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Orcs & Elves Package Art
GENRE
RPG
DEVELOPER
Fountainhead Entertainment
PUBLISHER
Electronic Arts
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
No
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
No
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Orcs & Elves

id Software presents their first new intellectual property in over a decade with the arrival of Orcs & Elves. Your goal is to find King Brahm, who has been forced deeper into the dwarven mountain by an invasion of orcs. This premise starts the player off on their adventure, as you take the role of elf warrior, Elli. However, Elli will remain silent throughout the title, as your wand, Ellon, has magical attributes that bring it powerful spells and the ability to speak. While this story may seem basic for most RPGs, the plot offers a few twists and turns and acts as a catalyst toward the turn-based combat.

visuals

Immediately, players will be reminded of previous id Software staple, Doom, because of the 3D environments intermixed with sprite-based enemies. The environments will span from the Great Hall to Twilight Cavern, but most players will remember the onslaught of gray walls. The title will offer some new color palettes and environments as players delve deeper into the game, but nothing stands out as impressive.

The sprite-based enemies are detailed, especially the orcs. The most appealing aspect of the game is the transparency of ghost dwarves or shadow enemies that demonstrate how powerful the presentation could have been. Gamers should also note that players do not have full control of their character, as the turn-based nature only allows for ninety-degree movements. This lack of movement should allow for greater detail on environments and characters, as Metroid Prime: Hunters surpasses this game graphically in every way, while also allowing total 3D control. While the overall presentation is clean and appealing, the graphics definitely illustrate the mobile roots of the title, which was first developed for cellphones.

audio

The musical theme for this title evokes a sense of a grand adventure and provides a moving, triumphant tune. However, this initial music will eventually fade, as players will be more aware of the sound effects of enemies and characters. These sound effects are presented in a surround sound, which is a nice touch while wearing headphones. Players will hear fire crackling to their right or a were-rat attacking from the left. In addition, humor is presented through the burping effects of a somehow drunken dwarf. These effects help give the title a more immersive feeling, yet more musical diversity would be appreciated.

gameplay

Orcs & Elves is a classic first-person, turn-based RPG. While the first-person presentation may exhibit a quicker pace to the action, it really boils down to the same combat present in the original Final Fantansy. Players will switch turns with enemies as they attack and cast magic to win the fight. In other words, players can expect all the staples from other RPGs, such as potions, swords and magic, along with the introduction to the game-specific talking wand. This wand becomes integral to the combat, as it garners new magic abilities during specific parts of the game; however, the wand is far from earth-shattering in regards to the gameplay.

One of the main additions to the game was the inclusion of a stylus control and a second screen. The stylus control method will allow gamers to ignore the face buttons and play entirely through touch functionality, which is far from ideal. Instead, gamers will move faster and control Elli easier by a combination of the face buttons for movement and attacks and the stylus the menus. As for the second screen, it proffers no major innovations, but streamlines the game by showing the map. The map is extremely helpful, as the redundant rooms are hard to differentiate from one another.

The combat system does offer a fair mix of strategy, allowing players to become either a long-range attacker with the wand and crossbow or a brute, using the sword and eventual war hammer. The ability to change weapons on the fly is crucial to succeed, as each enemy contains a weakness, such as an orc's susceptibility to fire. Veteran gamers should choose the difficult setting upon starting the game, as the normal mode seems far too easy. But the inclusion of stat tracking adds some replayability to the title. This allows players to see stats that range from number of drunken turns, induced from dwarven ale, to their overall score.

multiplayer

N/A

overall

This title is a strong addition to any gamerís library, as it offers solid turn-based combat along with a good presentation. The audio is solid, yet unremarkable, and the graphics sufficiently perform their duty. In addition, players should be aware that the game ends in just under the five-hour mark. This pales in comparison to other RPGs available, but it does come with a bargain price of $19.99. While veterans may praise the traditional combat, newer gamers may wish for something faster-paced and innovative. This showcases the conundrum of the title. For a new intellectual property, it surprisingly falls back on the basics and brings nothing new to the table.

final score 7.4/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Evan Campbell
Staff Profile | Email
"Real men don't fight ó they sing!"


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