RPG meets RTS – Spellforce 3 E3 2017 preview

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At E3 2017 I had a chance to sit down with developer Grimlore games and get a look at their upcoming game, Spellforce 3. Spellforce 3 is a prequel to the previous two Spellforce titles by EA Phenomic and is the first in the series developed by Grimlore games.

The game revolves around one main character that the player can create and customize. Unlike the typical “choose a class” character creators that one would expect to see in an RPG, players build their characters based on their choice of skill trees. At the start of the game, you will get to choose three skill trees out of six. If, for instance, you want to make a necromancer that is really good at melee combat, but is also an elementalist, you can build that character by selecting the correct skill trees. In addition to these trees, as the leader of the party, your hero also gets a fourth leader skill tree. Instead of the extra skill tree,your companions get a sympathy bar that changes depending on your in-game choices, which affects their attitude toward you and alters their dialogue.

The first thing that I was shown of Spellforce 3 was how much the player can zoom in and out of the map. This really made the developer’s core concept of mixing RTS style games and RPG style game shine. When I first saw gameplay of Spellforce 3, I assumed it played as a typical top-down RTS game, but when Grimlore showed me a zoomed in third-person perspective, the game instantly looked like an RPG. This perspective change is easily one of the top 5 coolest things that I got to see during all of E3 2017; it left me completely amazed.

To add more RPG elements to the game, every member of your team can be customized with weapons and gear, all of which is reflected in their appearance in-game. If you want your characters to run around with just a knife, wearing nothing but their underwear, you can do that. I’m not sure how effective you will be in a fight, but it is an option.

While you will be controlling a group of up to four heroes, you will also get control of armies and cities. Using your army, you can attack enemy convoys and bases to steal resources or take land. Every resource in the game comes from somewhere on the map. If you build a village and harvest all the trees in your territory, you will have to find a way to get more wood; attacking an enemy transport for instance.

How you go about completing quests and which direction you choose to go in is entirely up to you. You can complete mission (A) using your main hero and one other companion, while sending your other two companions to complete mission (B). You can also go to an area and clear it of any enemies before even starting a quest, then return to an NPC later and do their quest with no enemy resistance.

While I went in thinking that Spellforce 3 would be a pretty cool RTS game, I had no idea how good an RPG game it would be. By the end, it really reminded me of some of my favorite RPG games from my childhood, such as Champions of Norrath and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. Spellforce 3 comes out on December 7, 2017 on PC

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