Warlords 4: Heroes of Etheria

RPG 2003 Windows UBI Soft Fantasy Strategic scope Turn based

Fast-paced and fun fantasy combat

This fourth entry in the popular Warlords franchise of fantasy strategy RPGs maintains the series' reputation for high quality but offers a notable shift in play-style over previous games which may alienate some fans while attracting newcomers. Previous games focussed on diplomacy and management in the fantasy setting, but Heroes of Etheria strips away these more complex elements and is more interested in combat. This plays out in turn-based fashion, and sees players attempting to conquer cities but unusually battles are conducted one unit at a time, rather than multiple units simultaneously. There are ten races to build your force from, each with their own specific units with advantages and disadvantages and which can be mixed and matched to create your own perfect army. Combat is surprisingly strategic, with spells and abilities adding much to its depth and generally this aspect is fast-paced and fun. Graphically, the game is a mixed bag, with some poor animation and crude sprites sitting uncomfortably alongside nicely detailed character portraits. The enemy AI is also less than challenging, making the game very easy to beat while the lack of deep strategy and management is disappointing for veterans of the series. However, if you are looking for a slightly unusual fantasy combat game to entertain for a short time, this is worth a look.

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