Review by Sean Sands
This is the latest effort by Stardock to properly execute their vision of Elemental: War of Magic , the 4X strategy game we gave 70% back in PCG 219.
It's a solid turn-based strategy game. You begin with a single hero, found your civilisation and employ strategies both aggressive and diplomatic to further your aspirations for world domination. Through expansion, subjugation and the wielding of grand magics, you move armies across the battlefield to kill wandering creatures, gather lost treasures, carry out quests and capture towns. These are familiar game mechanics, and though highly competent, Enchantress never really feels like it's pushing the boundaries.
Strategies for meeting one of the four victory conditions – ranging from world domination to completing a grand quest – depend on you pursuing technologies to advance your cities, or military, or to further your magical research. The three options are equally viable, and multiple playthroughs create worlds with wholly different dynamics that offer plenty of replayability.
The art aesthetic tends toward bland, with occasional points of interest scattered across a brown landscape. But the AI provides a reasonable challenge, scaling through nine difficulty settings, and there's a host of options for fine tuning the world, the enemies and your own civilisation. Notably absent is a multiplayer option.
This standalone expansion passes the fun test in a way the previous games didn't. Though it was inconsistent in presenting an engaging world, I still found myself deep in the just-one-more- turn mindset.
Stardock's most enjoyable version of their Elemental formula. Despite the familiarity, 4X fans will be enchanted.