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Sorcerer King Review

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Sovereign and Spells:

Your existence in Sorcerer King is as the sovereign of your people and direct all of their actions, but you can also channel energy to cast spells. These spells come from the eight magic books you start with, with those containing Chaos; Enchantment; Summoning; or Wrath spells. You are able to customize the number of each book type you start with, or go with the default for your sovereign.

Some of the spells can be very powerful and devastating, like the Flame Wave spell that damages all enemies, and does bonus damage based on the shards you control. Many spells have such a bonus, and in larger maps with a couple dozen shards, it can be very devastating. Some can also place enhancements on your cities to improve their food or material production values, or to grant bonuses to units they build or are fighting in their zone of control.

Other spells are able to shape the world, raising and lowering the terrain, restoring land, and building roads. While these spells do work well, there are two issues with them. The larger issue is that you cannot chain them, or if you can, I have not discovered how. Take the road building spell as an example: you naturally will want to build a long road connecting two areas, but you have to open the spell book and select the spell for each tile you want to put a road on. Really, there should be some modifier, like holding Shift that will keep the spell active.

 

The other issue really just pertains to one spell, and that is the one for restoring land to a fertile state. You are only able to build cities on fertile or enchanted land, so this spell could be very powerful. I cannot say if it is, unfortunately, because the restrictions on using it are so specific. It affects a 3x3 area and every tile in that area must be of a certain type and cannot have any objects on it. If even one tile is not a Grassland tile or Barren tile, it cannot be used, and I think that Forest tiles block it as well, because the tile contains trees on it. This is so strict that I have yet to find a single place I can use the spell, so I just ignore it while playing. I will grant that it may be desirable to prevent the player from settling cities in any arbitrary area, but this spell just seems to be a waste to me.

There is one spell that is a great game changer, at least for now. The Cloud Walk spell allows you to teleport any unit, and the army it is a part of, to any place in your territory. This, combined with how roads work, allowed me to jump an army around the map, killing off numerous enemy armies. Like any Turn-Based game, there is a limited number of actions a unit can perform in a given turn. Roads make actions easier to do, in effect, so the cost of actions on a road is reduced or vanishes. So long as I teleported my army onto sections of road and attack enemy armies from there, action points were not used. I am not sure if this would be considered an exploit, as it is somewhat conditional, but it would not surprise me to find a patch remove the tactic eventually.

 

While these spells can be very powerful, if used properly, I personally always looked forward to the Sovereign Skills, which are abilities you unlock over time. These can give you access to crafting and enchanting items, and modify your forces in other ways. One skill, for example, makes sure all of your forces get to act before any enemy unit. Others add slots to the size of your armies, grant you a new hero or spells, and more. Each sovereign has their tree of skills, so you will probably want to look at what is possible when you start a match.

The speed of unlocking skills, spells, and earning mana can be controlled by clicking the blue, green, and purple orb beneath the mini-map. From there, you can move an indicator around the orb, giving preference to one resource or another. This can be very valuable, especially in late game when you do not need all of the resources.

 

The skills and spells you learn can definitely be used to change the tide of battles, and they have for me in many instances. They are how I actually earned the achievements associated with winning battles the player is projected to lose. The key, like in any strategy game, is to use them at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way.

 

Armies and Combat:

It only seems natural to cover combat now, following the spells. In the beginning of a game, you can feel quite underpowered, which is appropriate. You are the weakling trying to achieve greatness at this point, so do what you can to survive and grow. It may take some time, but eventually you can become an unstoppable force. Literally, if you use the Cloud Walk spell as I described above.

Speaking of that spell, in that video you may notice that I was defeating enemies from the world map. This is because those victories were classified 'Overwhelming' and there is an option I ticked off to automatically resolve them. This can speed up the game quite a bit, especially if your army is as powerful as mine was.

 

Actually, I would not be surprised if my army in that game was somehow bugged. While I did equip and enchant several items to give my units bonuses based on shards and enemy defeats, it seemed to have ballooned to the point that my army was able to instantly kill any opposing force with an attack rating multiple times theirs. Even the mighty Lieutenants of the Sorcerer King would fall instantly to this army.

For weaker armies, or during special encounters, you will enter a tactical map for combat. Here, your units will be placed on the map and you have to direct their every move. In some situations you will not have to think too much, but in others strategy is key. You will have to think about where you place your units and when best to use your abilities and spells. One thing to take advantage of is that when a unit attacks an enemy, if another unit can also attack them, they will attack as well. This makes surrounding your enemies valuable and being surrounded scary because of how much additional damage can be done this way.

 

Something else to consider is what units have the Maul ability. This ability causes the unit to continue attacking until it misses. Exploit this when you can.

Another thing to be aware of is that armies can be stacked on top of each other. You will only encounter them one at a time, but you should notice what you are going up against when you start a fight.

 

The only issue I have with the combat system is that units will take the weirdest paths to points. I have witnessed units on several occasions walking away from where I told them to go, going around obstacles not in their path, before finally arriving. Granted they get where I want them to, but why do they take such weird routes to get there sometimes?

I definitely found the combat to be enjoyable, but there is one aspect to it that is a little troubling to me. In both games I played, one on Easy (to learn the game) and the second on Normal, I was able to become effectively unstoppable fairly quickly. The game is supposed to have been designed to make you feel like you are fighting an insurmountable force, but in both experiences I was leveling mountains with ease, long before I came to the end. It will not surprise me if higher difficulty options will address this, but I was still expecting more of a challenge on Normal.




  1. Sorcerer King Review - Introduction
  2. Sorcerer King Review - Graphics & Story
  3. Sorcerer King Review - Spells, Armies & Combat
  4. Sorcerer King Review - Items, Crafting & Expansion
  5. Sorcerer King Review - Additional Gameplay Media
  6. Sorcerer King Review - Conclusion
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