Just one more turn, just one more battle, just this one more upgrade. Those are the true signs of any good turn-based strategy and were the signs that the magic riddled strategy game Fallen Enchantress was a great and entertaining game. Unfortunately, it is difficult to play any strategy game without comparing it to the Civilization franchise and Civilization this game was not. It was difficult to get hooked at first and the pace of the game was not optimal. However, there were a bunch of areas Fallen Enchantress did really well. The addition of magic to the game really worked, as well as the individual combat adding another layer to the strategy portion. As long as you come into the game understanding it’s slight imperfections, Fallen Enchantress can offer hours of great entertainment.
On the good side, Fallen Enchantress added a few great features not seen often in strategy games. One of the best additions was the use of magic both in combat and in the world. Combat magic was the sort we are all used to when used in fighting, fire bolts, confusion, lighting strikes. Nothing of note on the combat side. It was in the building phase of the game where magic really took on a different role. You could cast magic on territories to improve production of certain resources or give trained units special powers such as fire weapons or faster movement. Magic spells could be cast on enemy armies, hindering their progress and abilities without having to engage in open conflict. All of these spells, both in and out of combat, were controlled by a collective mana pool that all units and spells drew from. Like any other resource in the game, mana was produced at a certain rate each turn based on territories and upgrades. The execution of the magic system was fantastic in Fallen Enchantress, and any strategy looking to add magic to its repertoire should take note of what was done here.
Another great layer to the Fallen Enchantress strategy was the individual combat. Rather than battles being resolved purely by stats and virtual dice rolls, each battle was decided by a turn based fight between your units and your opponents. Instead of always losing to a superior force according to the numbers, you could give your tactical prowess some flexing and try to out maneuver the force. Depending on the compliments of your force, you could easily use a spell or powerful skill to change the tide of the fight.
The biggest complaint I had with Fallen Enchantress was the pace. The beginning of the game was slow and hard to get in to. Your territories could only build a few upgrades and train weak units such as the Pikemen. Even placing a huge army of weak units together wasn’t enough to take on the early game enemy armies. The pace did pick up. My cities were cranking out important buildings, my research was uncovering the secrets of special magic and important civil interactions. Even my armies were strong enough to take on difficult fights and even take over key territories on the map. However, before I could even reach some of the highest leveled units and research, one of the enemies made a jump at winning a magical victory. Luckily, I was already poised to win on that same condition, but was waiting to enjoy more of the game. So unfortunately, the AI rushed me to a quick end I was not ready for. In the future, I will definitely specify which victory condition I want the game to end on.
Although it was a slow start, Fallen Enchantress is a fun strategy game and interesting in its innovative use of magic. It does not have the polish of the typical Civilization caliber strategy, but once your a few dozen turns in, those minute blemishes are easy to forget. Although, the game comes at a hefty price tag for a lesser known title, you’ll get more bang for your buck in terms of playing time than most AAA titles out there. If you’re looking for a fresh, magical take on the strategy genre, Fallen Enchantress is a good place to look.