Yeah, I'm asking the question here, on GOG, because there was a pretty long thread about it, but unfortunately I can't seem to be able to post in it anymore.
So, I know it was a highly expected game, and a huge fail on launch, because of multiple problems.
I also know many issues have been addressed by the publishing team.
What I want to know is: there's a sale on that game on Impulse this week-end: did the team address enough issues to make it a really good game now?
I'm a sucker for turn-based and 4X strategy games, but I don't want to bother with a bug-ridden mess.
Here's Elemental, in current state:
The graphics are beautiful. Some people don't take a shine to them but it's like playing an oil painting. Much like that game from, what, near on ten years back, Okami, had a very stylized look, so does Elemental.
The unit production is very versatile, much like the system they used for GalCiv2. Couple a good visual and functional variety of "modules" for the unit with the distinct style templates that each race gives and you've got a fun (though wholly optional) side-game to dally with.
The quest system is equal parts boring-linear and intriguing-novel. It's tied into your research and modified by some grand strategic choices you can make, but the individual quests are (until some fairly high level discoveries) mostly FedEx or purely linear "go here, kill this."
Tactical combat is still not a great strength for the game, but it's on par with Master of Magic which is good enough for me. Strategy is more important than tactics in Elemental, so keep that in mind accordingly.
The spell system has been heavily revamped and is fun, versatile, and powerful, as we'd been hoping for all along.
The world creation is better than anything I've seen in a 4X and I've played most of them >.> It doesn't have the charm of MOM's Arcanum/Myrror duality, but the world is excellently made, highly variable if you don't use a preset, and then entertainingly deformable with some of the strategic spells you have at your disposal, most specifically raise/lower land.
It's become a good game. I bought it on release after helping to beta test it at the very very last stages. I wish it had been this game on release, because I wish it had made more money for Stardock and had drawn attention to the genre, but what you've got now is a good analog for Master of Magic 1.31 - a game that was broken and bug-ridden on release patched and finessed to be a very enjoyable game. But still with some bugs ^_^
would me interest as well... I love those kind of games, but I heard a lot of bad reviews on it.
Don't know if I shall try to get it or not :(
Or even try to do my own game in this setting ;)
The moddability of the engine is truly first-rate. Most everything is XML, so it's very, very easy to work with. You can create items, spells, races, terrain, etc, with no more than five minutes' work. You can even delve into the core AI routines and tweak stuff with no more knowledge than how to open an XML file - Stardock did a great job with commenting the code. If you're a modder at heart you really owe it to yourself to check this engine out. If you mean, however, write a game from scratch in this genre, I have no idea the legal constraints of using their game engine. =)