DoF is a massively multiplayer online real-time-strategy set in a medieval high fantasy setting with additional: singleplayer campaign, castle wars and a scenario editor. Its an Indie title and a Greenlit one so this review has ended up being a long list of rights and wrongs, goods and gruntildas so please bear with me.
The Bad: very basic path-finding and macroing, most of it has a very unpolished look and feel, the combat sounds are so loud its like they have stuck your head in a dishwasher from hell: the volume cant be adjusted but the sound effects are actually adorably quirky and comical. The narrative is a bit heavy on text, the interface is in general visually unpleasant and unintuitive. The extra game modes feel a tad rushed as they haven't quite mastered the gameplay yet and there isn't much consistency between the available modes given the online mode has an almost stagnant minion economy and the offline campaign has an automatic trickle economy. The other modes consist of castle scenarios which range from hard to very hard due to the almost vertical learning curve and seemingly brilliant Ai. I did like the accentuated narrative touch however: "Twould be both kindness and cleverness to train a horse cart". Back to negatives and I have nothing more to say because I have too much to say because for the most part I still think Reverie World Studios have a game hear. Reverie have possibly focused on providing too much of everything and should be focusing on what works and what works is what I wouldst like so very much to move onto.
This game works! Given the raw indie-ness of this game its impressive that it has actually been compiled. There are now 12 core developers and a long list of contributors in its credits so far and its all been done a budget as small as that of thy courts jester. The level design in this game is actually beautifully detailed and has a very strong aesthetic to it. Its music is also charmingly primordial both these elements combined are very original which makes the fantasy setting all the more potent and alive. The loading and cut-scenes have a lot of character and charm but the zigzagging camera that shows them off can be a little nauseating. The combat works just fine and your Humans, Elves or Orcs have some very interesting abilities for you to use but it all falls short if you want to command your army to do several things at once, which is one of DoF's biggest let downs. Its not like any other player would have any better controls then you online but it does mean the NPC's can actually out maneuver you incredibly well.
I found it hard to write this review there is just so much to like and dislike its not a finished game but a work still in progress. So I am going to cut this one short I like this game but its last-ability is about 2 days: the on-line mode is a great option but the pace is slower than a snail with no slime or peasant with no pickaxe. The steep learning curve encountered when navigating the UI takes up a lot of your time its also visually unappealing and there is no tutorial on how to use it. That said the basic tutorials that are there are excellent if a little loaded with text at times.
Overall DoF's poor usability and lack of player engagement in gameplay and progression can make one become very sour. Dawn of Fantasy is... missing its horizon.