It’s War. No, really that’s all it is. Warlock builds on the success of its previous series “Majesty”, and capitalizes on what it does best. WAR. Story mode? Piff! Let’s just make War, and maybe settle a few new cities, but lets always get back to the good stuff. WAR. Edwin Starr would have certainly had something to say about this…
On first look at Warlock its nothing more than a mod for Civilization 5. The gameplay is painfully similar in layout and design. And this is 4x (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) Strategy game that is purely focused on combat. You select your avatar who has a number of civilizational benefits but also a spell skill set that you develop throughout the game. The spell mechanic is unfortunately about the only new thing that Warlock brings to the 4x table. These spells can be cast at any given time, as long as you meet the research and resource requirements. They give you a number of combat enhancements or civilizational buffs.
The interesting game mechanics that made Civilization great have been stripped away to pure metal bashing and orb slinging combat. It’s a fantasy world with Skeletons, Witches, Monsters and of course Warlocks. And while fans of this genre may be able to suspend their reality of disbelief for a bit, ultimately I think you will only see it as nothing more than a glorified stand-alone mod for Civilization 5.
I’m sorry folks, I really moaned and groaned through this one. I found it incredibly difficult for “Warlock: Master of the Arcane” to hold my interest. I loved the Civilization series and all its explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate gameplay. But when you strip the inner workings of culture, diplomacy and overarching story. I find the combat focus painfully mind-numbing. A Campaign mode is non-existent and gameplay is merely a skirmish mode with no multiplayer in sight.
And not to mention the complete lack of documentation. If you had never played any Civilization game or a 4x game for that matter, you’d be really lost. There is no tutorial and even finding online support via forums is a challenge in itself. I suppose if you dig hard enough and can look beyond the many Civilization-cloned mechanics you could have a good time. And also you’re a fan of the series and really enjoy the genre you might enjoy this. If so then add 1.5 to the final score. Otherwise, I’m going to have to stick with my gut and say save your gaming dollar.
Graphically, Warlock holds up well and adds some nice additions to the Civ look. Also, some of the sound design is amusing as well when it comes to unit responses and combat sounds. Otherwise, there’s not much that gives you a unique or I suppose a relatively speaking, a good gaming experience. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into before you download this venture off of Steam for $19.95
Warlock had a lot to live up to with this “Majesty” predecessor in its shadow. And this attempt at its legacy only makes me hope the team at Paradox has a really good legal licensing department. Because those guys at Firaxis might just come knocking.