Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes is a standalone expansion pack following Elemental: Fallen Enchantress. In spite of dropping the Elemental moniker completely from its name, make no mistake, this is still a part of the same series, and it is still set in the same world- there’s been a cataclysmic magical war, and in the wake of that, all empires, led by those few remaining who can still use magic, must rebuild, including your own. Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes tasks you with rebuilding your own empire, and engaging in war and diplomacy, in a rather deft mix of turn based strategy and role playing.
The basic idea is the same as any other 4X strategy game- if you don’t know what that means, think Civilization- you’re supposed to build an empire, city by city, managing the economy by resource collection and allocation, population, military, and your relations with other empires. You have to manage trade, you have to ensure that your population remains stable and doesn’t break out in riots. There is a wealth of options available to you in Fallen Enchantress.
From deciding what kind of city you want to make- you could make it a fortress, which is advisable for the cities near your borders, or you could develop it into a slum, which leads to population growth, but rampant poverty, and consequently, unrest among the masses- to what kinds of buildings you want in your cities, to how you want to grow your empire, what you want to research, what you want your nation to specialize in, what kinds of technologies you emphasize, everything is entirely up to you in Fallen Enchantress.
Of course, all of this is old news for most long time 4X players. This kind of staggering depth and variety is simply something that they are used to. However, Fallen Enchantress attempts to differentiate itself from its genre as well, while staying true to it. For instance, take Fame. Fame is a new mechanic that the game introduces, one that just makes perfect sense in context of the game’s setting and world, and adds a lot of depth and variety to the gameplay as well.
In essence, Fame is the currency that leads you to recruit the eponymous Heroes- by establishing prosperous cities, by ridding areas of monsters, by completing predetermined quests, such as recovering ancient relics, by having, essentially, a good, functioning empire, your nation’s fame grows. As its fame grows, it attracts Heroes. Once you have enough fame, you get the chance to recruit one of two heroes, but you can only choose one, and are locked out from the other one forever (who presumably goes to join up with some other empire).
The heroes each have their own specialities, which makes the choice that much harder- do you, for instance, select the Melee hero to complement the rest of your empire’s strong melee skills, or do you select the melee one to reinforce those skills? It’s a harder choice than you think.
Heroes are necessary because not only do they add to your fame, they also lead your units and troops in battle, and over time, grow and gain more skills. Essentially, a hero acts like a character in an RPG, leveling up, and allowing you to choose skills for him from a skill tree when he does. The amount of customization afforded to you when it comes to the hero is mind boggling, and just the differentiation afforded to you via your heroes is perhaps on par with the overall variety and depth that the game boasts of.
All of this, in addition to your regular 4X strategy game fare- you grow your empire, fight in battles with impressively detailed weapons, each with their own special abilities, and with magic, you go on quests, you try to engage in diplomacy, negotiate treaties, you gather resources, you try to rebuild the world, try and learn and recover magic, research technologies and above all, you try to ensure that your empire will prevail.
The sheer amount of variety in the game, from the heavily differentiated factions you can choose from, to the choice you get in empire building, to designing your own heroes and characters, ensures that you will play it again, and again, and again, and that you will never have the same experience twice. The depth ensures that this is the kind of game that can stand toe to toe with its much more well known fellow 4X games, and not have to shirk, because this is every bit as full featured, possibly more.
It’s the kind of game that I can recommend to everyone- genre fans will enjoy it simply because this is among the best in its class, while even those who are usually intimidated by the genre will find much to like here, because the game’s setting and context makes it more exciting than the usually cut and dry scenarios that 4X games present us with. Involving, varied, deep, Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes is recommended for everyone, without any hesitation.
This game was reviewed on PC.