Vampires and werewolves certainly had a showing on the show floor of E3 this year. The highly-anticipated Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 and brawler Werewolf: The Apocalypse might have distracted you from Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars. It's definitely a unique game—it mixes grand strategy with turn-based combat, and also some card mechanics thrown into the mix. It looks fine and it even works out well, but my hands-off demo at E3 didn't leave me impressed.
The problem with Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars is that it's probably the most average game I saw on the show floor. Nothing was super compelling about it. The only thing to pique my interest were the three different vampire clans. Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars splits its campaign into 12 large missions, and you'll play as different vampire lords for each one. Their armies and stories will vary, though how different each feels to plays, I'm not sure.
Admittedly, the art style and visuals are also impressive. My demo begins with beautiful hand-drawn cutscenes that eventually transitions over to gameplay. Everything looks sharp and high-quality. I appreciate the effort to make the campaign mission shrouded in darkness while keeping everything clear for the player.
Players can recruit various units to fight for them on the battlefield. I saw card mechanics in play at the beginning of the game that allowed our vampire lord to recruit a set of units for free. Action points are used to move around the map, but with the use of a certain card, you can move an extra turn and hopefully secure an advantage. I wish I could get a deeper look at what kind of cards can be used. Right now, these seem like a fancy way to draw players in with the allure of deep card mechanics but end up being glorified, standard abilities.
Your vampire lord is also a unit that is used in combat, along with smaller and weaker soldiers. You can auto-resolve conflicts, but fighting mechanics seem simple enough. Combat plays out like Fire Emblem, just instead of singular units, there are groups of your units. There's a placement phase and movement phase, and units have different strengths and weaknesses. Cards are thrown into the mix as well, but it's nothing extraordinary. Still, I can see the allure of its simplicity.
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars flew under many people's radar, and it'll likely remain that way. I was drawn in by the premise and to see how the mechanics all fell together, but it seemed too bland. I'm told the end product will have over 25 hours worth of content, and each faction features different cards and units. It's not enough to get me interested, but if you like vampires and strategy, it could be the game for you.
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