Sunday, December 16, 2012

Age of Fear 2: The Chaos Lord Gameplay Review

I'm playing Age of Fear 2: The Chaos Lord, a fantasy turn-based strategy game by Leszek Sliwko.

This sequel is turn-based, using an alternating system. There are two campaigns, each offering branching missions (you choose which is next) and units that carry over to the next scenario. The missions are quite challenging on the “fair” difficulty setting, offering scripted encounters against lots of enemy units. You can recruit new units between missions and upgrade existing ones based on the experience they have earned during battle. Beyond the campaign, Age of Fear 2 has online multiplayer (though you have to know your opponent’s IP address in advance, as there is no matchmaking) and offers the campaign missions as single battles you can play from either side. You cannot create true skirmish battles on randomly generated or predesigned terrain using units of your choosing. Age of Fear 2 also lacks an interactive tutorial, although the text-based help is decent enough. Age of Fear 2 is available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux computer systems. The interface offers an icon-based list that displays units that can still move, allowing access to special abilities from said list. Age of Fear 2 does not support the mouse wheel for zooming in, nor does it have a minimap. Age of Fear 2 does feature an impressive array of units of varying skills and abilities, beyond simple health, attack, and defense ratings. Items can also be equipped by heroes when they are awarded after a skirmish. Each turn allows a unit to move then attack (if possible). Dice rolls and the attack and defensive values are used to determine damage success (a clearly displayed percentage available before you issue an order), so there is luck involved in the combat. Since the odds are almost always severely against you, a couple of poor dice rolls can mean the difference between success and victory. Age of Fear 2 features innovative moving restrictions that allow you to shield ranged or hero units from the enemy by placing stout protectors in between; this raises the tactical bar of the title and makes the combat more interesting. The AI continues to be solid overall as well. Still, Age of Fear 2 is not really a true sequel (more like an expansion pack), since it offers few upgrades (new campaigns, new units) for owners of the first title. That said, this incremental upgrade retains originality due to the movement-shielding mechanic.