A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Defeating outlaws, evildoers important. General good-vs.-evil story.
Positive Role Models
The player takes on the role of a noble knight liberating castles from bad landowners, thieves. Open-ended nature of game lets players choose path through game.
Ease of Play
Point-and-click navigation, drag-and-drop commands easy to understand. Combat controls more complicated, not overly intuitive, even with tutorial.
Violence & Scariness
Violence mostly text-driven. Bad guys are put to the sword without the game showing anything. For players who don't wish to indulge in turn-based combat scheme, the computer can resolve battles quickly by with a button hit to get fight results.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One quest involves a woman using her daughter as a prostitute; nothing shown.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some scenes take place in a tavern; references made about drinking ale, but no depictions of alcohol use.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Legends of Eisenwald is a downloadable medieval-themed single-player game that combines elements of role-playing with turn-based, tactical combat. The game does try to reflect the times, but graphically there are no depictions of violence (when units dies in battle, they simply fall down), and the quests are text-driven with a static image overlay. Similarly, there may be references to prostitution or drinking, but nothing is shown. Though the basic inventory and movement controls are easy to grasp, the combat mechanics (apart from the quick-battle-resolve button) do take some time to learn. Fortunately, there's a tutorial.
Is It Any Good?
Legends of Eisenwald is sneaks up on you. At first, the character movement seems relatively basic, but the background music is wonderfully linked to the time frame, and the graphics (with a day-and-night cycle) are beautiful. Before too long, it's easy to become invested in the characters and the world, following the intrigue of the story. Some of the quests do seem very linear, requiring players to jump through hoops in a particular way to advance, which feels cumbersome. There's also far too much running back and forth from one location to another. But the pluses of Eisenwald far outshine the negatives. Players can invest in the characters, equipping and training them for specific purposes. Deciding to make certain characters ranged, melee, or healing lets players feel as though they're actively managing real people instead of faceless warriors, which brings them farther into the story. It also ensures that playthroughs can be radically different, because you can always select different character traits.
The turn-based combat system works fine, but players also are given the option of moving more quickly through the combat by letting the computer decide the outcome, which is nice if you want a break. Additionally, the inclusion of a game editor lets players make their own quests and maps for their world, expanding gameplay. Plus, though the game touches on violence and seedy elements that were part of a particular time, it's refreshing that the game chooses to not show these in favor of static images with text boxes. This adds layers and depth to the story itself. But perhaps the nicest element of Legends of Eisenwald is that it's fun. The look of the game will grab players, but the gameplay will keep them returning. A few obstacles hold the game back a bit, but overall, this is a good game that can serve as an introduction to the role-playing-strategy genre or give veteran players hours of enjoyment.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.