Game Review


Elemental ScreenshotElemental: War of Magic's release has been a well chronicled one. In a year of some pretty epic failures such as APB, Command and Conquer 4, Crackdown 2, FFXVI Online, and some others, Elemental's flawed release has still managed to etch its name in history. What makes this game different than the others noted, however, is that Elemental's story does not end with a stillborn launch, but continues to this day. As of this writing, Elemental has hit 1.09e, and is just short of a milestone patch looking to put the final finishes on what may the greatest post-release metamorphosis we have seen this year - NOT.

Central to the game in Elemental is the sovereign. This avatar of godly might is special in that he's the only person in the world able to cast magic (aside from the other sovereigns that is). Since he's so special, citizens in the world are flocking to his side looking for him to give them a home, a place to farm, and a sense of direction. These sovereigns are so powerful that if you kill an enemy sovereign, their entire nation will commit suicide because they just can't handle making decisions on their own. Thankfully, sovereigns are neigh un-killable in friendly territory so long as they have a friendly city to respawn in. Wait, the AI regularly sends their sovereigns on suicide runs into enemy territory? Guess we'll have to wait for a patch for that. In an ideal world, this is where I'd talk about how the customization options give each sovereign their own personal feel. Except (and you had to have seen this coming), they don't, with anyone smart abusing the hell out of the Royal trait, giving themselves all the spellbooks they can, and then stat padding intelligence and wisdom, since using anything other than magic is silly thanks to the games (lack of) balance.

Speaking of Magic, anyone notice how lame the magic system is? For a game called War of Magic, having a bunch of direct damage and summon spells doesn't cut it for me. I wanted more stuff like the Volcano spell instead of fireball variant 364. Actually, just more spells in general would be nice, because the choices right now aren't great. Tactical combat is not that great either. It's a kinda bone dry "my side goes then your side goes" type of affair, with absolutely no character to any of the animations. On the royally boring scale established by his majesty King jg4xchamp, the tactical combat in Elemental rates somewhere below Dragon Age's combat. Never before in my 4X history have I wished the auto-resolve AI wasn't bone-**** dumb in its decision making, because man is tactical combat a drag on a man's soul. The astute reader will no doubt notice that I'm not referencing any of elemental's oh so famous technical issues. That's because, as of the latest patch, they've gotten pretty good at being rare. Stardock does have their resources fully committed to bringing this game up from the hell it's trapped in, but all the good will in the world won't help you when your basic framework is about as consistent as the tone of this review.