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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Strategy RPG

 

Publisher

Strategy First

 

Developer

Strategy First

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

July 16, 2003

 

 

- Fun new missions

- Visuals and sound are still great

 

 

- Not nearly enough meat on the game's bones

- Still a pain rebuilding basic units at the start of every mission

 

 

Review: Disciples II: Dark Prophecy (PC)

Review: Disciples II: Servants of the Dark (PC)

Review: WarCraft III: Frozen Throne (PC)

 

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Disciples II: Guardians of the Light

Score: 6.8 / 10

Reading this review youíre going to see a lot of parallels between it and my review of Servants of the Dark (SotD).  This is simply because these two expansion packs are two sides of the same coin, largely being the same with only a scant few differences.  Despite Guardians of the Light giving fans of Disciples II a chance to once more venture forth into Nevendaar, the core gameplay is barely any different and there are hardly any new features, or anything else new for that matter, for gamers to sink their teeth into.  

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Guardians of the Light (GotL) is an expansion pack for Disciples II: Dark Prophecy that focuses on the forces of good in this gameís universe: the Dwarves and the Empire.  Itís a stand alone expansion pack with a new advanced campaign for high-level characters and a number of new quests as well as containing the original game, but really the only thing of note that is new in this product are the missions.  No new characters, no new spells, just new missions.  The real kicker is that it only feels like half of a gold edition re-release of the game, since there is just so little that is new about this expansion pack.  With that comes a tough decision for both fans of the series and green rookies.  Considering that gamers can buy Dark Prophecy for a song these days, and the lack of substantial newness all divided over two games that run for about $20US each, itís very hard to recommend this expansion pack.  Unless you are a huge fan of Disciples II, getting GofL isnít worth it considering thereís a far beefier, not to mention less expensive alternative readily available.

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The events of GofL follow the Empire who now has no one sitting atop its thrown, leaving a power vacuum.  A religious leader and the head of the Empireís intelligence are two of the powers vying for control of the kingdom now in the Empireís advance campaigns here.  Meanwhile, the dwarves are still doing their damnedest to be able to once again talk to their god, Wotan.

The gameplay in GotL is just the same as in Dark Prophecy.  Itís certainly 

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not a bad thing, as the battles and tech tree were top notch there.  The most notable tweak in the battles in GotL is that players can now automatically resolve them.  Itís a very handy addition, so you donít have to manually trudge through some of the easier battles, instead bringing them to a swift end.  There is some frustration that comes in playing the high level campaigns in the game though.  Most notably is that you need a hero that is at least of level 10 in order to play them.  Now, most people who have Dark Prophecy have likely long since uninstalled the game, summarily kissing their buffed heroes goodbye.  Thankfully Strategy First kept this in mind, as they have included some powerful heroes on the game disc for players to use instead of playing the whole game over again to import them.  The problem comes in that the heroes are hidden on the disc and you need to trudge through the gameís readme file in order to track them down.  It would have been nice to actually have them setup in the gameís options menu so players donít have to jump through these needless hoops to get on track for the high-level campaigns.  Also  a pain is that players can only transfer one hero over to the next mission still, so they must once more start from scratch with their basic units and build them up.  This becomes a royal pain when you consider that youíre surrounded by incredibly strong enemies at every turn in the high-level campaigns, who will often mop the floor with your new company of rookies.  It isnít the end of the world, though, since in the grand scheme of things the new missions are still manageable.  Just be prepared for some frustrating routings now and then.  

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The visuals of the game have not by any means gotten long in the tooth since Dark Prophecy was released a year ago.  The art has definitely withstood the test of time, really standing apart from a lot of games out there.  The music and sound is just as good as it has ever been too, though it is disappointing that the voice-overs are gone before each mission.

By and large, GotL just doesnít bring enough to the table.  The new missions are fun, but the fact that this expansion has been divided from itís evil counterpart and the overall sense of the game actually being Disciples II Gold Edition 0.5 makes the game feel like a jip when you can get so much more out of the original Disciples II for a fraction of the cost.  And for those of you who are ardent fans of Disciples II and would like to go on more missions, waiting for a price drop or for GotL to start popping up in the Used Bin at the game stores may be the best option, because this game just isnít a $20US value.

- Mr. Nash

(August 10, 2003)

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