Etherlords II Review

Turn-based strategy combining role-playing elements, we delve into the world of Etherlords II.

Review by Darren Cartledge
Published 2nd April 2004

Etherlords II

  • Developer: Nival Interactive
  • Publisher: Deep Silver
  • Release Date: 19th March 2004

At first glance, Etherlords II looks pretty much like an RPG title, but take a few moments to play and you’ll soon discover an absorbing turn based strategy game similar to Magic: The Gathering.

Set in the world of Ether, Etherlords places you in the role of a single hero from one of four races. Much of your time is spent travelling around an RPG style map where you can collect resources such as ether which is the life source of everything in the Etherlords world and is required if you are to cast spells during the games duelling sequences.

The game also features an RPG style level-up system, each time you defeat an enemy in a duel you are given experience points, once a certain amount of points have been acquired your hero then levels-up enabling you to upgrade one of his skills that become important during battles.

The games RPG mode is very linear and at times has an almost automatic feel about it. Occasionally you are given a choice to fight one enemy or another but the developers have made it so you have to fight the enemies that they wanted you to as you will often find the path you need to take to complete your current campaign blocked by such enemies.

During duelling sequences you have access to 16 magical cards; you do have access to more although they must be in your active deck before the start of the duel in order for you to use them. The developers have also thrown an element of randomness into the game as your cards are dealt to you in a random order during each duel. It’s a nice touch and really requires you to think about which cards to save and which to use straight away. You could say it really highlights the strategy element of the game.

Spells in the game vary quite a lot and range from simple creature summoning spells to spells that inflict large amounts of damage on enemies. From the start spells can only be used once per duel but as you progress through the game you can upgrade your hero so that you can use the same card numerous times in the same duel. Also unlike in the first Etherlords game you get to keep all your cards after each duel instead of simply discarding them. It’s a nice tweak to the original system that lets you swap and change your active deck around to suit the enemy you’re about to face.

Etherlords II also features a multiplayer mode which adds to the games fun and replay value, you’ll probably find the game a little more challenging playing against real people but at the end of the day the victories will be a whole lot more satisfying.

Graphics wise Etherlords II offers a bit of a mix, duel sequences look great with nice background and environment and some excellent spell effects while the games RPG aspects are pleasant to look at, they are a little bit basic. Sound in the game is a bit of a let down, the voice acting has severally been over done and the rest is pretty much instantly forgettable.

Overall Etherlords II provides an improved playing experience over the original game. Anyone looking for a strategy game that’s a little different from the usual crop of games should take a look although it should be noted that its campaign mode is a little weak.

Review Score: 7/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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