. Nothing will happen. Now, click the "x" at the top-right corner to close the dialog... and BAM! Now, the options menu comes up. When you close that, it'll actually show the options menu as many times as you hit ESC before the game finally takes you back to the overworld map. This is really awful. ESC is so commonly used to get out of dialogs... how did they test this?!
There is also not much aural component to the UI. You won't hear any sounds when hovering over buttons, or pressing in a button. Actually, some of the buttons don't even look like something that is clickable. The game just feels hollow as there really isn't any aural feedback to the user, which is so common in games these days (or the last decade or decades...).
Sometimes I get the impression that some screens were done by novices while they had their better developers on other parts of the game. Nonetheless, it's just shoddy and inconsistent.
Things that should be together, like character portraits and their respective actions (things they can do like attack or buy gear) are on totally opposite parts of the screen.
There was also a time where the mouse wheel didn't properly zoom in and out of the map. I had to scroll super fast just to get very minor movements of zooming.
Overall, the game is just unpolished, and after 10 minutes, I couldn't put up with anymore.… Expand
Aug 25, 20101This 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!… Expand
Aug 26, 20100Broken. 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.… Expand
Aug 27, 20103While 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.… Expand
Aug 29, 20103Score (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.… Expand
Aug 30, 20100Major 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… Expand
Sep 2, 20100This 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
Sep 2, 20101Currently 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.… Collapse
Sep 2, 20103(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: http://forums.elementalgame.com/394855/page/2/#2753014 )
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.… Expand
Sep 9, 20103So 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
Sep 6, 20103This 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.
Sep 4, 20104Having 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
Sep 4, 20100Unfinished 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...… Expand
Sep 7, 20104Another 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!
http://forums.elementalgame.com/394855/page/2/#2753014 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:
http://scarsofwargame.com/DevBlog/?p=1452 So, basically, Brad says he was so in love with the world and the game that he lost sight of itâ… Expand
Apr 23, 20112I 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 ..at 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 Â£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 Â£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.… Expand
Oct 30, 20104This 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
Aug 30, 20103This 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.… Expand
Oct 12, 20113Elemental: 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.
I wanted to like this game but sadly it's a disaster.… Expand
Dec 23, 201060The 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]