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PC Gamer has reviewed Spellforce 3:
Thanks henriquejr!SpellForce 3 review
SpellForce 3 presents a mishmash of small-party roleplaying games in the vein of Baldur's Gate and real-time strategy games in the style of Age of Empires, which initially made me wonder: If I can have an army at my back at any time, why wouldn't I use it? There's a band of trolls? By all means, send in the infantry. The fate of the world depends on defeating an evil wizard? Screw the personal heroics, send in the reserves.
For all its idiosyncrasies, SpellForce 3 is an RPG above all else. It's a smart move, as the RTS portions grant a sense of the stakes involved, while the RPG section keeps the story personal and full of emotional impact. The RPG part, in fact, contains SpellForce's more rewarding (if predictable) systems, whether it's the multiple talent trees that help you steer your companions into the roles you want them to play or the loot system that drops gear that's more interesting than what you'd expect from a hybrid RTS. Early on, when I found a helmet that spawns a goblin to fight for me, I was reluctant to give it up for objectively better digs.
All this makes SpellForce 3 is one of the finest hybrids of RPGs and real-time strategy games out there, but it achieves that distinction mainly by being one of the few. Neither of its two halves hold up particularly well compared to purer iosmetric RPGs or RTS games, but together they deliver a enjoyable experience that manages to feel unique even with its constant callbacks.
SpellForce 3 competently blends RPG and RTS games into a generally enjoyable package, but there’s not enough creative force to create a lasting spell.