LT Panel
RT Panel
Just Visiting
Tuesday | October 16, 2018
Popular Review Links:
Battleforge (PC)

Battleforge (PC)


Battleforge is an ambitious title from Electronic Arts which combines the competitive and social nature of online multiplayer games with the addictive and compelling nature of collectible card games to combine them into a meticulously presented strategy experience. Is this unusual hybrid any fun to play however?

Players are known as Skylords, the immortal inhabitants of a floating fortress called The Forge. This is the basis for your adventures within the game and it is known as the central hub where you interact with other players and test out your decks. There is something happening in the world below and you and your fellow Skylords have to intervene to rectify the situation. It all get a little messy past this point and I had a hard time following the story to make any sense of it.

The narrative for the storyline takes up basically a paragraph during the loading screens before the mission. From what I gathered there was a terrible curse in place and that I helped a man called Rogan and another giant called Jome. What I can safely assume after playing the game for some time is that the little pieces of story you get before each mission are interesting on their own but seemingly have little to do with the action during the game.

Once past the brief tutorial and a crash course on the basics of the mechanics we are placed in the practice area of the Forge. In here you can test out the basic starting decks against a plethora of various enemy breeds and the most important aspect of this section is to click the tab for the online store to spend starting points to get extra booster packs. After spending all the points you have approximately 150 cards to use in creating the unique decks.

Each of these cards is associated with one of four areas. Fire, Frost, Shadow and Nature and the individual facets all represent a specific tactical ability. Shadow for example has a focus on sacrificing units to deal damage to the enemy. Nature is based around healing spells and some crowd control abilities. There is quite a lot of room in experimenting with these to figure out which cards work well together. You can combine a Healing Gardens Shrine which boosts the healing abilities of your minions with a pure regeneration spell such as Regrowth with regenerating creatures such as Werebeasts. If you combine this with a couple of Shamans who can heal units then you can end up with low level Werebeasts capable of taking massive amounts of damage.

To play each card in the missions you need two things. Firstly, you need to control a mana tower and associate it with the aspects of the cards you want to play. Each orb you capture will require a greater power cost but gives you access to the more powerful cards. The other important resource element is power. You acquire power by taking control of special towers placed around the map and it all feeds slowly into a pool that you can use for playing cards and claiming more towers and orbs. To play a card you need to have enough orbs and then spend the corresponding power cost.

As you compete missions in PVE and beat the opponents in the PVP arenas you get access to specific upgrades that you can apply to your cards. Some might strengthen the cards primary abilities while others might enhance a particular power. You can even make use of duplicate cards to increase the number of times you can use a specific ability or call on a creature before you have to wait for it to recharge. The upgrade system is good fun but the rewards are random so it is quite often that you will end up with many upgrade options for cards you will never use.

The only downside with the deck implementation is that Battleforge seems inherently designed around focused decks rather than mixing aspects. Even though casting some cards will require a specific coloured orb and then additional orbs of any type the lower level units aren’t desirable enough to encourage gamers to split their orbs between two powers.

Another issue with the card system revolves around the auction system which is flawed. Since there are really no benefits to having multiple entries of one card in a given deck it is worth considering selling off the extra cards that you are not going to using for upgrades later. Putting them up for sale is easy enough however browsing for cards and tracking bids is unintuitive and frustrating. Additionally you have to collect money from every single auction you complete and the system doesn’t detail the card you just sold. Sadly there is also no way to sort your cards out by rarity or duplicates and the game doesn’t help by informing you of the rarity of any of the cards in the first place.

Another decision that has put EA under attack recently is the fact that you have to pay to get cards. Granted they offer over 100 cards by merely purchasing the game but if you want to add to the options you have to pay up through a series of microtransactions. Combine this with the random nature of the card generation and you can spend a lot of time (and money) hunting for the cards you need. Gamers with more income will obviously have a wider variety of cards at their disposal playing the game which can lead to some balancing issues.

