From Peasant to Powerhouse – Eador Genesis Review
This game was reviewed on the PC.
In 2009, Eador Genesis was released for Russian gamers to play and enjoy, while the English-speaking gamers were sadly left in the dark. Snowbird Games has recently decided to shed some light our way with an English version, now available for PC.
Eador Genesis is a turn-based strategy game that lets you build and conquer the world, be it with compassion and honour or with vicious acts of tyranny and fear. You begin by choosing the name of your starting area (your land), your character’s name and race, as well as the game’s difficulty level. The storyline is basic – you were born a peasant, but dreamt of one day becoming more. A great teacher comes to your village and helps you fulfill your potential, which begins your game and your attempt at conquest.
You can decide how you want to play the game by the type of heroes you choose. They can be fellow Warriors, Scouts, Wizards or Commanders. Just make your choice wisely: the kind of hero you create determines the resources you’ll need to focus on to build your lands, as well as how you play the game overall. If you hire a Wizard, for example, you will need resources like crystals to perform magic, and most of the lands you’ll want to conquer are those that are rich in this resource. The end-game goal is to control the majority of the land, but remember that you need to have the resources at your command to do so, so be strategic when plotting out your conquests!
Each game you start creates a randomly generated world, with different provinces surrounding your own. You never know what to expect, or if the resources you’ll need are anywhere near you either! Each province can be travelled to and explored, and you can even fight in dungeons and against enemy armies to gain power over each province. Be warned: each game’s map is created at random, you may have neighbouring provinces where your enemies are far beyond your level, so make sure you pay attention to the information you get when you travel! This can be a deterrent if you find yourself painted into a corner, unable to advance past your own province. If you start a game and you are surrounded by provinces that have level 10 armies and dungeons, for example, you’ll find you simply cannot advance in the game. Conquering provinces is the key to winning this game, as each province has its own dynamic and its own villagers, ready to make you whatever resources they have. And as any adventurer knows, without the resources, your people and your army will revolt, leaving you on the receiving end of a game over screen!
Whether an evil overlord or a shining beacon of hope, you will be deciding which way you’ll turn early on. Almost everything in-game – from buildings to people – leans in one direction or another, and you can choose who to associate with (or eradicate) as you move along. While you can be both good and evil, making conflicting choices such as hiring heroes that are inherently evil and others that are inherently good will cause issues for you along the way, and make the game harder to beat. The reason for this is that while you are out conquering the lands, you’ll run into people you need to deal with and they will be either good or evil. Negotiating with the various villages for control will be much easier if you lean in one direction as you won’t always have a big enough army to just waltz in and claim whatever you’d like to own. Your overall karma depends on your good-vs-evil choices and resources; if you are a fence-sitter in the game, people will not be as easy to sway. Keep in mind it’s also very difficult to remain good in-game, as many of your people will ask more of you than they would from an evil overlord. However, if the people are happier, they will work harder for you – this gives an advantage to playing a good and kind leader, as people under constant fear and in the midst of chaos may not be as happy.
If you have never played Eador Genesis, instead of creating a character and choosing Single Player mode, you should really start with the Campaign option. This will give you an automatic tutorial and is an absolute necessity if you want to learn how to use the menus. The different menus themselves are awkward and make you feel as if you really have to dig to get even a basic understanding of how to perform any kind of function. The tutorial relieves some of this pressure – albeit disjointedly – by walking you through the first main phases of your game and showing you how to buy equipment, fight battles, explore dungeons, and even hire armies. Though the start of the game can be cumbersome and frustrating, once you get used to the mechanics and memorizing where everything is, you’ll be king of your castle and enjoying the high life in no time!
Your army can move around to different lands on the map with the accompaniment of your hero, and as you progress, you can hire more heroes and recruit more units for your army. The bigger and more skilled your army is, the higher the chances you will have against enemies you encounter along the way. When you move to another land, there are usually caves or dungeons where you fight various monsters. These missions are done in a battle format and can help you gain experience points to level up or obtain money and resources, like crystals or iron. Many of these resources are used for building, making weapons, and so much more in-game.
The battle mechanics are in basic RPG format, with turn-based attack or defense strategy. You and your troops will move across the battle field and will attack upon reaching the enemy’s hitting range. Even if the enemy reaches one of your soldiers to attack, your soldier will automatically retaliate. You can also use spells to attack said foes from a distance (such as shooting a foe with a magic arrow) or heal your allies, though keep in mind that each spell can only be used once per fight. You can learn new spells via the Library in town.
The graphics are fairly rudimentary, reminiscent of online browser games such as Evony or Tribal Wars. You have a base map with raised castles or mountains plotted out on the map and sectioned off. The landscape art is drawn out in a classic medieval theme, with valleys and mountains surrounding large castles, or tiny village huts. Unfortunately not true to the same format, the pictures of your heroes, peasants, soldiers or enemies can feel almost as if they were simply thrown together. The images themselves don’t follow the same artistic style, as some are clearly more advanced graphically than others – even the pixel sizes vary. This does make for fairly cheesy game visuals, but if you are truly into turn-based strategy games it is no different than most in the genre.
As a newcomer you may find yourself requiring more to your game, but where the game lacks in visual effects, it makes up for with its music. Eador Genesis features a base melody that is a wonderful fit – adding gentle piano, flutes, tambourines, and various stringed instruments in all the right places to make you feel more regal as you work. The music has a medium-paced tone to it, which fits most modes of the game – whether you are conquering a land or calmly persuading your people to pay more taxes. Although the music itself does not change very often, the length of the songs make you forget you are listening to the same music repeating itself.
When you really sink your teeth into this game, it will very quickly become an addiction as you try to master the art of world domination. You can create multiple characters and each new game randomly generates your map – which will provide a welcome replay value to your gameplay experience. For such an inexpensive buy (it’s $5.99), you will really enjoy how much there is to this game. So pick up this little nugget of awesome, and become legend you know you were born to be!
Eador Genesis receives a 4.25/5.0
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