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SpellForce: The Order of Dawn


SpellForce: The Order of Dawn is a video game developed by German game developers Phenomic and released on 16 December 2003 in Europe and 11 February 2004 in North America. The game was noted for its combination of real-time strategy and role-playing. It was followed by two expansions: SpellForce: The Breath of Winter in 2004 and SpellForce: Shadow of the Phoenix in 2005. The main game and the first expansion were later released as the SpellForce Gold Edition. The SpellForce Platinum Edition includes all three games. The story follows the heroic deeds of an immortal slave in the post-apocalyptic high fantasy world of Eo.

Setting

Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely

Long ago an organization called The Circle was formed with the consent of all the governments ruling the world of Eo in order to police the use of magic. Over the centuries that followed The Circle brought a golden age of peace to the world, their efforts were made easier by the discovery of the Archfire, an extremely powerful form of magic. However, this peace did not last as the thirteen leaders of the organization became aware of a prophecy that foretold the coming of a celestial body called the Dark Roamer on a specific day and a ritual called the Convocation that would grant its conductor infinite power. Shortly after the thirteen turned on each other out of greed and engaged in a devastating war, later called The Convocation War, that ravaged the entire world. Notably, the Circle used Rune Warriors as commanders of their armies, these were individuals who, through Rune Magic, could not die or age, and were able to gather the experience of countless battles inside them, with the downside being that they were forced to adhere to any and all commands of the person who holds their rune. On the day of the Convocation instead of being granted power as the prophecy said the ritual awoke the primal elements that resided in the planet's core, these entities annihilated the circle and shattered the continents of the world. In the Eight years following the Convocation, Rohen Tahir, the supposedly last survivor of The Circle, began repairing the damage done to the world by creating a portal network and founding an organization called The Order of Dawn. The game begins as he summons one of his old rune warriors to help him in his endeavors.

Gameplay

Command Armies

SpellForce is both a real-time strategy and role-playing video game played from the third-person perspective. In the game, players take on the role of an avatar that they create who explores a variety of maps, conducts quests and kills monsters, and earning experience to level up, improve skills, and unlock the ability to wield new equipment. Alongside their character, players can summon other Rune warriors who act like additional party members to help in the exploration of the game world and combat, as well as armies of military units - done through gathering resources, building structures, and then recruiting units that are unlocked as a result - to help with large-scale battles.

The courage of one will seal the fate of the worlds!

The avatars can be assigned to one of three classes - fighter, archer or mage. By increasing certain skills, players can equip their character to use new types of weapons and spells for combat. However, death does not permanently end the game – if a player has activated a monument called a "bindstone" on a map, then their character will re-spawn at if should they die in battle. In battles, players have access to a system that allows them to activate combat skills and spells depending on what is selected - if an enemy is selected, players can dictate which characters attack it, and what skills/spells are used on it. Allies that join the character level up as well, but usually remain a few levels behind the lead character; in addition, they may only be recruited by acquiring a runestone they are bound to and equipping it, with the player able to switch to other allies when needed. The game's real-time strategy elements occur when the player must use armies to accomplish objectives. Commanding the armies of the six-controllable races – humans, dwarves, elves, orcs, trolls and dark elves – requires owning a rune for their base's workers, as well as controlling that race's monument on a map. Base construction and unit recruiting require gathering resources with worker units, as well as making upgrades to access new buildings and stronger units.

The game features an extensive campaign mode that covers a series of interlinked game maps, which become accessible as players make progress in the story. During the campaign, players can engage in two types of quests: Main Quests, which progress the story, provide access to new units and structures, provide new runes for use, and unlock new maps to explore; and Side Quests, which provide optional means of earning experience and other rewards.

Free Game Mode

And the adventure continues

The players can also engage in Free Game mode - which allows players to freely do what they want without quests on any map - as well as compete in multiplayer battles with other players. Although the mode actually has a story and quests. The story follows a lone rune warrior as he unwittingly becomes part of a sinister plot.

Characters

In SpellForce: The Order of Dawn a considerable amount of characters will have their appearances. These are the most important ones.

Reception

"Making of Spellforce - The Order of Dawn" German TV broadcaster Pro7

In the German market, SpellForce sold above 100,000 units by early 2004.

Andrew Park from GameSpot said in his review of the game: ‘SpellForce's unique combination of role-playing and strategy elements makes it worth a look for fans of either kind of game.’ However, he said about the voice-over ‘some of it is decent, though the rest is fairly bad.’ The game scores a 7.4 based on 24 reviews by GameSpot for Metacritic. GameSpot later named it the best computer game of February 2004.

In the review by Dan Adams of IGN the gameplay and graphics of the game were praised, but he said about the voice acting that it was some of the worst he had heard in a while. He gave the game an overall score of 8.2 out of 10.

Alex Tsotsos from GameSpy said about the game that as a single-player game, SpellForce shines, though he said the game lacked ‘the plotline choices that mark the best RPGs.’ He also criticized the enemy AI and gave the game a score of 3 out of 5 stars.

Awards

  • 1st Best soundtrack and in-game sound SpellForce - Breath of Winter
  • Best cutscenes
  • 2nd Best cutscenes SpellForce - The Order of Dawn
  • Best interface SpellForce - Breath of Winter
  • Best graphics
  • 3rd Best mid-price game
  • 2nd Best level and game design SpellForce - Shadow of the Phoenix
  • Best role-playing/adventure game
  • 3rd Best soundtrack and in-game sound
  • Best story/lore