SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest – Review
Follow Genre: RPG, Strategy
Developer: Grimlore Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: insanely detailed world, improved original RTS
Bad: the RPG part, mainly the fighting, is a bit hollow
User Score
9.3
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (4 votes cast)

SpellForce 3 didn’t get such a great response from the general public. The developers wanted Soul Harvest to partially fix that lost trust of the fans. As a standalone expansion, it brings a lot of new content to the table. A new campaign with over 20 hours of content, new factions, units, and updated RTS Gameplay as well. So let’s go for some new SpellForce 3 with the Soul Harvest addition.

Story

You play as (first name free to choose) Aerev, a disgraced captain because he lost his regiment. Two years after the Purity Wars, that you didn’t experience in SpellForce 3, you are struggling with your own demons. Nevertheless, the Queen soon calls upon you with a new assignment that allows you to possibly make up for your mishaps, plunging you into the unknown depths of a new story. A story that involves two new factions: the angry and misled Dwarves, and the malicious Dark Elves. Any cutscenes that you will find are in-game cutscenes, and besides that, it’s a very linear story that you follow gradually.

Graphics

Much like SpellForce 3, Soul Harvest is insanely detailed and pleasant to look at no matter how far you are zooming in or out. There’s just so much going on, that it truly feels like a vast sword and sorcery world with its own secret nooks and crannies, and maybe more importantly, it’s own ”real” people that are living their everyday lives. It’s set up like a rich theater where you, your teammates and the enemies, are all actors, yet the props and background noises are so numerous that you could go to see the show a couple of times to discover new things every time you go. The only minor point on this is that the same type of atmosphere, where things feel ”acted”, is also present during talkative encounters and fights. There’s not as much movement as there could be in the animations, especially compared to other RPG/RTS games available.

Sound

What is done well during fights, encounters and other moments in the game, is the voice acting. Much like the original SpellForce 3, these voices are rich and ready to expose the character they carry out. The lower dwarven voices are what you could expect from dwarves, making the game true to what other fantasy-filled media already established. The narrating characters and party members, with Aerev as the main character, have their own high-quality voices. Perhaps their stories are not all as deeply worked out as wished or expected, but the voices are well performed at least.

The regular sound effects are recognizable from other games with the tunics rattling as your party moves and the clinging of swords. It’s alright but it’s not too special, not like the other graphics and sounds from Soul Harvest. At least the background music is also rich with cinematic, atmospheric tracks that either involve orchestral plays or a choir singing most of the time.

Gameplay

Now, the SpellForce series is known for the diverse gameplay it’s bringing. The combination or Real-time strategy and role-playing game is one that’s barely ever done so well. It’s practically two games packed into one, that sometimes change during your campaign or deliver a skirmish-type of multiplayer setup where you can fully enjoy the RTS side of Soul Harvest. In the campaign, however, sometimes it feels like there’s not enough of either one. The RPG side remains a bit shallow when it comes to gameplay, while the RTS side doesn’t really show itself that often. To elaborate, the RPG doesn’t play so… smooth in a way. Most of the time you are literally running from point A to B while healing your characters on time, and the story is more interesting compared to the fighting. Yes, your heroes have some skills, but there’s just not much tactical about it. It’s mostly a grind where you mash buttons when they are available and heal when needed.

The RTS side has some stronger arguments which are more convincing and upgraded compared to the original SpellForce 3 as well. The RTS mode has a sector-based system with a focus on global resource distribution and unique faction mechanics, meaning you will have to conquer the map one piece at a time, using buildings and troops to push back the enemy and loot/farm whatever is given on multiple locations. Every race plays very different like in a game such as say, Starcraft II, and Flying units allow more tactical elements to obliterate your enemy. The best thing about the RTS mode is that it knows what it wants to let you play, unlike the RPG side that can be flat, despite the story and the ”skill trees” for your champions, which don’t add much to the fighting as well. It just misses something that turns it from a slow hack and slash RPG to an in-your-face action type of RPG to make the game good as a whole.

Conclusion

SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest is as beautiful as ever when looking at the detailed fantasy world, and the voice acting is very good. The RTS also brings something to the table that has its own unique SpellForce feel to it with better gameplay compared to the original third installment. The RPG gameplay is, sadly, a bit hollow. Running up and down to places without having the advantage of an exciting combat system just feels more like a chore to work through to get to the next bit of story at times.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest - Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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