May 25, 2012After realizing that Warlock: Master of the Arcane is a strategy-title and not a Civilization-clone, I'm left with a well-crafted game about fantasy warfare. The game eases me in with a clear interface and then opens up a deep well of varied content to explore. Multiplayer is unfortunately missing, but the AI is a surprisingly competent opponent and if you like your 4X games to focus on strategy, you will find Warlock to be one of the top alternatives today.
Generally favorable reviews- based on 190 Ratings
May 9, 2012Does anyone remember the combat in Civilization 4? Yeah, it was pretty tedious and annoying, wasn't it? Thankfully, Warlock: Master is a civ-style turn based strategy game all ABOUT the combat! Gameplay revolves around the 4X style of gameplay (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) and while the game RIGIDLY follows that formulae, the way it does so, combined with a friendly user interface, fantastic graphics and a variety of units with distinct appearances and situational modifiers allows for tons of replayability, completely nailing the "just one more turn" aspect of these civ-style games. The most interesting feature I found in this game, however, is the ability to allow for multiple "worlds" to exist in the maps you generate. These "worlds" are basically separate maps you can access via portals on the main starting map. These additional worlds provide unique or rare resource nodes as well as monster dens that, if destroyed, yield very powerful spells. These worlds, are of course absolutely TEEMING with powerful monsters, to the point where they often overflow into the main map, so they aren't exactly something you can just claim unprepared.
Now, time for the breakdown, this score is based on a 10 point system:
Presentation: 8. Graphics and art style manage to be both cartoonish AND badass, but nothing really unique or too interesting.
A.I.: - 2. The A.I. is sort of all over the place, no matter the difficulty. Making the game harder seems to just give the A.I. a resource advantage rather than making it play smarter.
Gameplay part 1: - 4. I'm knocking 4 points off for the hideously bare bones diplomacy system. Or, lack thereof. Every so often a rival player will attempt to extort money or mana out of you, and your ONLY two responses are "WAR!" or to capitulate to their demands. I suppose this was the developers way to try and foster a cut-throat mindset in the players, by attempting to make war an inevitability rather than something that can be avoided. If you aren't currently attempting to murder the crap out of an opponent, stealing their land to add your glorious war machine, you're plotting how to.
Gameplay part 2: +3. I'm giving 3 points back due to the aforementioned "glorious war machine" thing. Because while combat is the sole focus of this game, it manages to be DAMN GOOD. Every battle, every personal campaign I have launched or fought, every one of them has felt like an epic siege. The developers took the combat system from Civilization 4 and 5 and made it actually fun and interesting. For one thing, you can't stack units on the same tile. a single squad of units is a significant time and resource investment, which means you'll be handling a siege consisting of maybe 3-5 squads at any given time. That may seem like weaksauce weakness at first, but combine that with the spellcasting system and suddenly you've got 2 squads of black minotaurs with VAMPIRIC AXES and immunity to ranged attacks, leveled up and specced for city attacks laying waste to your enemies defensive fortifications while your shamans constantly heal them to full health while you're waiting for your Apocalypse spell to finish charging. And yes, there IS a spell called Apocalypse, it's basically the nuke from Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword, except in this case it actually DESTROYS CITIES and is a GUARANTEED one hit kill to any and all units in a 3-hex diameter radius from the epicenter. The only reason I didn't give all four of those points back is because naval warfare is really... lacking at this point. There are only 2 naval units at this point, as far as I know, and none of them are any good at damaging the various sea serpents that plague the oceans (which incidentally are capable of killing your ships in 1-2 hits) Transport ships are a non-issue, as moving a land based unit onto a water hex automatically spawns a transport ship for them.
Music/Sound: 0. No points given or taken away for this, as the sound effects and music are exactly what you would expect, nothing spectacular but nothing horrible either.
Graphics: +1. Looks pretty without bogging down my computers framerate (I have been playing this game on a 2011 Acer Aspire laptop with AMD Radeon HD 6650M graphics card)
Mics. : +0.5. I'm giving a bonus 0.5 due to the fact that I can skip my opponents turns by clicking the mouse repeatedly. Final Score: 7.5
So close to perfection, but a few nagging problems keep this game from being perhaps the best 4x turn based strategy game I have ever played. Hopefully the negative elements can be fixed through either patches or expansions. I mean c'mon, as much fun as I have duking it out against the other empires on the field of battle in this game, it would be nice to be able to ally myself with another empire so I don't feel like it's just me against the world all the time.… Full Review »
May 12, 2012Where did last night go? Do not play if you have anything pressing to do (like eating / sleeping) because you'll find your eyes twitching and your bladder bursting and realise a) it's 4am and b) you've been playing just one more turn for 6 hours straight. Warlock:MotA is a combat-centric turn-based strategy game that clearly loves the fantasy setting it uses so well. You play as a great mage against a number of other AI controlled mages, each one raising an empire using one of the three selectable races of humans, undead and monsters. The hexagonally tile based world is imaginative, colourful and full of unique touches like portals to different worlds (that you can visit and settle in), and monster-invested caves that spawn evil meanies if left alone. Every unit feels real and unique and can be upgraded with perks through buildings, experience or magical blessings. Trust me, losing a buffed up and beefy veteran can tug at the emotions, not to mention the purse-strings. The magic system and variety of buildings, units and upgrades makes for a deeper experience than first appears and the (almost) constant stream of monsters adds a nice layer of variety. It's the little things also, like the creeping dread of scouting the land knowing that an ogre or elemental could be hiding under the fog of war. Such encounters, especially in the early game, can prove lethal. There are a few shortcomings, such as the lack of keyboard shortcuts, underdeveloped diplomacy and a poor manual but the game itself plays very well and the Â£14.99 price is bonkers. Also, donkey knights.… Full Review »
May 11, 2012Excellent, lovingly crafted 4x game. Centered around combat, fun diverse units and spells. this is a highly polished Masters of Magic Style game made up to date. The AI is pretty good defensively, could perhaps use some work on being more agressive, but for the price there is a TONNE of content to play through, and a free multiplayer patch coming up soon. VERY highly recommended if you loved the old MoM Games.… Full Review »