Battleforge has been created to focus on multiplayer and even the single player missions offered have to be played in the online environment. That said, the basic interface and overall presentation for finding matches and experimenting with your deck are fine. Across the top of the screen are several tabs that let you access all the tools and information you need. The chat windows can get a little messy but they do suffice for what is needed.

When you have a deck prepared you then need to open up the world map to see which of the missions are available. There are around 50 missions in the game and there is a very clear system here that shows you where each mission takes place, how many players it will require and how many open groups need to find more players. The missions are linear and scripted however you find from time to time that more than one path is available so you are rarely put in position of beating a single level to progress which can be frustrating if you get stuck.

After a while there is the option to take part in huge 12 player cooperative battles which I had a blast playing when I found the right crowd of people. A great design decision was to split them into three four player maps. Each map will have its own specific objectives that can change the difficulty of the other maps. Obviously as you don’t know what your allies are doing on other maps it puts you in a great position of waiting to see if they can shut down a specific enemy gate or device so you can progress.

There is also a PVP area and you can take on another human player. The matching system is quick but I was unable to work out how the game ranks players based on their win rating without taking into consideration what type of cards and upgrades they have in their specific decks. PVP does open up the opportunity to get upgrade rewards that are not available during solo or cooperative missions so it is worth playing.

The chat system could do with some adjustments because it is handled in a tiny window that is spammed with a lot of match updates so it is possible to miss important messages from your friends, especially if there is a frenetic battle in place. Thankfully there is a system of flag placing to get other players attention and this works reasonably well as the strategies to win are never overly complex.

In regards to the gameplay, the missions are fun to play but after a few hours a certain amount of repetition does creep in even with the various objectives on the levels. You make a starting force of units, select your towers and orbs, then build a bigger force, get more towers and orbs, build the mega units and pound the enemy until you win. Turtling works well and although they throw in some timed goals now and then there is never any real emphasis on various strategies.

This is further reinforced by the fact that there are no formation rules or structures so you will always end up with a giant force sent blindly into the fray for a huge battle once you mass enough units for an attack. In some of the four player scenarios it becomes a massive free-for-all as all the units enter into a chaotic jumble on screen with limbs flying. If you marry this with the confusing player colours of green, light green, blue and light blue then its quite often the case you don’t know exactly what is going on.

To be fair the units and spells at hand are amazingly creative both when you look at the design implementation and the powers available. You can make a army turn into farm animals or cast a meteor storm to damage all units in the area. The wide range of units and their abilities is staggering.

Graphically the engine is very polished and capable and handles the wide variety of effects and units without a hitch. I noticed no bugs or crashes in my time with the game (Nvidia 260 GTX and 6700 quad core on vista). The animations also deserve special mention as they are fabulously detailed.

The audio side is acceptable and effective enough but I can recall very little … which in a way is good as I can’t remember any annoying repeated phrases or music which distracted me from the gameplay.

BattleForge is a great concept and EA deserve special credit for making something so radically different and polished in execution. The graphics are excellent, both in terms of the engine prowess and the overall attention to detail. The units are varied and the battles are massive but unfortunately after sustained play the overall mechanic becomes a little repetitive. It is still recommended however and RTS fans should certainly give it more than a passing glance.


Units and powers are great but it is a bit repetitive.
Fantastic, capable engine powers the experience.
The effects are decent and the music doesn’t distract.
PVP and other modes extend the play time a little.

A nice attempt and one which may well appeal to a certain group of RTS fans

About Author

Stuart Davidson

It appears you have AdBlocking activated

Unfortunately AdBlockers interfere with the shopping cart process

To continue with the payment process can we ask you to

deactivate your AdBlocking plugin

or to whitelist this site. Then refresh the page

We thank you for your understanding

Hardwareheaven respect you right to employ plugins such as AdBlocker.
We would however ask you to consider whitelisting this site
We do not allow intrusive advertising and all our sponsors supply items
relevant to the content on the site.

Hardwareheaven Webmaster