Eador: Masters of the Broken World Review

14 May 2013

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Independent
Developer:Snowbird Game Studios
Release Date:2013-04-19
Genre:
  • Strategy,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
There's a long-standing tradition of strategy-RPG titles built upon the framework of King's Bounty, Master of Magic, and Heroes of Might & Magic. These games defined the genre of mission-based games where you control armies led by heroes across a map, collect resources and take part in turn-based combat against your enemies. While the specifics of these games are different, it's very common to still see their influence in the RPG world, and Heroes of Might & Magic in particular stands as one of the best and most influential strategy games ever made.

Eador: Genesis was a game which is clearly built in the Heroes of Might & Magic mold. Created by Alexander Bokulev, a lone Russian programmer working for 3 years almost entirely on his own, it gained a modest following, and those who did play it recognized it as an undiscovered gem. Snowbird Games, with the collaboration of Bokulev, recognized this potential and have now brought us an enhanced remake of Genesis with Eador: Masters of the Broken World.

Eador: Masters of the Broken World (or just Eador: MotBW for short) is still just as good a strategy-RPG as the original one, with extremely deep and interesting mechanics, and more complexity than might initially meet the eye. But unfortunately, it's hard to fully recommend just yet. Read on to find out why.

Story

The premise of the game is that you are what's called a Master - an immortal being of incredible power and influence, who inhabits the Astral Plane. Once, all lands were connected to each other as a single planet, but a great cataclysm split it into pieces, and now those pieces drift about as Shards within the Astral Plane. As a Master, you compete with other Masters who inhabit "the Astral" to assemble the Shards of the broken world into a new whole - but as each Master represents a different ideology or has the interests of certain races of mortals in mind, they are constantly in competition with each other; thus the world is continually reformed and broken once again.

Eador: MotBW shares almost everything in common with its precursor, including all its story, units, races, and the vast majority of its game balance too, so if you've played Genesis then this will be nothing new. Even so, the game's story and writing, even though translated from the original Russian, are actually very interesting and well-told, riding a fine line between humor and intrigue very effectively. This is a rare thing to see in a strategy game, but it keeps you motivated to return to the game and pick up the next piece of the puzzle, or get some more background information on a new Master, or other snippet of lore.

One of Eador's most interesting ideas is how your low-level actions influence the greater events and story of the game; this is accomplished with its karma system. Most actions you take while fighting other Masters for control of a Shard will steer you towards chaos or order - rely on summoning undead or hiring thieves to do your dirty work, and you will push yourself in a more chaotic direction, while the opposite is true if you help your citizens peacefully and rely on lawful units like priests and knights. Your karma will influence which Masters become your allies and enemies, which also eventually leads to multiple endings to the campaign.
 
 

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