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While This Title has an unusual concept - mixing a trading card game with an RTS - it has the potential for hugely varied strategic play, Phenomic have delivered a bit of a let down.
When BattleForge begins, you're dropped into a training ground - the Forge - where you learn about the interface and your cards (deployable units). Testing units' abilities involves putting them on the screen and watching their health bars go down. Once you're ready to play you pick a deck of 20 cards, which define what you can use in battle.
Phenomic have tried to vary your choices with four types of cards with different foci (eg Fire is offensive, Frost defensive); the option to set up multiple decks; and making rare cards available in booster packs. As you only get 64 cards to start with buying new ones is essential if you want an adaptable, or even decent, library to make decks from.
An eight-card booster pack costs 250 BattleForge points (about $2.20 in real money) and contains five standard, two uncommon and one rare card. As there are 200 cards to collect, it'll be a while before you get the lot, as you'll end up with piles of crap, duplicated, and crap duplicated cards. The good news is the game comes with 3,000 points -enough for 12 boosters - and you can sell and buy cards at in-game Auction houses or swap them with other players.
BattleForge's battles lack any base building, instead forcing you to fight for power nodes and monuments. The nodes allow you to deploy units guicker, while monuments let you build higher quality units - the more, monuments you get, the better the units. This means that PvP battles start with a rush to secure the first monument, as whoever gets there first wins the game - usually within five minutes of starting.
The PvE storyline is fantasy twaddle, but it does offer co-operative play, which is a pleasant experience. As you advance, maps increase in size until they reach a player limit of 12. These wars can get a bit manic, as you might imagine.
Despite there being a single-player storyline, don't think this game can be played offline. All your cards are stored on a remote server, so no internet connection means no decks and no game.
BattleForge runs smoothly and is pretty enough, with a wide selection of large units to choose from. However, battles see you going up against the same units - the ones players have identified as being the best. So the only real variety BattleForge provides is on paper. This is sad, because Phenomic have put lots of effort into packing content into this game.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP