Feel like spending the Halloween weekend with dark, brooding games? Well, Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars released towards the end of August, but in the spirit of the season we’ve decided to give the game a review closer to the most frightening day of the year (no, not the US election, Halloween!). Never heard of the game? It’s from a Swedish indie developer, Palindrome Interactive, and represents their first game to have ever officially launched, so you’d be forgiven if this one slipped under your radar. It’s a turn-based strategy game that also incorporates card mechanics. If that sounds like your cup of tea vial of blood, then take a look at our Immortal Realms Vampire Wars PS4 review.
Immortal Realms Vampire Wars PS4 Review – Cards, Turns, Blood Points Galore
As Immortal Realms is a turn-based strategy game, expect to spend a lot of time highlighting units, cards, abilities, and other items in a lot of different menus. The directional pad brings up different menus that correspond to different aspects of the game, such as pressing down to bring up the player’s current hand of cards, up to see blood points flow, left to view objectives, and right to take care of any units that still have action points. Navigation is a little cumbersome, and occasionally the selector can get lost. Pressing circle does guarantee the menu will eventually get backed out all the way to the map, where navigation can be restarted.
A typical round of Immortal Realms consists of multiple turns. Each turn represents a season of the year, so taking four turns completes a year. At the start of each year in most modes, the player must choose from three cards chosen at random, which have some effect such as increasing experience points gained by units, or some combination of increasing the cost of library cards while decreasing the cost of blacksmith cards. At the start of each turn, all units are given action points, and of course performing any action will consume at least one point. Though cards are an integral part of Immortal Realms, they are not required to be played, though many players will find the cards extremely useful. Cards can be acquired at various locations throughout the map, such as a library or a blacksmith, or they are rewarded from successful battles. Players can only hold so many in their hand, however, before a limit is reached, so no hording! Cards can also be upgraded once certain conditions are met, with various upgrades on offer.
Immortal Realms Vampire Wars PS4 Review – Blood Money
Most recruitable units and cards can be purchased using blood points, which is the game’s main currency. Blood points are earned by claiming land, which is usually done for one action point, but can also be given to the player upon reaching a checkpoint during a mission. In each map, villages can usually be found, and so long as they are not destroyed, they will boast a population of humans. A village’s population can be reduced to nothing by choosing the “feed” option, and thus the player’s blood points shall be recharged a bit, depending upon the population of that village (plus any multipliers in effect by a played card, or passive ability of the Lord performing the feeding). Recruited units also cost a certain amount of blood points per turn, which must be weighed against the current rate of blood points intake from conquered lands. Take on too large of an army, and you can quickly find yourself out of blood points and suffering.
Despite having a fair amount of depth to the strategic options available to players, Immortal Realms is easy, thanks to a rather lax AI. Battles that say the player is guaranteed a defeat is not necessarily a surefire thing, because the AI doesn’t seem to utilize the full power of its lords, instead opting to try and defeat the player with overwhelming numbers, a strategy that rarely pays off. Immortal Realms appears to lend itself quite nicely to same-console multiplayer, but sadly there are no multiplayer options available as of this writing. So, players are left to fight the underwhelming AI until a new strategy game comes along that allows for games against more exciting opponents.
Immortal Realms Vampire Wars PS4 Review | PlayStation LifeStyle
Immortal Realms Vampire Wars PS4 Review – Good Luck My Lord
Immortal Realms takes place during the Late Medieval Period, or around the 1300s. The introduction cinematic mentions something about a war being fought, and the end of the world is of course a factor. Players who wish to learn more can play through the campaign. The campaign mode has missions spread across multiple chapters, which must be played linearly. Some missions task the player with reaching certain points on the board, with restrictions in place such as no direct recruiting from locations. Once the player is beyond the tutorial, the game takes a hands-off approach, and it’s up to the player to figure things out. For instance, the scenario I just mentioned makes the player rely on drawing and using cards to recruit new units to a lord’s army – but the game does not tell you this. Indeed, I went into my first battle with a woefully underpowered army, because I didn’t realize I could use the cards I was pulling to recruit units. Thankfully, I still won the battle, but this was due to the lacking AI rather than my own failure to learn.
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars is a strategy game that has the perfect atmosphere for the season we currently find ourselves in, and we’re not strictly talking about Halloween here! Some cumbersome menu navigation and mostly unchallenging AI means that without even local hot-seat multiplayer, players looking for more challenging opponents will unfortunately need to look elsewhere. Still, console gamers who are desperate for more strategy games should look to Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars to get their fix, and at a wallet-friendly price point of $49.99 to boot.
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars review code provided by publisher. Version 1.02 reviewed on a PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy.