The Order of Dawn

Format: PC
Bigben Interactive/JoWooD Productions
Age Restrictions: 11+

Click here for a free downloadable demo.

In their immeasurable greed and constant thirst for power, the thirteen most powerful Mages of all time doomed the land, hurling it into an endless spiral of chaos and despair. Entire countries were wiped out in the blink of an eye when the devastating power of the Elements was unleashed - Elements summoned by dark rituals. The prophecies tell of a human. A human damned to immortality, bound forever by the power of the blood runes. The time is near, when the power of one may change the destiny of many. For better or for worse...

First impressions of Spellforce: The Order of Dawn is not a very good one as we had to download a patch to ensure that the game worked at all. Seeing the "Incompatible System Configuration" error messages as the game starts is going to annoy users - although apparently this will only be a problem on systems with Intel-Chip Sets with the Intel Application Accelerator (Intel Busmaster IDE-Driver) installed and on nforce2-chipsets with ForceWare 3.13. Not only that, but if I had managed to get the game to start there is a long list of other bugs that hadn't be fixed by the developers before this was launched to an unsuspecting public.

To make matters worse the patch takes over 5 hours to download, if you have a standard modem with dial-up connection, and it gets worse. The chances are if you have a standard connection it will get dropped before it is totally downloaded and you won't be able to continue downloading where you left off, which means you will have to start from scratch. It's really only going to work if you have a broadband connection and, sadly a lot of the people who have bought this game won't have access to that. So, not a very good start. Bad news for BigBen, because some users may just take the game back to where they purchased it from because it doesn't work.

Now, I don't know about you, but the mere fact that it is going to take me the best part of a day to load a game onto my computer is going to put me off giving it a glowing review. In fact, it had better be the best damn game on the market. I don't want to have wasted a day of my life for a naff game. So, already the game is set to get 2 out of 10... and I haven't even started playing it.

So I was happy to discover that the game is everything it should be. There are a total of six races for each player to choose from (Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Dark Elves, Orcs and Trolls) and more than 30 different enemy races, from cowardly goblins to powerful demons and dragons. A multitude of spells, divided into different categories of magic (white, black, elemental, etc.) There are also impressive 3D graphics with zoom levels from isometric to 1st-Person-views.

Now this is a very impressive game - and one that is certain to appeal to the Lord of the Rings fanatics out there. It's challenging, engaging and looks fantastic, but unfortunately the fact that it was rushed through development without being tested properly means that we are giving it a much lower score than we should (The game itself is worthy of 9/10). The fact that you may have to mess around for ages downloading patches means that we are going to be harsh.

Think carefully before parting with your money.

Nick Smithson

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