SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2013)|
The original box art for SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars
|Release date(s)||Shadow Wars
|Genre(s)||Real-time strategy, role-playing video game|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer, online (see below)|
SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars is a video game which employs both real time strategy and role-playing game elements, created by German game developers Phenomic. It is a sequel to their 2003 release SpellForce: The Order of Dawn and its two sequels, SpellForce: The Breath of Winter and SpellForce: Shadow of the Phoenix.
SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars was followed by SpellForce 2: Dragon Storm and SpellForce 2: Faith in Destiny, with a third and final sequel, SpellForce 2: Demons of the Past, released by Nordic Games GmbH in January 2014. In October 2007, SpellForce Universe Edition was released which contained all previous SpellForce games and expansion packs.
SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars requires the player to lead the main character and his band of heroes in forging new alliances to combat the invasion of the world. The game allows extensive co-operative campaigns for up to three players online or via a local area network.
The "SpellForce" series stands out from the other sequels in the series as one of the few releases attempting to fuse the role-playing game and real-time strategy genres; similar games include Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.
The role-playing game aspects of SpellForce 2 parallel games such as Diablo, Diablo II, and Sacred in character development, skill trees, equipment customization, and top-down isometric viewing. However, the capacity to control multiple heroes often makes the gameplay comparable to that in the Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter Nights video games.
The real time strategy aspects of SpellForce 2 mirror the Warcraft fantasy real time strategy games. These include the ability to control several separate factions such as "The Realm" (humans, elves and dwarves), "The Pact" (dark elves, gargoyles and shadows), and "The Clans" (orcs, trolls and barbarians). Each faction has its own individual troop and building types.
SpellForce 2 has several game modes, including campaign mode (expositional), skirmish mode (real time strategy based), and free play (similar to campaign mode but without an overarching plot). SpellForce 2 can also be played cooperatively or competitively in multiplayer mode.
Users can only save their progress while playing in campaign mode.
The tactics for SpellForce are common to those used to successfully complete other role-playing game and real time strategy games. RPG character development requires a player to obtain experience as well as high-quality armor and weapons. In campaign play, these rewards are maximized by completing optional side-quests.
Real time strategy portions of the game usually involve building a camp, which is most often defended in its infancy by the characters, then typically involves marshalling the maximum number of troops to a point of conflict. While army composition does matter, unit micromanagement does not appear to be a major factor in real time strategy success.
The player can control up to six characters, and will also have the opportunity to be accompanied by one or more non-player characters. The main character, or avatar, can get to level 30, while other party members can only get to level 24.
The main character (otherwise known as the "avatar") controlled by the player is a Shaikan, a character who has the blood of the dragon Ur. The dragon blood allows resurrection of the avatar and his or her followers, as well as the ability to summon followers instantly to the avatar's side.
As the avatar returns to the Shaikan fortress, small groups of dark elves have already started attacking. In a desperate attempt to save those caught off guard, the Shaikan enlists the help of the humans at a nearby outpost. After buying his or her people a chance to retreat, the Shaikan's patron Ur sends the avatar off to warn and unite the forces of light (humans, dwarves, and elves) to battle with the help of a dark elf heroine, Nightsong.
The avatar travels to Norimar, which is led by Baron Ordbragndt, to convince him to help the Shaikan. The Baron does not feel threatened, but decides to help when news arrives that the dark elves are attacking. The avatar presses through the advancing elves and sounds the Horn of Norimar, a device fashioned by the dwarves which causes the pass to collapse and blocks the dark elf advance. The avatar returns to the Baron, then leaves for Sevenkeeps, sealing the vault of the undead and passing through Rushwater Downs to deliver supplies and to free them from a siege by the forces of the Clans. However, upon arriving at Sevenkeeps, King Ulf arrogantly states that the dark elves are not a threat and gives the avatar the Westguard, a neglected piece of land that no one has found useful. The avatar and Nightsong are angry that Falmar backs up the king and decide that, since King Ulf is unwilling to help them, they will acquire the help of the dwarves of Underhall and the elves of Dun Mora. However, to get to Underhall they need the ambassador's permission. The avatar acquires a special potion which revives the dwarven ambassador after he collapses from drinking, grief-stricken that he cannot return home. The avatar also gains the support of Jared, who catches the plague but is revived by the avatar's blood and pledges to fight for him.
The avatar then helps the dwarves of Underhall reclaim their mines from an evil sorcerer and a frost witch, thus gaining the alliance of the dwarves. The avatar's party then heads for Dun Mora, the home of the elves, where they meet up with their sister Shae, an elemental mage. The party is granted an audience with the queen, who informs them that the elves are under the spell of several ghosts and that every night they are assailed by demons. The avatar agrees to help the elves and they destroy the demon army and their gateways to Barga Gor. Securing the alliance of the elves, the avatar then heads for the Clans Fortress of the Needle, where they defeat a massive army of orcs, trolls and barbarians. They then make their way to the besieged Shaikan fortress. With the aid of the Realms, they defeat the army of the Pact, but they are too late as a massive demon has devoured most of the Shaikan and the fortress is in ruins. The Realms refuse to help in the avatar's quest for revenge and so the avatar turns to the Clans for help, thus beginning the second act of the story.
|This section requires expansion. (September 2013)|
While the game originally featured a central online matchmaking service, this service shut down in 2009. Originally, the developers announced that a new contract for resuming matchmaking would take effect around July 2009. However, as of February 2010, the online matchmaking is still unavailable. Multiplayer is still possible via LAN or by using a service such as Hamachi.
|This section requires expansion. (September 2013)|
Many of the criticisms of the original SpellForce (e.g. poor integration of role-playing game and real time strategy aspects, a confusing interface, and an overly cumbersome real time strategy system) were improved upon in this sequel. While many reviewers indicate that SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars is one of the best hybrid games to date, most acknowledge that it presents little innovation for either of its role-playing game or real time strategy genres.
- "SpellForce 2: Demons of the Past". GameSpot. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
- "SpellForce Universe Edition". IGN. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
- Official SpellForce webite
- Auran SpellForce 2 website
- SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars at MobyGames
- SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars (Collector's Edition) at MobyGames