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Visually striking battles, intricate maps and an intuitive interface make this a cerebrally satisfying and accessible fantasy strategy. Pleasantly non-linear, it offers hours of fun as you quest to retrieve a stolen spell. There’s some party micro-management here, but Legacy is mainly about turn-based combat. You must consider the unique skills of your units (dragon or archer for example), their skill levels, their specialist tactical advantages and how they work within specific terrain. Stealth units will thrive in forests and shrubbery while your knights will get entangled and die.
Missions are undertaken by your heroes, who, along with the other units, skill up as they progress. You have to remain constantly competent with abilities and how they interact. Mistakes will cost you a mission, as the AI has greater numbers to throw at your dwindling forces. Hugely entertaining battle scenes erupt as you crush the enemy beneath your gleaming blades (feet, teeth, etc). Death screams, victorious yells and blood-spattering gore all add to the fun. And in multiplayer you can create your own battlefields.
The devs have responded to the criticisms leveled at precursor Fantasy Wars but flaws remain. Legacy is difficult, even on Easy, and would have benefited from play testing by casual gamers. The Gold, Silver and Bronze challenges to unlock extra content are frustratingly tough and the plot borders on the cheesy. Even so, this offers sufficient substance and challenge in a nostalgic, turn-based package reminiscent of the earlier days of gaming.
May 4, 2009
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