BattleForge - multiplayer hands-on

Once you’ve got your monuments and plenty of power you can cast any spell in your deck on-the-fly, as long as it’s within range of a friendly unit. Of course, newly summoned creatures suffer from a brief summoning sickness, which prevents you from spamming them behind enemy lines.
Most of the game focuses on co-op gameplay, though there are zones for one vs one and two vs two matches. We tried a four player scenario involving rescuing villagers or peasants… or people.

Whatever they were, we didn’t find out before being ruined by the computer, which had a number of more advanced fire/red creatures. We were told that the scenario we picked had several more goals, including at least one boss fight. Had we been better at working together, we could have saved the people and discovered that missions frequently have as many as eight objectives, several boss fights and you can team up with up to 11 other players – Hey, it was our first time.

Above: Something like this killed all our guys

The next map had us escorting several flying ships to a safe area while they were attacked by increasingly tough enemy units. The ships decided it would be better to fly out one at a time and not wait or ask if we’re ready. It makes sense from a “challenging gameplay” perspective, but it made things hard for us. They died and we lost.

Eventually, we beat a couple easier singleplayer scenarios. Our rewards were a few low-level cards and some gold. Turns out, any multiples you collect can be used to unlock upgrades. For instance, collect two Ice Guardians you can combine them to increase their damage or the number of Guardians you’ll be able to summon at one time. For those who’d like an unfair advantage, preorders come with four fully upgraded, unique looking units.

With the open beta beginning in a few days (Feb 28), you’ll have a chance to see what’s going on in BattleForge soon. Overall, our action-freaks like the way the cards simplify resource management, but we’re not so sure we like the idea of buying boosters and individual cards to supplement our deck. With players setting the bidding prices on their cards and the emphasis on co-op gameplay, we’d say price vs fun will depend on the quality of the community BattleForge creates. We’ll find that out when the game is released Mar 24.

Feb 24, 2009