Through various indie bundles I was able to stumble across the Disciples franchise. They are rather unique strategy games that blend turn-based grid combat with unit production city management. I never came across a game like it and was interested in Disciples: Reincarnation. I was blown away with Disciples III: Renaissance and Reincarnation is an enhanced version of Renaissance with the Resurrection addon. Reincarnation has new features, refined graphics, and a revised combat engine.
“The Almighty has turned away from Nevendaar and its denizens. He is busy thinking about the fate of the world. Above Nevendaar, rent by perpetual wars, a new star flashed out. What will it bring with it? Who will claim its great power?”
The story fits really well with the Gothic Medieval atmosphere as it has all of the bases covered, magic, a mysterious and powerful villain, and a group of heroes that are doing everything they can to stop the evil force from winning. That is even in just one campaign too! There are four campaigns in Reincarnation and they are the Empire, Elven Alliance, Undead Hordes, and the Legions of the Damned. Each faction has unique units and spells to use against all that stands in your way. In reincarnation there is more to offer since the Resurrection content has been added. The amount of spells has pretty much doubled and the amount of units has increased as well. While the story is super cool and has a bedtime story/Brothers Grimm outlook, a lot of the fun comes from the gameplay.
You have a hero type character that can equip armor and weapons as well as unique spells/abilities. As this character levels, his leadership grows and you can use more characters in your party. He can also use skill points to increase stats and effectiveness of skills. It takes the term “Leader” literally, this is a character that carries your fights to victory. The other units all vary from faction to faction, but they too can gain levels. After gaining three levels they will have the ability to change class. Most have two options to choose from but there is a catch. You have to have the right building in your city to allow the promotion. That is a part of the gameplay that is totally separate but a crucial part in how you build your team.
The city building is crucial because not only do you have to protect your units from dying, but you also have to protect your capital city (you can capture enemy ones depending on the mission). You gather resources either form picking them up on the map, automatically generating them, or from winning fights. The better the building, the more expensive, the better the units that come from it. While the overworld city does not change, when you zoom in all your new buildings show up and each city for each faction is unique. It is a small visual feature, but I am a sucker for that kind of thing.
The game has two phases, movement and combat. Movement is self explanatory, you have certain movement points to use every turn and they replenish at the end or you can use certain spells to increase the number. When you move to an enemy combat will start. It will take you to a smaller battlefield and from there you and your enemy will take turns moving units and attacking with them. In some maps these fights can get rather long, so a feature has been implemented that makes grinding go by much faster, auto-battle. You hit the F11 key and the computer plays the battle for you. Obviously this should only be done if you know for a fact your characters are stronger than the enemy. It helps keep the pacing up so you don't get bored.
In addition to fights, you can use spells before you enter combat. There are plenty of spells to choose from and many of them can tip the favor your way by either buffing your characters or causing damage (sometimes killing) to your enemy, this is balanced by limiting your use of spells to one per turn. A downside to using spells is that every time you use one, you have to watch the same animation, when you progress through the game so fast, it can be a downer to halt and watch a 20 second animation of the faction's deity casting your spell, then leave.
The game also feels like it has some technical issues and glitches to work out, but having the content from two Disciples III games in one package is awesome and the new visuals look crisp and grim. They really do look great but visuals only go so far. The combat is still very unique and it feels a bit more forgiving compared to the original so the game doesn't feel too challenging. The game is still hard and very fun to play if you are a strategy enthusiast. I give Disciples III: Reincarnation a 7/10. Despite some additions and features that help progress the game along, it still has some pacing issues and it almost feels like there is too much content that is not entirely explored upon. For the non-strategy game player, this is not for you. You can pick it up on Steam now.