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One of the most unique games we got to preview at E3 2019 was Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars from Plaindrome Interactive and published by Kalypso Media. You might recognize Kalypso for its work publishing the famous Tropico series. Unfortunately, our preview was hands-off, so I didn’t actually get to play Vampire Wars. But from what I saw, it seems like a deep game with a ton of nuance and strategy.
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars is a turn-based strategy RPG that mixes elements you’re used to seeing in that genre with card-based mechanics.
Vampire Wars will include three different modes: Skirmish, custom, and campaign. Skirmish will focus on combat and allow you to try out new abilities and tactics. The Custom game mode leans more on letting you experiment with different scenarios to see how they play out. The campaign mode will emphasize narrative and it’s what I got to see during my demo. This mode takes place over 12 different linear scenarios that must all be unlocked to complete the story.
During my demo, I was shown one of the early parts of the game, in which the player is tasked with investigating some trouble at the edge of the faction’s border.
What makes Vampire Wars stand out is its card-based mechanic that allows you to use a wide variety of different cards to enhance gameplay. Much like in Hearthstone, the cards cost action points to use but can greatly impact how things play out if implemented correctly. Each turn will allow you to use cards as well as traverse the land to capture territories.
As the demo went on, the player would travel across the map, capturing points, and gaining XP. The constant flow of XP seems like it will be rewarding and make the game tough to put down. XP works how you’d expect, earning you the ability to unlock helpful powers and upgrades within the game. When you combine the constant reward of XP, the interesting implementation of cards, and the satisfying turn-based combat, Vampire Wars has a lot going for it.
During the combat phase you’re tasked with moving units across a grid like Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics. Units have different strengths and abilities, along with individual statistics. You move the unit to a spot where an enemy is located to engage in combat. Another parallel to Hearthstone is the keyword system, which also aids your unit with special abilities. These are things like giving health back after each turn or the ability to fly behind an enemy to attack from behind.
You can see how system-oriented Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars can get, making it great for players who are looking for depth and challenge. From the demo, it seems like it has some degree of push-back though, so if you’re new to the strategy genre, it might give you some trouble at first. But the various game modes allow for new players to practice to get through the 25-hour campaign.
It was also confirmed that Vampire Wars would not feature multiplayer modes, as it’s a single-player only experience.
According to Palindrome Interactive, Vampire Wars is slated for a September 2019 release on PC, with the PS4 version expected to release in the spring of 2020.