The Heroic Legend of Eagarlnia Early Access Review
The Heroic Legend of Eagarlnia
Developer: HongShou Studio
Genre(s): Strategy, Turn-Based
Platform: PC (Also available on mobile and Nintendo Switch)
Release Date: 14/10/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
When review codes for the site come in, it’s natural to be drawn to genres or art styles that you love. Or, it may be a title that us writers have had our eye on for a while. However, sticking to this means missing out on hidden gems, which is why it’s good to try something new too. I have never tried playing turn-based strategy games, and often avoid them to let a fan of the genre have a go. But this time, I thought why not delve into the genre with The Heroic Legend of Eagarlnia?
Taking Control of Eagarlnia
The title from HongShou Studio and Pixmain, which is currently in early access, has you trying to gain territory and grow your control over the fantasy continent of Eagarlnia. How you acquire each city is down to you! Train up your soldiers, gather Heroes from across the land and all-out attack? Or trade with and befriend countries, perhaps even stabbing them in the back later on? No matter what you choose to do, it’s important to also keep an eye on your finances too.
Now, it’s important to bear in mind that I am a beginner to the strategy genre. Therefore, I’m looking at The Heroic Legend of Eagarlnia from this perspective and how it caters for a newbie. As is expected, there’s a lot to learn! Luckily you are able to choose a game difficulty and an army with a difficulty rating too, which definitely helps in terms of accessibility. The game does take you through a tutorial, and has tutorial missions to guide you on your way, but it is overwhelming.
Learning the Tricks of the Trade
In all fairness, The Heroic Legend of Eagarlnia does its best to show you around each element, and you are able to refer to this handy guide below for help. After being apprehensive about jumping into this genre with no experience, it was very welcome!
However, there is a lot happening on the screen with numerous menus to learn. The starting missions do have handy instructions taking you through each step, even including where some buttons are e.g. ‘click the Expand button in the lower right corner of the interface’. It was a hassle having to refer to these each time though, and I often clicked through the icons to find things myself. This definitely comes more naturally the more you play, which is the case for the game in general.
I think the first playthrough of The Heroic Legend of Eagarlnia is definitely a practise run, focusing on learning how to play before you can play properly. As such, my strategy hasn’t paid off very well, often going into battles and coming out with a loss. Especially for a beginner, experimenting with playstyle and techniques is key to improving at the game.
It’s Hero Time
A wide portion of the game takes place on a map-like screen, where you can see all the cities that are available to interact with. From here you can assign your Heroes to do certain tasks; once all Heroes have been assigned, you end your turn and the opposing armies make their move. There are a variety of tasks to aid you in your conquering of the continent, and each Hero has certain skills. The game is very helpful in bringing up what each Hero is skilled in, so you can instruct them to carry out an activity they’re good at! They are able to level up from this, making them more powerful and more likely to succeed.
Heroes can take part in battles against other armies, train your own military (hence leveling up your soldiers), search cities to find more Heroes, draw up trades, fortify your territory and more. It’s a balancing act of spending money on these tasks to gain control and eventually more money or resources, without going bust! It requires very complex strategy and patience, but if you’re willing to test out what works or if you’re skilled in the genre, it will pay off.
A Change of Scene
As you can see from the screenshots, The Heroic Legend of Eagarlnia features Japanese-style character designs, which are varied and unique for each character. It was also nice to see female characters with actual armour rather than being scantily clad, one of the main characters no less being a knightly princess! There’s also a lot of detail in the UI, and though a little overwhelming to the eye, looks very professional and clean for an indie game studio. I also like the map design, which looks authentic and detailed with different environments.
What stood out to me though was the switch to pixel style graphics in the battle sequences. I thought this worked fantastically, as you could see both your army and your opponent’s fight it out and watch your instructions unfold. I would say the battles are a little fast-paced; it’s hard to keep up with each Hero on my screen and how well they were doing. Again, the UI is quite busy and takes some getting used to. There’s a wide battlefield to navigate and Heroes with special abilities to keep track of. You can auto play this if you wish and control time too, pausing or fastforwarding as you see fit.
Overall though, I’m glad there was the mix of art style to break up the somewhat repetitive structure of using the same map each turn. The soundtrack, although not particularly memorable, has a variety of epic, medieval-sounding tunes. It could use a bit more flow though, as there’s sometimes a sudden pause between tracks. There’s also some satisfying audio effects when clicking the various buttons. Though you mainly read the dialogue, each character will say something in Japanese when speaking too. Nothing mind-blowing, but it fits the aesthetic.
Returning to Eagarlnia?
To be fair to The Heroic Legend of Eagarlnia, there’s a lot of hours to get out of it for the price you’re paying. As mentioned, I’ve definitely felt that my first playthrough is a trial run and has been spent learning the mechanics. However, I’m not quite sure yet if it’s something I want to return to. The game does a decent amount to cater to beginners, and I have enjoyed my time with it. I’d often say ‘just one more turn!’ to myself, eager to see what would happen next. Unfortunately, this isn’t the genre for me though.
That being said, I think fans of the genre will enjoy the game a great deal more. It’s a very impressive IP for an indie studio, and in great condition for an early access game. Besides the occassional spelling errors, there were no performance issues and it ran well. The game is also being constantly updated, so I have no doubt improvements will be made to make it the best it can be.
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