Sunday, July 15, 2012

Game Review: Disciples III

Disciples III: Renaissance is a turn-based strategy game. The publisher Strategy First changed the developer from Game Factory Interactive toAkella's studio .dat. It has been working on this project since the summer of 2005.
The player assumes the role of one of the lords of Nevendaar. This new episode contains three playable races, 'The Empire', 'The Legions of the Damned' and the 'Elven Alliance', with the remaining factions making an addition in planned expansions. The battle system is completely different from that of previous Disciples games. Units are able to move around the battlefield and make use of terrain for fortifications.[5] The player's hero is highly customizable. His abilities as well as his armor and weapons can be changed. All of the equipment changes are noticeable on the actual character model.

Disciples III: Resurrection, the sequel to fantasy turn-based tactical RPG, Disciples III, returns players to the magical land of Nevendaar where the player is now challenged to lead an army of the walking dead. Fallen heroes and monsters will be under your control, as they exact revenge in the name of their dark Goddess -- Mortis.
Players will be challenged to defeat their enemies via dark magic, brute force and courage. Disciples III: Resurrection will offer players more than 70 hours of tactical gameplay, new heroes, new units and new challenges in the form of a massive undead horde

Disciples III
Released: 2010
Console: PC
Buy: Amazon (UK) || Amazon (US) ||

Disciples III is a fantasy rpg game with great resemblance to Heroes of Might and Magic with a gothic atmosphere and a variety of customization to your selected race. It is a low budget game, created from companies that I even doubt the owner's mothers are aware of what they are doing and one of the few games I have played from a polish or russian company, not sure which. The game has ambition and a very well crafted story. Overall I find it as greatly mistreated by fellow reviers and fans alike, I think it is a very well made game that deserves recognission and support. I have not played the previous titles of the series so I cannot and will not compare it to its sequels. So lets break it down in pieces and see what I saw in Disciples 3: Rennaissance and Disciples 3: Resurrection

- The game's atmosphere:
The game advertises itself as a "gothic atmosphere" and it that is one of the most accurate advertising I have seen. The game has a dark world, gothic style and as you play through the game you feel as if you are playing through a gothic fairy tale or fantasy novel. Each race has its own unique style that perfectly represents itself blending  the dark gothic fantasy with other concepts such as angels, or elves. The artwork is also fantastic and every unit, armor, city and field has an indesputable artistry in it.
I would give it a 8/10, its a great atmosphere, right on the spot. It lacks realism and polish which I do not think 
- Storyline and lore.
The game features a suprisingly well crafter world, with a unique storyline and genesis of the world, nice storyline and interesting characters. The game manages to immerse you in the story and you actually feel anxious to see how the events will unfold. Another amazing thing they have added is in the expansion intro cinematic. Instead of some cool flashy cinematic (which are always good) they instead show the events of the first campaign in full. The artwork was very nice, and the voice acting is, well i will get to that later. But I found it a very nice touch, since many players (myself included) that did not, could not, would not finish the first campaign they can actually be fully aware of what happened before if and when you start the campaign. 
I would give it a 7/10. Good story and lore, needs time and effort to be build up upon but that is not up to me. I find it a worthwhile story
- Voice Acting, Animations
The game has one of the top 10 animations I have seen in similar videogames. You see the archers pulling arrows, from their quiver, the arrows fly in a realistic manner (you barelly see them), the horses jump back in a fluid motion and their lunge to strike seems so natural that I spend hours just attacking little mobs to see the various animations of ALL the units. They are ALSO voice animated. Surelly not something extraordinary but the voice acting is amazing. It has the necessary emotion to make it realistic and not too much to make it cheesy. The voice acting and lines also change depending on the unit, so you can have them more arrogant, more dark and brooding, more maniacal etc etc. The voice acting of the narrator in the campaign mission information is awesome. It really nails the dark deep voice and it really ties down perfectly with the overall atmosphere. 
9/10. EXCELENT voice acting. However i do not give it a 10 out of 10 because it has some rough edges and misses the hollywood standard. What I am trying to say is that the way its delivered, some will like it, some will hate it.
- The variety
Despite this is also a con the game offers a decent ammount of variation. It has 3 races (4 with the expansion) and even in those races there is variation between the units since by creating one building tree you prevent the other one. So you can chose to have elven archers become shadow hunters, the "elite" sort of archers in the game, or you want to have a more support archers and go for the hydromancium or something and have your archers shoot arrows that deal a frost damage over time. Also each race seems to have pros and cons in terms of variation. The Empire has more variation in their basic infantry, the elves in their archers, the demon legions in their support units and the undead hordes in their mages. 
6/10 Good variety, drawn back by a few major flaws but overall its a very good variety and keeps replayability on the table. 

- The variety
The variety of the game though something commendable seems to be a drawback as well. Some of the branches seem overpowered and others seem just pointless leading to a standardized buildup in the game if you are going serious. This leads to certain units being overpowered and others underpowered. Which is a true shame. For example what is the point in having any sort of low level undead unit when you can just get yourself werewolves who are immune to ANY damage but elemental (not many units have elemental damage until later in the game) and just pretty much dominate anything?
- Glitches and bugs GALLORE!
Yes, this is the part where I agree with the other reviewers. The entire game seems to be drawn down to a bog of bugs and glitches and crashes. For example the elven town from being polished and very well crafted in the expansion has an extremelly annoying bug or glitch or whatever and the water from the waterfalls seems to flow..pretty much all over the place and ruins the entire scene. It also crashes more often than it should for reasons that are nonexistent. 
- Lack of effort
The game developers seem to have given up on the game. I expected them to have updates to correct those issues, fix the bugs, expand the content. build in it. However I cant really blame them, since they were hammered by reviews and the general public doesnt seem to favor the series. 

Overall I find this game a good buy. I do not regret any ammount of money paid in this game and I think that more players should support games like these. Because games like these prove that with imagination, will and good gameplay you CAN make a good game with a low budget and us gamers should support those companies. 

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