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Game Info:

Eador: Masters of the Broken World
Developed By: Snowbird Games
Publisher: Snowbird Games
Released: April 19, 2013
Available On: Windows
Genre: Strategy, Indie, RPG
ESRB: N/A
Number of Players: 1 offline, 2 online
Price: $19.99

Conquering a fantasy world usually isn’t easy. Since anything from necromantic sorcery to stone-faced medusas lurk around every corner, you’re always one misstep from death. Add to that the fact that Eador: Masters of the Broken World involves the player having to conquer a seemingly infinite number of worlds, called Shards, and you have a recipe for a very difficult, long game.

Eador begins with the player learning that they are not a simple mortal, but a Master that can inhabit powerful characters to spread influence. When you take control of a new character, you are locked to their world until you fully conquer it by defeating other Masters like you on the new Shard. Taking over a Shard has its benefits because you can unlock new buildings and units to use on future Shards.  To accomplish your lofty world-domination goals, you begin by selecting one of four heroes: a warrior, scout, wizard, or commander. While you can recruit additional heroes if you get rich enough, the first hero you pick will usually have the most experience and have your primary army. Once you select your hero, you then begin expanding your kingdom on the Shard by conquering one hexagonal space at a time. After defeating the defending neutral or hostile forces, you gain the space and can upgrade it with structures ranging from mines to magical obelisks depending on the type of space you conquered. The game is composed of turns, similar to the Civilization games or the overworld portion of the Total War series. Each turn, you can move your heroes to conquer new territories. During a turn you can also upgrade your infrastructure to improve your defenses, unit selection, or income and even perform rituals to summon undead minions (you have to pick the Wizard hero for that ability). Once you take over all of the hexagons on the current Shard, you conquer it and gain permanent benefits that help you conquer your next Shard.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Good strategic world conquering; fun hero development
Weak Points: Sloppy animations and sound design; many random spikes in difficulty; not enough is explained in the tutorial
Moral Warnings: Some female creatures are topless; dark magic can be used by the player

Another significant portion of this game involves combat. Just like the main board, the combat arena is divided into hexagons, but instead of buildings, each hexagon can hold a unit. After positioning your force composed of your hero and his ragtag group of soldiers, you start the battle and remove the fog of war. Combat is turn based and consists of moving units to adjacent hexes, firing at units from afar with archers, or casting spells to curse your enemies or bless your allies. Once you defeat all of the enemies or are defeated yourself, the battle ends. Despite the huge array of difficulty settings, I found that the beginner level caused me to have to reload my game many times due to huge spikes in difficulty during certain battles that I thought I could win. In fact, even your starting hexagon could contain monsters that you don’t have to engage, but could be so powerful that your army could not defeat them at turn 70 (which would be really late in the game). Finally, miscellaneous events can occur such as rebel uprisings or even idol worship that require you to make ethical decisions. Depending on your reaction, you could either gain or lose karma.

Unfortunately, the multiplayer component of Eador is lacking. Since you can only do the battle portion of the game (which I consider to have shallower gameplay than developing your kingdom) with limited setup options, there is limited replayability.

In terms of graphics, Eador is a mixed bag. Most of the time, the interface and general look of the game are appealing, but sloppy animations abound. From peasants with pitchforks to commanders with great swords, the combat animations are just OK and lack any real punch. Fortunately, the generally solid gameplay and the fact that this is an independent developer make lacking 3D animation a forgivable mistake. Similarly, the sound is in general serviceable, but often subpar; attacking noises, for instance, will often play just late enough to be annoying.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 68%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 5/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 49%
Violence - 3.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 6/10
Occult/Supernatural - 0/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 5/10

The lack of polish seen in Eador’s graphics and sound effects is also seen in the stability of the game itself. Usually about twice a Shard, I would get kicked out of the game and be forced to reload my most recent save. Additionally, these errors were reproducible such that triggering a certain event would always cause my game to crash. Thankfully, the developers have patched Eador relentlessly and have made it more stable since launch.

Perhaps Eador’s biggest misstep was in the content category. At least two creatures, the harpy and the medusa, are topless when you battle them. Even though I was able to skip these battles by auto resolving them, there was literally no point to sexualizing these creatures in an otherwise sexually clean game. Aside from that, dark magic is used in the game to kill and to summon dark, demonic creatures and zombies. Also, the character you control is a Master that exerts his/her power by possessing humans and conquering Shards. Finally, you can choose to not care about bad karma and treat your people cruelly through dialogue options in the spontaneous events.

 After playing many hours of Eador, I was left with a lukewarm taste in my mouth. On one hand, the gameplay took what I loved from Civilization games and put it in a high fantasy setting, but on the other, stability issues, animation and sound hiccups, and the surprising inclusion of sexual content marred the whole experience. Therefore, despite the good aspects of this game, I would not recommend it.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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