After you win an altercation, you’ll gain experience for your lord and also a new card to add to your hand. Sometimes, you’re also awarded equipment which is also in card form and can be played on your lord to equip him. There’s a limited pool of equipment available, and it falls into one of four categories: helmet, armour, weapon, and ring. You can have one of each equipped, with the exception of the ring, which you can have two of, and new equipment destroys the old equipment. Included in party management is those pesky Legacies I mentioned earlier, which are perks like additional HP and, later, an additional tier of units. Your lord’s Spells can also be upgraded, but they can be improved upon only once. Upgrades were underwhelmed in terms of variety, though their effects were worthwhile.
The campaign is split into three clans— Dracul, Nosfernus, and Moroia—and no matter how the sexily posed, clearly undead lady lounging in a throne on the Moroia tab piques your curiosity, you have to play through the preceding campaign before unlocking the next. Even if they have nothing to do with one another. While I’m not a fan of this style (suppose I just really want to play the lady vampire’s campaign and don’t give a hoot about the others?), there’s no point in complaining about it. Each campaign is broken into four acts, over the course of which you’ll experience the stories of a different vampiric head honcho. It’ll take you anywhere from an hour to three (and that’s pushing it) to finish an act, for a total of around 30 hours of the campaign once you factor in load screens and cutscenes… Assuming you can make it past the grueling first campaign. I’m all for a challenge, but seeing being pushed down while still learning the ropes and kicked while I’m down isn’t my idea of a good time. Those load screens I mentioned are a persistent issue, by the way, particularly at an act’s conclusion, where they can drag on for a good 30 seconds or so. There’s also a load screen every time you enter combat and every time you leave it, bogging down the whole process. Every act has its own mission rules and is divided into a series of evolving win conditions you must complete to progress the story. These rules include things like changing the way recruitment has to be carried out and limiting your lord’s maximum level and are generally there to make things more inconvenient for you, the player.
In a skirmish, you can select which of the three clans you play as and which of the three clans you play against. I also assumed incorrectly from the name that this would be an online component, so don’t feel too badly. Your lord remains the same as the one you saw in the campaign, depending on which clan you choose, but you can change their background which affects their passive abilities and how they grow. You can select what equipment each lord wears from the meager in-game offerings, and decide the map on which you’d like your battle to take place. You can also set the level of both lords, meaning you can be at the advantage for once. Then, your two Lords duke it out vampire-a-vampire. And that’s it. These are very, very short when compared to the tediously long battles of the campaign and felt pointless. What am I doing here, proving which Lord is better? The only female character, duh. Afterward, you’re dumped back into the skirmish main menu in the off chance you want to try again with different lords.
In sandbox, you choose one of our three clans, one of our four maps, and one of three win conditions. There’s a handful of options to fine-tune your battle, like AI handicap and how much blood and experience you gain, and then you dive into much of the same. This would have been Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars’s saving grace as far as replayability, had the offerings not been so sparse. There’s really not much more to say about it; it’s just like the campaign only slightly different in that some aspects are customizable and there’s no story holding everything together.
I know I mentioned it before briefly, but the graphics are, for lack of a better term, muddy on the battlefield. You can’t even zoom in close enough to make out the blurry number over top your units, which is supposed to denote their combat strength. Fortunately, the AI is clear and easy to read, but seeing the two side by side only makes it more obvious that Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars is no graphical champion. The three available terrains–a normal area and then an icy one and one that looks like it’s covered in miasma–are neat to look at, at least for the first couple of hours, but those, too, are lacking in diversity.
The bones of a good game are here, but Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars’s delivery fails to add the all-important meaty bits that keep the player engaged. The gameplay is lacking in some aspects and additional game modes do little to add a breath of fresh air to the staleness, as they should. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience recommend Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars out the gate, at full price. Maybe after the quality of life improvements and some free DLC that diversifies the current offerings or at a steep discount—and only if you’ve already beat the absolute hell out of Fire Emblem: Three Houses and are jonesing for your next strategic fix.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars Review
Gameplay - 5/10
Graphics - 4/10
Sound - 5/10
Replay Value - 6/10
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