SpellForce 3: Fallen God is the second standalone expansion for Grimlore Games’ SpellForce 3, a blend of real time strategy and RPG. A PC exclusive, we tested the game through Steam.
It’s been almost three years since SpellForce 3 came out, and even though it’s not the first game people will think of in the RPG or RTS genres, it’s been a personal favorite of mine and a game that successfully blends two genres without either one feeling like it was tacked on as an afterthought. Fallen God, like Soul Harvest, doesn’t change that, but it does introduce a few novelties.
A big change in Fallen God is the introduction of a new race of trolls, which aren’t just units but are carefully introduced complete with a background story and their unique gameplay mechanics. Because of this, there’s no need to have played the previous SpellForce games or even SpellForce 3, and because of the new race the introductory phases of the game are interesting enough for veterans as well. You’ll learn that you’ll be in charge of leading your troll tribe to salvation after a life of being hunted. Your way out of this life is to bring back a fallen god, which is at the core of the RPG experience in the game. Even your culture gets explored, bringing a narrative richness to the RTS portion once that kicks in.
While there’s a narrative in place, your characters aren’t as predefined as you’d perhaps expect, and you can select character classes for your main characters. While an RPG trope, this also translated to the RTS gameplay, and the same is true for some of the decisions you make in the genre – narrative choices can affect your characters and thus the gameplay. In a game that centers around trolls – often pictures are strong brutes without much depth behind them – this all represents a welcome change within the fantasy genre, empathising with a race so frequently used as a mere stereotype.
And although the trolls are front and center in the RPG part of Fallen God, the RTS mechanics are far more diverse, letting you gather resources, build up bases and construct/recruit units for your armies – which very often aren’t trolls but sorcerers, knights and ranged units instead, many of which gets upgraded through battle in an RPG kind of way. In a way SpellForce reminds me of the Battle for Middle Earth games because there are so few RTS titles with a fantasy theme that have a large scope like this, especially with Warcraft now being more of an MMO than an RTS franchise.
I also still think that SpellForce 3 is gorgeous to look at. Seeing waterfalls cascade down in a fully 3D environment that is also very detailed never gets boring, also because the game world is rich with buildings, diverse environments and many different unit types. If you use the RPG genre as a benchmark then you’ve got games like third person action RPGs like The Witcher to compare it to and it’s hard to see why SpellForce is such a good looking game, but think of a more classic RTS and isometric RPG perspective and Fallen God is stunning.
There’s no word on a SpellForce 4 yet, but Grimlore’s highly polished gameplay experience in Fallen God sure makes me hope that it’s going to be on the horizon at some point.