Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars

Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars
Reid Manning
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Genre: Turb-based Combat Strategy
Developer: Palindrome Interactive
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Release Date: August 28th, 2020
Edited by AlexKnight2005

Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars is a strategy game set in a world where humans are ruled by vampires. The game combines empire management and turn-based combat with some light card game mechanics thrown in to keep things interesting.

Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars has three game modes, the campaign, a sandbox, and a skirmish mode. Based on the quality of each game mode, the players will most likely focus on the campaign due to its complex and dynamic storyline as well as the sandbox mode for its diversity of settings.

The campaign is split into three main chapters with four acts in each one. Each chapter is represented by a different faction or clan of vampires, each with their own specific lore, culture, troops, and abilities. The Dracul are direct descendants of the first Vampire and are considered the only pure bloodline remaining in the world. The Nosfernus are vampires that can raise the dead and care for nothing but power and blood. The Moroia is a clan of legend, devoted to the study of magic and blood alchemy, their magical might is unmatched.

Without spoiling any of the story, the storyline of this game’s campaign is well crafted. While somewhat linear, the story has its pleasant surprises while remaining familiar to the standard vampire world building models, which depending on the person, can be a good or bad thing. The voice acting in this game is fantastic and, unlike most strategy games, adds to the quality of the story rather than distracting from it. The cinematics for each level are well constructed, interesting to watch, and skippable when restarting a level. However, one odd thing about the cinematics that distracted me was the mismatch between the art style in the cinematics vs. what the actual gameplay looked like.

While Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars can boast about a well-crafted story, the actual strategic gameplay is lacking. Immortal Realms suffers from information overload. Though the game has an interesting combination of mechanics; empire management, turn-based combat, equipment, and cards, they are poorly balanced and overwhelming to the player. Though there is a tutorial, and the first campaign level serves as a secondary tutorial, it takes a lot of effort to understand the flow of the game. Once a player does understand the strategic flow of the game, it’s easy to brute force a win utilizing the empire management system without having to think strategically. Additionally, it often feels like the game relies heavily on battles of attrition to whittle your armies down. While one could argue that you can avoid or win a battle of attrition with strategy, I personally do not want to run into the same scenario repeatedly. While each individual map and level are large and unique, the over-reliance on battles of attrition really limits the number of ways you can play the game.

Unlike the campaign mode, the Skirmish mode has no story elements associated with it other than the differences between each of the three vampire clans. In Skirmish mode, you are limited to one portion of the game mechanics, turn-based combat. Utilizing your general, their special abilities, and your clan’s specific unit types, the player can fight in an army vs. army scenario. While the combat in Immortal Realms follows a very standard model, the addition of General Unit ability cards, cursed tiles, and special unit abilities makes the combat much more dynamic than the campaign’s empire management system. While players are still able to brute force a win in these fights, a diverse set of strategies can be implemented, for better results.

Sandbox mode in Immortal Realms is amusing and adds replayability value to the game, however since it is basically a storyless version of the campaign, it suffers from the same issues. Some differences between the campaign and sandbox mode including choosing the settings of your game, that is included all game elements without having to unlock them through story progression, and fighting between the major vampire clans rather than between vampires and their human subjects. While the settings available for the player to choose from are pretty limited (3 clans, 3 win conditions, and 4 maps), they are varied enough to keep the player’s interest for a while.

While the gameplay in Immortal Realms is mundane and overwhelming, and the game’s soundtrack is expansive. Twenty-seven individual songs, each with their own unique sound and value-added to the game. What really surprised me about the soundtrack what that the sound mixing or the flow between one song and another was seamless.

I would also like to quickly note that the general gameplay settings for this game are very limited. There are only the standard graphics, sound, and usability options, with no settings aimed at increasing usability for those with disabilities, such as controller input settings for those with physical disabilities and visual settings for things such as color blindness.

Pro’s:

  • Appealing art style
  • Deep campaign story
  • Variety of vampire clans to play

Con’s:

  • Mechanic overload
  • Brute Force over strategy
  • Mechanics are not well balanced

Shivant gives Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars a 6.5 out of 10 (65)