Perhaps the data can be compiled to disprove my selective memory, but it seems as though when a series gets to part three that is when the developers tend to decide that it’s a good time for a prequel. This was the case with Dragon Quest/Warrior and this is the case with SpellForce 3. Taking place in the war-torn times of Eo’s history, the events of this RTS/RPG hybrid will lead the player up to the cataclysmic event that came from the ritual known as the Convocation set the stage for The Order of Dawn, allowing the players to get an up close and personal look at the infamous disastrous event.
Prequels are always a bit of a gamble in any established media. They can either uncover some of the mysteries and provide clarity for some of the events that get referenced, or they may serve as a reminder to why the main story began at the point it did. With the destruction brought on by the Convocation snafu being a significant point in SpellForce’s lore, we can be somewhat optimistic that this falls into the category of the former.
The gameplay of SpellForce 3 is divided between RTS and RPG elements, which the game presents them in a way where they basically follow the same general idea but the main difference comes from the degree of scope. The RTS aspect comes into play with the macromanagement, which involves the overall strategy, conquering zones and managing massive units of troops in full on warfare. The RPG elements are more in line with micromanagement, which is
when your boss won’t give you any breathing room and let you do your job managing the skills of all the heroes in your party, such as making sure they are equipped and properly leveled and bound to certain hotkeys to make managing combat easier.
Players will have plenty of freedom in how they want to build their army and their adventuring party. There are numerous combination of skill builds available for the player to use in creating party members so the ideal party can be assembled based on an individual’s play style. The army will naturally be the force to handle large scale battles, but any adept student of Sun Tzu will know that strategy is crucial to winning a war. How the player wishes to command their army can change the tide of war quickly, and various factors such as troop formation, terrain, and using scouts to figure out the best plan of attack will all play into military success.
In addition to leading the army, the player will need to utilize the citizens to build various structures and equipment. People will need to be dispatched to cut down trees for lumber or mine for metals and minerals to create all the necessary ingredients for warfare. The attention to detail of creating the world of Eo is impressive, as every tree that is seen on the map can be cut down and used for resources.
The deep and sophisticated story and immense world map will make completing the main story approximately a thirty hour affair, though should the player choose to traverse every nook and cranny to discover all the secrets and lore of Eo will make completionist’s quest a much longer undertaking. There is plenty to keep a solo player entertained in SpellForce 3, but since many things are better with others, a friend can play along in co-op mode through the campaign, or up to six people can wage war against each other in multiplayer battle mode. Currently SpellForce 3 is scheduled for a December 7 release this year.