It is not easy to write the review of a complex game like Fantasy General 2: Invasion, above all because it reveals itself with a certain slowness to the player, leaving the best it has to offer for its advanced stages. Basically it is a turn-based wargame with maps divided into hexagonal boxes. Each square has different characteristics that affect the movement and surrender of the units on the battlefield on the battlefield.
The game consists of two campaigns, one very long and the other shorter, putting you in command of vast armies of fantasy troops, which include humans of various ethnicities, monsters, mythological creatures, undead, dragons and animals. In total, between heroes and generic creatures, there are dozens of units to control or battle with. The goal of the longer campaign, which is also the main one, is initially to restore luster to the clans of the barbarians defeated in the battle of Wyrm Pass (for more details on the plot read our old preview). Speaking of the background of the game, Fantasy General 2: Invasion is the direct sequel to a strategic one from the 90s, which has become a cult among fans of the genre, of which it incorporates different ideas and mechanics, while not giving up to completely rejuvenate the interface and add something new. To move the troops just select them and press the right mouse button on the target box, while to attack you just have to click on the enemies. The simplicity of the controls does not deceive, because the Owned by Gravity game is much more complex than it seems. But let's proceed in order.
Fantasy General 2: Invasion is divided into two sections: the general map, in which the missions to be faced are selected and the resources accumulated on the battlefield are spent to improve the army, buying new troops or increasing those already available, and missions real, usually with specific objectives related to our mission.
At the beginning you have very few units and the first challenges are really simple: usually you have to conquer some small outpost or reach a certain point on the map to get the victory. Things get complicated in advanced missions, when dozens of units are involved in combat (the number of those that can be deployed varies from mission to mission) and the objectives become more important: conquer entire cities, defend an ally in difficulty from an aggression, defeat a whole enemy army and so on. al As told in a recent trial, the contents of which are still valid since the game has undergone very few changes since then, the individual units move according to the movement points they have, the terrain on which they are located and their intrinsic characteristics . The complexity of Fantasy General 2 is all in the multitude of parameters to be taken into consideration before each move, which greatly influence the performance of the troops on the battlefield: from moral, the proximity of other units, the type of terrain the attack is being made from, and the type of terrain the unit being attacked is on.
Before each conflict, the interface anticipates whether we will win or not in combat, giving us the possibility to choose whether to proceed or whether to change strategy. The basic missions are all played in a similar way: after positioning the units, you have to move them one at a time per turn looking for enemies, outposts, villages, cities or places of interest, always keeping an eye on the main objectives and the counter that indicates after how many turns we will no longer get loot by raiding villages, exploring caves or taking any other action. In this way, the developers made sure that the player avoids the comb-sweeping tactic of the maps and focuses on his choices. This is a radical mechanic that greatly affects the gameplay, because it adds a lot of pressure on the first rounds. It must be said that it actually works in encouraging the player not to get lost on the road.
Now imagine a game map full of troops, some arranged behind a large wall, others fighting in the open field and still others firing from the rear. A dragon a row of archers burns, throwing troops into panic in adjacent squares, harpies threaten druids on horseback, heroes battle under the walls for the conquest of the area, each with its own special powers and equipment. There are several open fronts to manage at the same time, each with its specificities to consider. Each turn you have to move all the units, trying to anticipate each time which is the most advantageous move.
Fantasy General 2 is ruthless from this point of view and it must be said that there are no omnipotent units, although obviously there are more and less strong ones and the basic ones can be specialized by investing resources (hours, swords, armor). Hiding in a forest to ambush enemies, risking to isolate the front row, try to win by attacking head down like rams or try a different tactic, perhaps reloading the game in case of failure? The game system of the title of Owned by Gravity is very versatile in terms of the possibilities offered to the player, different according to the units available, the choices made during the campaign missions, the selection of the missions themselves: do not worry about a request for help, for example , it can have repercussions on relations with a certain faction that could even stop supporting us if it were too neglected. Even the plot becomes richer as the campaign progresses, although it never becomes exceptional (basically it serves to justify the battles) with the thickening of the interests at stake that lead new actors to intervene in the war to try to stop the rise of the barbarians. To support it all a good artificial intelligence that seems to be able to exploit the characteristics of the maps well and apply interesting tactics, when possible. While not being able to list all mechanical and the facets of Fantasy General 2 for purely practical reasons, we hope you understand that it is a complex title, designed for an audience of strategy lovers.
Unfortunately the title of Owned by Gravity also has some defect. The biggest one we encountered in Fantasy General 2 is the lack of phases of briefing real among the missions, which help to understand what we will have to face during the task. At the beginning, you don't pay much attention to it, but in the advanced stages, when armies become more substantial and events more elaborate, not having even a vague idea of what the enemy forces will be can become a big headache, both in play and in the planning stage. Several times we found ourselves having to repeat missions because completely displaced by the enemies. On other occasions we made it out alive, but at the cost of huge losses that affected subsequent missions, where we didn't have enough units to survive.
The solution we found was to play and replay each mission aiming for the perfect result, so as not to lose precious units, taking advantage of the first attempts as if they were a kind of briefing. Another side effect of initial battle blindness is that it becomes almost counterproductive to conserve resources accumulated during missions. Indeed, sometimes it is better to replay the latter even just to get something that has been lost along the way, which can then be spent to enhance the units owned or hire new ones. The logic of the choice of Owned by Gravity not to give too much information before the battles is clear: in this way the progression is slower and more reasoned, as well as global, in the sense that the army must be carefully treated since it is only available few units, with the large-scale battles of the final missions that become the point of arrival of the entire campaign and not just pleasant events disconnected from everything else. However, it is true that in some situations this choice proves to be frustrating, because one ends up either by making mistakes unknowingly, or by proceeding very slowly, with the gameplay which is a bit distorted. Not that we were asking for the rhythms of an action game, but scanning the maps box by box to avoid mistakes, at the risk of losing loot, is not exactly the best.
For the rest it is easy to see that Fantasy General 2 is not a pharaonic production. The graphics engine does its job, the variety of troops is there, the special effects are good, but the combat animations are not great, while all the surrounding elements are done on a budget. After all, it is certainly not from this that one judges such a strategic one, so we imagine that fans will not even notice it, taken as they will be to move their immense armies.
Fantasy General 2 is worthy of its predecessor, both for what concerns the dynamics on the battlefield, and for the very high general difficulty. Complex and fascinating, full of variables to consider but with an agile and modern interface, the title of Owned by Gravity lacks only in the outline aspects, linked more to production values than to the skills of the development team, and in the lack of phases of decent briefings, which bind the procession to a sort of trial & error macro that forces you to replay some missions several times. However it is a recommended game, especially for fans of turn-based strategy, who will find a versatile game system, capable artificial intelligence and very high replayability, guaranteed by the system of choices and three levels of difficulty.
- A large number of units
- Some missions are really well designed
- The two campaigns last several hours and are replayable
- Artificial intelligence
- There is a lack of briefing phases
- Outline elements