Editor’s Note: This review was compiled through singleplayer gameplay only, as the reviewer did not have access to multiplayer at the time of this writing. A multiplayer review will be written if it warrants a change in score.
“You are a boy who was born to a poor peasant family and lived in a small village. As a child you were curious and inquisitive of everything. People, plants, animals, the world around you was an endless source of knowledge and adventure. As you aged, your knowledge grew as well. With your developed sense of being, you realized you were destined for more. Sure, you mastered your father’s trade, but in your heart you were always destined to be a…”
That’s where the journey begins in Eador: Masters of the Broken World (successor to Eador: Genesis), a turn-based strategy game from Russian developer Snowbird Games. Initially, a class is chosen by the player, be it Warrior, Scout, Commander, or Wizard, each unique in its own way. After choosing one, the mage that discovers the demigod acts as a guide on this journey. These four classes will have the opportunity to branch off into one of four subclasses at the arrival at level ten. Not only is the game turn-based, but it intertwines some familiar RPG elements into the mix as well. The choices made in the game are all rooted in turns. Major decisions such as traveling to a new province, constructing buildings, and entering battle are allowed once per turn.
The layout and structure of this world are all on shards. The backstory of the game gives insight on a world that was destroyed and broken into pieces. Each shard is divided into many provinces that are conquerable. This can be accomplished by either taming the inhabitants by befriending them or threatening their lives. It’s up to the player which decision they want to follow through on. Fair warning: These decisions will affect future outcomes of the story. The game does a great job of being incredibly dense. With the amount of content provided by the provinces and construction, there are a bundle of things to occupy your time outside of battle. There are buildings to be constructed such as workshops for weapons, temples and entertainment structures to improve the happiness of the citizens, trade areas for the buying and selling of goods, and a military for raising men. The game has numerous layers to it which enriches the experience. The game provides a list of each province that gives insightful information on each. Lists hold information on what creatures live in an area and can even show the attitude of the people. The greater the duration of time spent exploring on a section, the more things on each are made discoverable. Not only are items discoverable, but players will encounter battles as well.
Battles in this game are one of the many keys to success. Before a battle is hashed out, a synopsis is given on the terrain and the enemies, as well as the amount, that are about to be encountered. The game will give a message either along the lines of “The enemy doesn’t stand a chance” or something related to “You will not survive.” While these messages give an idea of what to expect from battle, they aren’t always accurate. After seeing a couple of these messages, I found myself barely making it out of a battle, with little errors on my behalf, I might add. For the most part, there will be two options when it comes to discovering a battle: one can flee or engage in the battle (highly suggested if the odds are favorable). A third, not always available option, is the option to negotiate. Negotiation is only possible with enemies as long as they are human or English-speaking creatures. While great options are to be had with negotiation, the real magic (sometimes literally) starts when engaged in a strategic battle. When the battle begins, characters are placed on an organically designed field that is overlain and separated with hexagon shaped spaces.
The level of initiative for each team is the deciding factor of who can arrange their army and navigate the field first. As the battle commences, each side begins to move their army towards each other. A character can move further than the others depending on their speed. Stats are available on the fly with a right-click on any character on the field of battle. Battles take time and strategy to pull off successfully. As the number of characters increase on the field of battle, the more thought has to go into maneuvering or even keeping certain soldiers stationary. Soldiers are available for hire from the Garrison such as slingers, who can attack enemies from afar, archers who can attack from either further, and even gargoyles later on who have the ability to fly over the map and attack an enemy. After all characters have performed an action, the offensive player ends their turn and awaits the opponent’s decisions. Unfortunately, I did run into a few bugs while battling. I would see the result of the attack before the animation even started, which took me out of the experience and lowered the intensity of the battle. There are many dynamics to battle that are to be had. Terrain changes from battle to battle and other environmental alterations are just a few things that keep each battle feeling fresh.
Eador: Masters of the Broken World is an incredibly dense game that layers itself well. Battles take time to learn and are rewarding when victory is achieved. The game could use some polish is some areas, but overall, it looks fantastic. The music is grand in scale and intensifies any action taking place, resulting in an experience strategy-lovers can sink dozens upon dozens of hours into.