Jesse Woo
E3 2015: Legends of Eisenwald Preview
They've taken the hobbits to Eisenwald!
07.02.15 - 6:08 PM

Legends of Eisenwald is a low fantasy, medieval, turn-based strategy game from Belarussian developer Aterdux Interactive. The game strives for a realistic setting "without the idiotic bikini chainmail for female heroes," and I can appreciate that. This fully 3D game is evocative of a medieval European landscape, and looks decent if rather understated.

Gameplay mostly involves traversing the map with your hero, encountering NPCs and exploring towns and castles. There, players can take up quests, buy equipment, and complete objectives. For instance, the demo saw the hero retrieve a horse and lance for his knight, which he then outfitted to greatly improve its combat effectiveness. In addition, holding a castle will grant control of the surrounding towns, which will pay tributes and taxes for you to collect. Castles also train new soldiers and are the most reliable way to build your army, although you can hire mercenaries if you need a quick boost to your ranks. However, don't expect the kind of castle-building mechanics you would find in a Heroes of Might and Magic game.

Setting your army's formation is vital to combat, and you are allowed to place units in one of three lines. The front line is for melee fighters, the middle for archers, and the back for mages. Unit placement is important because there is no movement cost in combat; melee units can only attack the nearest enemy, so you must be sure to protect your more vulnerable units behind a strong front line.

Legends of Eisenwald Preview

Different weapons also have different effects; for instances spears get a pre-emptive strike and cudgels can stun foes. Players must consider these effects when building their armies and attacking in combat. Unit abilities such as counter-attacking and poison are another consideration. Combat itself appears difficult, requiring players to think very carefully through each move. In fact, the developer showed us a battle that was so hard he could not beat it even after two tries.

We did not get to see much of the story, but the developer promised a story-driven campaign where choices matter. He also said the game had a similar amount of text-based content to Pillars of Eternity and the main campaign will run about 50 hours.

Legends of Eisenwald will probably appeal to diehard fans of the turn-based strategy genre or those who like punishing difficulty. If that sounds interesting, you can check it out on July 2, 2015.