The third entry in the real-time strategy and role-playing game series serves as a prequel. During my hands-off presentation, the team at Phenomic showed me all the elements that combined to create this unique game series. I’ll be honest, before seeing the game at E3 2017, I had no experience with either of the previous titles, however, after seeing SpellForce 3, I was intrigued enough to put this game near the top of my most wanted list.
SpellForce 3 is broken up into two different gameplay elements, real-time strategy (RTS) and role-playing (RPG). Even those these two genres are vastly different, the way they are presented in the game feels quite similar. Similar to classic top-down RPGs such as Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, the RPG portion of the game sees players controlling a small group of heroes. You’ll be micromanaging not only the unique skills that each one possesses, but you are in complete control of their gear. Every piece of armor you equip and every new weapon you select has unique visuals, which you can easily see if you zoom the camera in as far as it will go. It was stressed that the RPG portion would feel like a complete role-playing adventure, giving players the freedom to craft the characters in their image. The other half of the game focuses on macromanaging, as you attempt to build up your force, select a set strategy and conquer zones.
SpellForce 3 will have a powerful narrative, telling the events that led to the cataclysmic event after which the first two games take place. I was told during the presentation that the campaign should last over 30 hours, but the game will also have various online multiplayer modes. This includes up to six player battles, as well as online coop through the entire single-player campaign. Currently, the game features only two-player coop (including the option to play with AI), but the game could have four player coop by the time the game releases. The developers are still working on the specifics, but they plan to have plenty of options to customize the experience, such as giving each player sole control over certain aspects of the game.
SpellForce 3 is currently in a closed beta state on Steam, and Phenomic is planning on releasing the game later this year