After much anticipation the new Warlock: Master of the Arcane game shows up. It's a turn based strategy game not unlike Civilization.
Note that this is a first impressions post and not an actual review. The reason why I put this up here is because I want people to be able to get the idea of an average turn mid game one a normal sized map, on normal difficulty with pre-generated great mages and with normal ambitions ... as quick as possible. To save you from being too over-eager and buying this game. It definitely have problems but I've had around 4 hours on this game to try it out on so take this with at least a little grain of salt.
Unlike strategy games - this game is incredibly fast paced which is incredibly refreshing but there's something odd about it. Something that makes me drowsy and about to fall asleep. It's so action packed with so many features and play styles that has been adhered to as well as looking cool, but what is the problem. I put a dozen enchantments on my already overpowered minotaurs and march them off to take an enemy city - which they do without barely losing much hp. I then build some ghosts that during a few turns manage to take another city from the rival mage. Two or three turns later his entire army shows up to retake it and I sit there, almost offended. This question naturally springs to mind: "Why didn't he do so to begin with?" and I start to see a fatal flaw in the game. Just like in civilization the computer plays far too defensively and it struggles to remove my ghosts because they are apparently immune to all damage forms other than spirit damage, yet they're incredibly powerful death magic fighters. I sigh and try to keep myself awake.
Something is seriously wrong. I'm bored... playing a computer game. If it was civilization and I were repetitively tapping the "Next Turn" button I would have understood that but in this game there's always something going on. To the point that every turn it forms a queue like a to do list. First I gotta make sure that my cities are building buildings. Then all my idle units needs orders. Then reports of all the orders of construction finishing. I look it all up and oops - it looks like my spell has been researched. Gotta click on the next button to choose what next to research. Then a quest comes up. Kill that unit? Since there's no punishment if I fail this time: Okay! Then I look it over and slowly drag my mouse over to the "Next Turn" more horrified over the next queue of tasks that I need to oversee rather than the actual actions of my competition. They still haven't touched any cities I've even founded. Most of my armies are off, fighting surprisingly tough critters such as wolves, bears, cockroaches and the like.
Suddenly I realize why I'm so drowsy. This game is not like a game at all because there's no stakes and no real chances of losing the game. It has great ideas and great implementations that show great creativity, but it's boring! There's no way I'll lose continuing like this. The dread and threat Montezuma unpredictably starting a war in Civilization IV before researching Construction is gone and forgotten. In its wake is a pile of tasks to finish. That is the dread of the "Next Turn" button... and I don't like it.