Games of the Year

Legends of Eisenwald

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Legends of Eisenwald is an adventure game with tactical battles, RPG and strategy elements. Take the lead of a small feudal army and try to defend your right to survive in this ruthless medieval world. The mysterious lands of old Germany are waiting for you - it's a land where the superstitions of the time have come to life. This isn’t a fantasy game. There are no elves or dragons here. There are only people - and their passions, sins and fears that often take a tangible form. Which path will you choose? Live according to your conscience? Or live by power and might? Or will you live by justice? And what is your justice, really?
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Had fun. Finished the game in 75 hrs. It does combine role playing, strategy, and tactics in a unique way. Initially it could take about 4-5 hours to get a feel for the game so I'm glad I wasn't too fast to judge.
RPG: Alot of work went into the scripted quests. The artwork is nice. Overall, if you can follow the story line and keep moving forward it is a time sink. There are eight chapters in an engaging continuing saga. Lots of classically written text. Notes are retained for reference so you can go back to sift through for hints.
Strategy Layer: The strat map is a different location for each chapter. It is nicely rendered in 3D. Enemy units are always in motion on the map. You move your squad around to locations such as village fiefs that are proximal to its castle. Each castle region has a simple economy. Typically your unbound squad raids the villages for gold to support a small band of warriors. This can weaken an enemy faction. But the goal is to capture a castle. The more castles, the more retainers you can support in your squad of up to 12 people. A way around the retainer limit per castle is to hire mercenaries. They are expensive and the running cost will drag you down. You typically hire these to get you over a significant battle. Then fire them and hire low level retainers. You acquire special equipment and gain experience levels to tank up your squad with armour upgrades and horses.
Tactical Battles have some innovative ideas such as one large squad of up to 12 assorted warriors, mage, priests etc. in 3 ranks. Weapons and armour are dependant on profession, classification, and level of each soldier. Battles are fought on a 30 hex grid. Battles DO NOT use AP for movement like in Expeditions Vikings which has an xcom2 system. No. Instead it relies heavily on initiative ratings, and the AI chooses which enemies can be attacked based on a clear path for melee. Range weapons placed in the middle or rear rank can safely target anywhere. Its more tactical than it sounds. Equipping weapons, tokens, and armour that give bonus for initiative becomes a trade-off versus damage inflicted.
Other comments: The reward is acquiring equipment and watching your soldiers grow as you complete the chapter. When you have to exit to the next chapter you might have to go alone but can take only your alter ego's personal equipment through the game. You will have to find a new squad again. Some chapters let you choose two soldiers to go with you. I think this is good. It lets you experience the accomplishment of redesigning a new squad. And since this can be done in a few hours in each chapter, it would get pretty boring taking the same tanked out 12 guys through nine chapters otherwise.
The only thing I didn't care for (there is always something) are the pixel hunts. There are only a couple of them and it doesn't amount to much. I mean in the strategy map trying to get your 3D sprite to follow a sequenced path to trigger access to a special location on the map. I you-tubed one of them. Overall, a great game

Review from Steam

Fun and relaxing point and click feudal RPG decidedly well worth the seven guldons payment rendered during sale inclusive of all three DC expansion items. Just a bit old-school, as am I.

