Eador: Genesis took me by surprise, and I’ve now had a few weeks with its upgraded version, Eador: Masters of the Broken World. Darkfall being released has limited my time of course, but even so Eador is so good it does occasionally pull me away, and that alone speaks volumes.
To be clear, MotBW is not a sequel to Genesis. Much of the game is basically the same, but with a graphics overhaul and a new UI. That said some things have been improved. The campaign moves along faster now, so you won’t be playing 10 maps just to get out of tier 1 units. That IMO is a huge change, because in Genesis the campaign was just way too long and slow. In MotBW the pace feels better (though for some it might still be a bit slow).
The graphics are great. I love the look of the different units you can recruit and their animations. They might not be top-of-the-line in terms of poly count, but they have the great charm and character you often find in indy games.
The maps look fantastic. The lore is that you are fighting over shards of a broken world, and so the background for each map is the galaxy and the edges are cliff-like, which really goes a long way to ‘sell’ the fact that you are fighting for a broken piece of a world.
The details of each area you conquer also have nice details. Each race(goblins, dwarfs, humans, etc) has their own style of village, and the building you add can be seen as well. In addition, random little scenery bits such as towers, ruins, and monoliths dot the landscape and add to the overall feel.
In terms of gameplay and strategic depth, Eador is the best strategy game to come out in years (probably since Civ V). It makes Heroes of Might and Magic look like tic-tac-toe, while at the same time not coming off as being complex for the sake of complexity. The hero upgrade system, the town building, unit promotions, the economy; they just all work and all matter, and it feels extremely rewarding when you win a map because you put together a killer hero/army combo.
I could go on but it would just be more of “this is awesome”, so instead I’ll just wrap it up and I can always answer more specific questions in the comments.
The only major issue I have is the lack of multiplayer; you can only do one-off battles rather than play a map with others. Once that is patched in, Eador will be damn near perfect.