EA has closed German real-time strategy specialist Phenomic.
The original SpellForce spawned two expansion packs, and this first add-on for the sequel probably won't be the last either. Developer Phenomic is playing the RPG trump card here: dragons. The big fat scaley fire-breathing loot-hoarding lizards which are everyone's favourite beastie. But is Phenomic merely milking the dragon? Indeed, can a dragon be milked? And (perhaps the most important question of all), will they still include the obligatory mage who sounds like a German version of Julian Clary, but a touch camper?
The answer to the latter question is apparently not - although instead there's a weird creature who talks just like Yoda - and the former, yes, there's a degree of lizard-milking going on but that's not nearly as bad as it sounds (particularly if you're euphemistically minded). Along with the lure of dragons, the game has also had its RTS-RPG balance further tweaked, and a few +1 bells and +2 vorpal whistles added, but fundamentally the experience remains much the same.
The story, as ever, is interesting in parts - with clever ideas like a whole city which has been magically transformed into a giant ship (not sure whether Norwich Union would quote you happy on that) - but it's rather a mish-mash of generic fantasy and plot twists which don't always make sense. Interface-wise, nothing of note has been altered, although SpellForce 2 had a very orderly house in this respect anyway. In fact, after a year of playing other RTS games, I'd forgotten just how smooth those quick-click bars for your heroes' abilities made micromanagement in the thick of combat. What also hasn't changed, unfortunately, is the somewhat dodgy pathfinding which doesn't make those intense battles any easier.