Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic
|a game by||Gathering|
|Editor Rating:||6/10, based on 1 review|
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is probably the pinnacle of turn-based strategy titles to date. Proven game developer Gathering has produced yet another winner in the Age of Wonders series, this title having you taking the role of the forces of Good to defeat a powerful and mostly unknown entity from another dimension intent on conquering the known world.
Those out there who have enjoyed such titles as Warlords and the Heroes of Might and Magic series will have an advantage of sorts, in that basic gameplay is similar. But thankfully, the developers have deleted the outdated 'stack'? type of battles for a more balanced, 3-dimensional angle to movement, even allowing for 'quick battles' in case you want to cut straight to the chase. also boasts excellent racial delineations, well defined characters and NPCs, and possibly the best AI that I've ever gone up against. Graphics are top notch for this style of game, and in-game audio is also excellent, with fantastic thematic elements to set the mood.
One of the nice facets to this game is the Simultaneous Mode, which allows players and NPCs to react at the same time. This makes for good multiplayer as well. AoW:SM uses the familiar if not fantastic GameSpy Arcade for multiplay connections, and while I noticed no real flaws in gameplay, even on a 56k connection, there were only a few people taking advantage of the GameSpy client at the times I was able to check in.
A word to the wise: While AoW:SM has an easy to use interface and basic moves can be figured out quickly, it is also a very richly appointed and complex game. Even skilled turn-based strategists would do well to give the manual and excellent tutorial a quick look to pick up some of the finer nuances of the game. Highly recommended for all gamers, as this title raises the bar for all successors.