The RTS genre has long dominated the PC market. However, console gamers yearn to be included in this captivating and time-consuming endeavour. Yes, a few titles have made their way onto PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch, but not enough for my liking. SpellForce III Reforced tries to mix things up with its eclectic blend of mechanics and fantasy themes.
Developed by Grimlore Games and published by THQ Nordic, this is an RTS RPG hybrid. Furthermore, it is the remastered version of the 2017 PC exclusive SpellForce III. This console edition has been successfully ported and gamers can enjoy the additional DLC in the complete version. Alternatively, it can be purchased separately at a later date. So, shall we see if the jump to console has worked? Yeah, let’s wait no longer and take a closer look.
SpellForce III Reforced: jack of all trades, master of none.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, jack of all trades, master of none. Well, that’s pretty apt for SpellForce III Reforced. This is one hybrid title that takes it to the next level. Consequently, there are plenty of ingredients to play with as you progress. Unfortunately, though, none of them truly excels, and this somewhat dampens down the depth and complexity. However, this shouldn’t put you off, as its multi-faceted approach will entertain you throughout.
The story revolves around the hero Tahar and a group of mages known as The Circle. A deadly plague is sweeping the realm, and the protagonist and their group of adventures must somehow stop it. The plot takes place before the acclaimed SpellForce: The Order of Dawn. Consequently, fans of the series must adjust their timelines to get their bearings.
If you are a newcomer to the franchise, you may worry about being out of your depth. Fear not, this can be enjoyed as a standalone title! Moreover, the drip-fed lore and excellent storytelling drag you into this grim and troubled world.
Base building, resource management, and real-time strategy.
What I loved about SpellForce III Reforced was its eclectic blend of elements. Now, the aforementioned lack of depth is a concern, and purists may dislike it, but I wasn’t worried. I adored how the action flitted from one area to another. Whether you were expanding your kingdom, building your base, or manifesting an army, it was captivating. These elements nicely support the RTS battles and are akin to a stripped-down Age of Empires.
The fights focus on each unit’s strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, the chosen race influences your approach and your tactical advantages. Elves, humans, orcs, and dwarves dictate your style and which element you’ll dominate. Further to this, your resource management is key if you wish to succeed. As more advanced troops become available, more complex ingredients are needed. Subsequently, you must balance a larger army with more specialist units.
SpellForce III Reforced has a classic look.
Baldur’s Gate and Diablo are excellent examples of isometric viewpoint titles. Luckily, SpellForce III Reforced can be added to that list. With its detailed characters, deep and moody tones, and excellent environment, it looks fantastic. What’s more, the RTS elements aren’t overwhelming, and the action flows perfectly. I encountered no frame drops, glitches or bugs during my extended playtime.
What isn’t so good, sadly, is the flat audio. It does a good job of installing that fantasy feel and whimsical magical edge. But this quickly falls away as the acting is dry and the sound effects are uninspiring. Don’t get me wrong, they are serviceable, but they lacked energy and were the weakest element.
Surprisingly good controls.
My biggest fear with PC ported games is the controls. Thankfully SpellForce III Reforced has done an excellent job with its user-friendly approach. By using a radial submenu, the UI isn’t as cluttered as expected. Further to this, a lack of in-depth abilities ensures its easy to understand. Alongside this, the isometric viewpoint makes it straightforward to handle your troops and control your party. This was key when traversing large areas or scanning any landscapes. All in all, it’s a comfortable transition from PC to console that should be applauded.
As expected, this oozes both replay value and longevity. This is helped in part because of the excellent multiplayer options. If you tire of the single-player mode, you can play competitively against the AI and friends, or cooperatively. You can experiment with a purely RTS mode, try a campaign mode across multiplayer maps, or compete in an arena. Whatever you fancy, they add a nice distraction from the main event.
SpellForce III Reforced is an excellent remastered title.
There is no doubt that Grimlore Games has done a fantastic job. My only concern is its lack of depth across each specific genre. However, its hybrid design does enough to keep you interested throughout. What’s more, as a console player, it is nice to experience this much-loved title without the investment of a decent PC. All things considered, I enjoyed it and I recommend you to buy it here! Can you lead your army to victory? Expand your lands, thwart your enemies, and destroy the plague that’s spreading like wildfire.