PC disciples-3-renaissance-hands-on

Published on May 1st, 2010 | by prime

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Disciples III: Renaissance

Russian games always tend to be a little darker and much deeper than Western titles, and the same goes for this medieval strategy from Akella. The Disciples name has been big news in gaming since the first chapter was released in 1999 and after five years in development, the third chapter is finally ready to be trotted out to the gaming public. Disciples III is already shaping up to be a belter and we’ve finally got our hands on a build.

During an impressive opening cinematic, the game reveals the fallen angel which becomes the center of the plot. Each of the game’s three factions wants to utilize the sought-after savior to their gospel, Legion to resurrect their fallen leader and the Elves just want everyone to get along. There are a total of 19 missions on offer and the plot’s supported by an abundance of text and video, perfect for those who relish their fantasy fiction.

Each mission begins with players appearing on epic-sized maps which take multiple turns to traverse. Any movement is governed by a blue bar and when it runs out the only option is to take another turn. The same restrictions are applied to enemies, so rather like chess you’ll need to think of your moves carefully. You’ll need to scope out resources to support your forces, visit NPCs for quests and keep an eye out for enemies.

Fighting efficiency is governed by what accessories and abilities are available to your hero. Just double click the portrait on the sidebar and there’s a plethora of RPG progression to choose from including skills, items and a variety of gauges to increase. The customization possibilities are frankly staggering and sure to encourage plenty of competition between players online.

When enemies are encountered the gameplay shifts from the campaign map to the zoomed-in battle mode, where keen strategists can place their characters in whatever formation they wish before laying waste to enemies. The turn-based battles look fantastic in motion, taking advantage of the powerful new engine. Magic attacks are particularly impressive, putting melee combat to shame. Again, each attack, move or buff is governed by points, so don’t leave your units at the mercy of your enemies without due course.

Monster design is also varied, taking cues from the old world including werewolves, cheeky bandits and even a Kraken. The variety on offer makes the battles seem less routine and, during our few hours of play, we encountered an exciting roster.

This franchise has been off the radar for a decade but with a sequel as detailed and enjoyable as this, it’s sure to make a triumphant return.

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