Fallen Enchantress, formerly known as Elemental: War of Magic has come a long way since its shaky release back in 2010. Legendary Heroes is the first expansion to Fallen Enchantress and brings with it a slew of new features, fixes, and content that isn’t going to win over any new fans but dedicated fans will welcome openly. I’m not going to cover the base game, as I will assume you are familiar with the general gameplay of Fallen Enchantress. If you’re green, I’d strongly suggest you catch up and read my initial review of the game. Basically Elemental is a turn based strategy game that balances a role playing game alongside deep empire building. That description barely scratches the surface, but hopefully equips you enough to know what I’m talking about.
Legendary Heroes feels like a big update to the game which is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, Fallen Enchantress fans will revel in the additions and balance changes to the game they love. Legendary Heroes is designed as an overhaul, rather than a traditional expansion so don’t think of it as a Heart of the Swarm to Wings of Liberty sort of situation. The only place I struggle in recommending the game is when new players ask me if it is worth their money. I’ve bought into the game so I embrace all Stardock updates, so I’ll outline what kinds of things you’re getting with Legendary Heroes and why you should care.
There have been hundreds of changes to Fallen Enchantress, and the first I noticed was the new ‘campaign’. Although most of your time will be in the sandbox mode, the scenario that comes with Legendary Heroes is actually really decent. It’s not a tutorial like the original, and plays out much like a role playing game. Only this time you have a whole empire at your command instead of a simple party of 6. The campaign is bigger and has a huge world to conquer, so do yourself a favor and dive right into it when you boot up the game.
Champions in Legendary Heroes are no longer randomly placed on the map, but are granted to you based on your fame. As your sovereign levels up and gains fame (much like in an RPG) new heroes will be available to recruit when you pass certain thresholds. Champions can become powerful warriors, great commanders, and keen administrators for your empire but you have to earn them by going on quests, conquering enemies, and constructing key buildings. In addition to this new system, the champions’ levelling mechanic is very intuitive. No longer are random abilities available at each level. Instead, you select a path that your champion follows that will give them access to certain skill trees. Need a deadly cutthroat to carry out some dirty deeds? Well put them down the assassin path and watch them grow in the dark arts of stealth and cunning. Is your kingdom in need of a sorcerer to rid the land of plague? Choose the mage path for your champion so that they have access to powerful spells that can change the world. Within each class are even more skill trees so champions can become very specialized as they gain experience and grow.
When you engage in battle in Legendary Heroes, you zoom into a tactical map much like any other turn based strategy game such as Heroes of Might and Magic or King’s Bounty. The battle system has been drastically changed to give your armies more purpose in the game. Designed units have specific abilities based on their equipment and skills so they make a huge difference on the battlefield. No longer do your units feel like fodder, and now they can directly turn the tide of battle. It’s a small change with a big impact, which is a common theme throughout the expansion.
Of course what expansion wouldn’t be complete without new races, monsters, quests, spells, and equipment? The new stuff just keeps piling in and you’ll only discover all of it after you play a couple games. Keep in mind that Fallen Enchantress is a day killer, where you will suffer from ‘just one more turn’ until it is 3AM. It’s refreshing to see that Stardock has put a ton of thought into new content for the game, and even after dozens of hours I still haven’t even scratched the surface. Maybe it’s due to the fact that they also added a new map size - “huge”. This lets you play longer, more epic games where you are commanding armies across vast landscapes. There is so much to Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes that it is really tough to describe, especially since it kind of mashes several genres together. I can say that you won’t be disappointed with the changes they have made and the content they have added.
Personally I’m used to Stardock games evolving as I play them, so Legendary Heroes is a welcome addition to the Elemental stable. The expansion makes it look better, feel more organic, and balances the whole experience for the player. If you’re one of those people who bought Fallen Enchantress on a Steam sale and are looking for a reason to actually play the game, look no further - grab Legendary Heroes and carve out an afternoon to really sink your teeth into the game. If you felt burned by Elemental and the lackluster release a couple years ago, I urge you to get back on the horse and ride this bad boy into the sunset because Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes proves that Stardock isn’t giving up on this game.