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Do you play Tiny Towers or Evony, or any of those persistent games that keep grown men tending farms and decorating their skyscraper instead of doing actual work?

Maybe you saw Farmville and thought: ‘I wish this had the added option of building military units and ruining someone else’s day.’ That could be cool right? I mean persistent works brilliantly in EVE online.

Sadly, you would be wrong, at least with Dawn of Fantasy.

Dawn of Fantasy is set in the generic, forgettable world of Mythador where Orcs, Elves, Dwarves and filthy Humies are, you guessed it, at each other’s throats. After choosing one of three playable races (Dwarves got cut, and may be added later), the game tosses you into a long rambling tutorial to explain how to go about preparing the defences of your tiny hamlet. The quests vary from building X and killing Y, while learning how to collect resources and manage units. The graphics look very outdated, and units are unresponsive, taking several clicks to finally move there or kill that. The voice acting is atrocious and echoes at you erratically. For a game driven by text-based quests, it is inexcusable to have so many grammar and spelling mistakes riddling your interface.

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To display the way that building and resource collection happens, the first tutorial makes you build a structure that takes two hours to build. With no other quests to do, I logged out and went back later, to carry on with the tutorial, which then teaches you about the world map and trading, at about which point my nerves couldn’t handle it anymore. Slow load times, bad animations, outdated models and rubbish voice acting aside, the trade and army system will have you screaming at how illogical and buggy this title really is.

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This game’s concept would have been amazing five years ago. Now it seems like a half-hearted attempt to cash in on something that is now being done in an internet browser, and being done really well to boot.This could have been the next step in persistent gaming, where you set your army’s tactics to defend from attacks while you are at work/sleeping, but instead, it is plagued with far too many features that were badly implemented without any thought as to how they will all add up in the ‘end-game’.

I tried again, only to find that the ‘save my login’ was blank again, and after waiting for the slow patcher to check I had the latest files, (which it didn’t), to read that the newest patch reduces build times in the tutorial. If only…

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Then I got a dragon as some or other cryptic reward. Yes, dragons are the best! Except, the flight of your dragon makes LEGO animations feel less plastic, and I can’t tell it to attack the enemy. Instead, you move it close to the enemy and see if it decides to attack…

…While my other units are stuck dancing in unison with their limited repertoire of moves, because they didn’t hear me give them the order to haul ass half an hour ago.

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With browser games like Evony making productivity levels plummet to new depths (and Settlers on the way), is anyone really interested in going home to a persistent strategy game? Dawn of Fantasy missed the dawn and is somewhere just past twilight.

Scoring:

Gameplay: 1/10.

This game is fun in the way that you get to see exactly how to not make a game.

Design and presentation: 1/10.

Absolutely awful. Graphics seem old and outdated, animations are boring and graphical glitches and spelling mistakes abound.

Value: 1/10.

My attention span lasted for shorter than the install and patch process.

Overall: 1/10.

This game may appeal to the hardcore RTS geek, but for now, it is all wasted potential. I’m willing to give it another go after a few months and a couple of hundred more patches – when it no longer feels like it’s still in Alpha. At the moment, unfortunately,  Dawn of Fantasy is a broken, unfinished mess.

Last Updated: January 20, 2012

Dawn of Fantasy
Summary
1.0

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