City and civilization building games has always been a genre I’ve been drawn to since the very first time I picked up a mouse to play SimCity back in the day. Warlock – Master Of The Arcane is one of the first in this style of game to meld both the strategic warfare and society building found in other civilization games with a high fantasy veneer. It seems like a no brainer when you think about it, but the folks over at Paradox Interactive have created one of the first games to combine the genre with a setting that is fantastical in every possible way. Platform Nation was lucky enough to get a build of Warlock – Master Of The Arcane, and we put this fantasy civilization game through its paces to see how it shapes up against its contemporary counterparts.
As soon as I started up Warlock – Master Of The Arcane I was reminded of the countless hours I have put into the Civilization series. For the first time though, I’m not choosing between long forgotten rulers or civilizations, but rather between a large cast of fantasy-based societies. Each faction has its own theme which encompasses aesthetics, weaknesses, and strengths and dictates what kind of troops you’ll be making for your army. Your leader will have preset strengths and weaknesses but you will also have the ability to customize your own leader’s looks and abilities if you so choose. The races included within the game will range from an undead horde, to a barbarian Orc tribe, along with some human factions to fill out the roster.
When it comes to the actual gameplay, there are a lot of similarities with Civilization 4’s UI melded with the streamlining that Civilization V underwent. The refinements that Paradox Interactive have done to the formula eliminates some of the bloat found in the other games and adds some much-needed customization to your empire’s layout. Instead of automated workers that help your city’s expansion, you’re given the ability to choose what buildings to build, and where they’re laid out within your city. Your goal is to defeat all of your competition through brute force in an effort to become the top Warlock in all the land. Warfare in Warlock – Master Of The Arcane consists of building troops that will range from land, sea, air, ranged, melee, and even includes the summoning of beasts. All of this adds to screen filling wars that will have you moving your army across the world as you demolish everything in your path. Wars are won in the same rock – scissors – paper format found in other games in the genre, with upgrading your troops still being the key to supreme victory. Your choice in leader also plays a factor in your battles as their innate weaknesses, strength, and abilities will help lead you to victory or your eventual demise.
This preliminary build of Warlock: Master Of The Arcane shows great promise on what the final product will be, and already is a joy to play. I can already see a game that satisfies the itch left by Civilization games beginning to emerge; but one that doesn’t force players to devote multiple hours to each match you set up. Also, the RPG elements that Paradox has added to the civilization building helps add an extra level of depth to the gameplay that will give you a reason to continue playing the game past the first couple of hours. Without a doubt, lovers of strategy games, civilization games, and the fantasy genre should keep their eyes out for Warlock: Master Of The Arcane when it is released later this year.