Review from Steam

Legends of Eisenwald: The RPG Mount & Blade never aspired to be.
The game's use of the M&B engine is apparent from the onset as the basic UI, save menue and of course movement and unit deployment are reminiscent of M&B. By doing so it borrows a solid framework for an RPG it then builds upon whenever possible. First and foremost is the typical hex based battle map system which is not inherent to M&B, but other games like Heroes of Might and Magic and its copies which also field the ingame prevalent strategic resource management and conquest mechanics... albeit LoE has them with less items to collect on the map itself.
Most items are gotten by exchange of loot in a shop or as said loot itself. Others are given in quests, many of which you can chose how they end. Unlike many other games this game actually rewards and punishes you for bad prior decisions in the later stages of the campaign. The scenarios however are all one chapter only and will see no further consequence. They never intended to. Nonetheless, this game offers a plethora of quests, an epic long campaign with sometimes questionable difficulty spikes - especially if silver rosaries don't spawn to fight undead - or weird decisions in quest design.
The campaign is not easy and often needs you to grind or become a tactician to win, especially bossfights while underleveld armies are with you. This goes twice especially if you do not play the warrior. A good range unit and thus the baroness is always useful, but so is a riding mounted knight which you should be as the warrior by chapter 2-3. The mystician becomes a mage later on, but needs aid so pick carefully. Heal spam and bowmen are good early on, later you need strong infantry and crossbowmen to break armor. The challenge adapts quickly.
Among the scenarios, the most outstanding is the DLC, the Road to Iron Forest. It is one of the rare guerillia maps and shows the wide span this RPG could go to. The accursed castle is a mosh pit of several factions, including ALL starting characters as "heirs" of the castle and lands. Depending who you chose, you start in a different castle the character starts in regardless and you fight the other two. Tons of enemies respawn to hassle you and the other AI until you complete the questline and win or conquer the map and only fight the respawns. On higher difficulties this is the closest to Heroes of Might and Magic you will get.
The Masked Ball is the one that seems unfinished. The German translation is one of the most polished in the entire game and English looks abhorrent sometimes with weird symbols strewn in, but here the German completely breaks down. Descriptions of steps are missing with a ? and stuff that should be quest steps are in notes and are left in a questionable state. The entire scenario is playable, but these littles mishaps leave a weird taste. Sometimes the name and text of the character are the headline of the next text. The story behind was once more great though.
There are still a few bugs in the game, none of which are truly game breaking. A small list of those I encountered are as followed:
- Mouse freeze after cutscenes:
The camera moves with the mouse until left and right click are used to go back to movement mode.
- Savegame seemingly not written:
Rare, but can happen. The game writes a "new save" you and the auto-reload doesn't see in the background. This happens after long play sessions. If you notice your last reload save not being your last save, restart the game. The saves should show up.
- Background map turns white:
Happens if the game is tapped out during the loading process or sometimes after long game sessions after tapping out interim. A save and then reload will fix it.
- Quest wants to go on but can't:
Most common in the last campaign chapter, the quest log updates to ! but nothing is there. Once closed it returns to !. This means you haven't seen an important meeting/event to progress. Visit taverns, cathedrals and smithies. The "person" in the last chapter is in the Cathedral, Fichten bridge Smithy or the Fichten Tavern normally... in case he is missing for you.
- Chapter progress bar failes to load:
The most annoying of ALL bugs, especially after a hard chapter end boss battle. If the game wasn't gracious enough to autosave for you, this can lead to frustration. Ensure you progress chapters after long sessions only if there is no boss battle or restart and reload first.
Legends of Eisenwald was a great idea and concept and merged two very promising franchises together with great storytelling and the true horror of life and the struggle to get ahead. A lot of things in life are grey...
Where Legend of Eisenwald failed was the scope. The team never finished all they had envisioned back then and it is doubtful the "Season Pass" is anything more than a money grave. The DLC for the Iron Forest though is worth it if you loved the game.
It failed to capitalize on the principle behind the game. New unit types, new items, a random generated map to fight and conquer on with an alliance system... all these things would have given longevity and perhaps a trickling income. Like this the game stands by itself practically complete, if you ignore the empty season pass. And as the game stands, it is a hidden marvel for those that love the M&B genre for its tactical campaign and not the most pit or those wanting Heroes of Might & Magic to be less gimmicky.
A great vision fallen to its own limitations, Legends of Eisenwald is a SOLID 9/10 with a 10/10 story, only held back by some annoying bugs and its seeming unfinished nature.
Just... avoid the season pass.
May the Iron Forest pass you by, for the soil is dry and its leaves always one step away.

Review from Steam

Good Medieval Germany with some 'powers' turn based game. Simple but entertaining.

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