Sorcerer King: Rivals
Top Critic Average
Publisher: Stardock Entertainment
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Armed with the Forge of the Overlord, your people look to you to challenge the malevolent Sorcerer King, a being who has devastated the land and filled it with ruins and minions.
Unknownst to him, you have learned the Spell of Ascension that will allow you to channel the magic of the shards and enable you to ascend to a being of nearly unlimited power who can set the world free (or destroy it).
But you are not alone. Other civilizations are rising while the Sorcerer King schemes in his distant fortress. They too have their own plans…
Sorcerer King: Rivals Gameplay Trailer
With quite a few twists on the traditional 4X formula, Sorcerer King: Rivals has a lot under the hood. The combat is a substantial improvement, offering a new way to engage the enemy, and the RPG elements expand gameplay even further. The editor is a cherry on top of an already full package. While it has a few balance issues in the endgame, Sorcerer King: Rivals shines brightly in a crowded genre.
I’m not one hundred percent sure I buy the ‘standalone expansion’ label – which is the main reason I have awarded Rivals a slightly lower score than I gave Sorcerer King. For new players however, it’s well worth the price given the game’s well worked mix of RPG and 4X elements.
Rivals puts a spin on its predecessor’s formula, but doesn’t really improve on it. For the yet to be initiated, the original is simply bolder, represents a more unique take on the 4X genre, and is thus the one to pick up. The ability to choose how to take on the Sorcerer King, directly or indirectly, is still a welcome addition though. Indeed, I wish it could be added to the original game as a mode or optional victory path. With that not happening, the standalone is the only way to get that extra choice and experience the apocalyptic war from a different perspective.