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Let the magic rise
The Spellforce saga is a generally interesting set of games which mixes RPG elements with those of the real-time strategy genre to decent effect. If you've never played the series before, this is actually a good place to start as it combines the original game plus its expansion pack, The Breath of Winter. The background here is one of the main appeals, as the series takes place in a well-realized fantasy style world full of magic and other familiar elements, with the player taking control of a resurrected mage tasked with an epic quest. The gameplay here is sort of similar to the Battle Realms game, with that mix of RTS and RPG although this also adds in hack 'n' slash style gameplay too if you want. There are six playable races on offer here, which gives the game some nice variety, while the main attraction is the lengthy single-player campaign. The Breath of Winter expansion keeps the same kind of gameplay but adds in some new enemies, new runes, co-op play and a few other bits and bobs. For fantasy fans, Spellforce really is a bit of a treat. Although games which fuse genres often don't work all that well, here the two disparate elements work almost perfectly, and the game feels very slick and smooth as a result. The background material also fits into the gameplay well and adds a lot of appeal, with much to discover and which is pretty interesting. The visuals too are nice, with some attractive environments to explore that are packed with detail. All in all, this is a fine fantasy romp.