Bringing classic games back to a new audience with improvements seems to be THQ Nordic‘s mission, and Phenomic’s RTS/RPG hybrid Spellforce 2 is no different in its Anniversary Edition.
It’s been a long time since the original Spellforce was released in 2003 and I still remember it fondly despite its shortcomings. Like most German attempts at RPG and strategy gameplay, it wasn’t the best storytelling experience and was rather slow in base-building, but it was immersive and looked quite pretty. So it’s great to see the series back (and soon with a third installment that is really impressive from the first looks of it), and the perfect way to go back is with re-playing the first game and then trying out the new version of its sequel that includes the original SpellForce 2 – Shadow Wars and the add-on SpellForce 2 – Dragon Storm.
The story takes place in the world of Eo where a hero who is bound to an ancient dragon has to save it from dark shadowy powers by uniting other heroes and armies. So far so fantasy cliché, but the mix of resource gathering, base- and unit-building as well as leveling up and questing has to still be bettered. Controlling three different factions with their own unique abilities as well as a varied skill tree make this a game that isn’t completed on a weekend (or even in a week or two). The original game already looked and sounded great (although the latter wasn’t true for the voice acting in the original, but as far as I know, the now defunct developer Phenomic improved on the English voices), but the Anniversary Edition brings even more tweaks.
Widescreen support and full compatibility with modern operating systems is a given, but the graphics were also improved with grass, trees, leaf rendering, view distance, better lighting and shadows. Together with lots of bugfixing, this is the definitive version that was already released in April, but should have received even more updates by now. Don’t forget that this isn’t the complete package as with Spellforce Platinum, as add-ons Demons of the Past and Faith in Destiny have to be bought separately.
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