Nifty turn-based strategy game (in the mould of the Heroes of Might & Magic series) developed by Russian codeshop Nival Interactive for PC CD-ROM (Windows). The game is based around a fantasy setting (with some sci-fi elements) where four races (two good, two evil) are vying for power, in the form of 'Ether', a magical elemental substance which is derived from resources in the land. As an 'Etherlord' (equivalent to a HOMM hero), you must defend your castle and send your heroes out into the surrounding lands to vanquish the enemy and complete other objectives depending on the mission.

Management of your castle/town has been scaled back to almost nothing, and most of the emphasis of the game is based around the combat system, which is in effect a moderately complex CCG brought to life on screen. Unlike HOMM, turning on auto-combat is not suicidal, and is in fact recommended to learn how to play the game. While out of combat, you have to visit different buildings on the map to purchase spells for your deck (which cost you resources), and then purchase enough runes to cast the spells in combat (effectively a number of 'charges' for each spell). There are also artifacts that bestow special abilities, and an experience system which allows you to choose new skills for your heroes when they level up.

All of the graphics (both the overland map and the combat interface) are presented in full 3D, with character models that are slightly low in polygon count but have extremely detailed textures and very, very good animation. Every element of the game's production values is top notch, which may be a result of labour being relatively cheap in Russia. (The credits list four people as UI designers alone, which has resulted, as you might expect, in an extremely impressive interface.) A sequel is expected soon.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.