Epiphany Games delivers a mixture of the RTS and RPG genres with Frozen Hearth, their first attempt at building a game in a very interesting nordic-themed universe that they have created and will probably be used for other games in the series. With a ton of promises coming from a game that we didn’t hear too much about, one question remains: does it rise up to the standards? Check out this Frozen Hearth review and you’ll find out!
I must admit that the first 20 minutes playing the game were pretty confusing because Frozen Hearth decides to take away some traditional elements of the real time strategy genre and flush them down the toilet, replacing them with some new concepts of their own. Which are confusing at first, considered a crime later but as you get to learn the game and how it works, they become pretty logical and actually welcome.
What I am talking about here is the base building and resource gathering elements. Unlike your regular RTS games, Frozen Hearth comes with a circular base that can be upgraded and adjusted depending on your needs: you have the barracks at the center and around it you build different buildings unlocking special units or improving the stats of your troops. No more building 17 barracks and filling the map with towers and resource silos.
And the resource silos would be pretty useless because resource gathering has also been reduced to a minimum in Frozen Hearth: there are several “resource nodes” scattered over the map and whoever controls the nodes controls the resources. This means that you can send some troop to capture a node and as soon as you get it, they will continuously produce resources for you. It doesn’t matter how many trees there are on the map, the wood keeps going!
These two changes, as I said already, might seem very strange at first and clearly they’re not very realistic. But then if we pause for a few seconds and we understand that Frozen Hearth is a strategy/RPG mix that focuses more on the action part of the genre, it makes a lot of sense. In multiplayer games especially these resource nodes become really interesting as everybody will strive to control as many as possible to get their troops coming, resulting in intense and non stop action which is a lot funner than having to spend 30 minutes building your base and looking at the harvesters as they bring the resources back to the base.
And even though the multiplayer is the best part of the game, the single player campaign shouldn’t be ignored either. It’s a bit slow at first – especially because of the confusion created by the way you play the game and the complexity of keyboard shortcuts that you have to learn, but it picks up later on and proves to be a real challenge.
Especially since the RPG part of Frozen Hearth comes into play with your Avatar (a hero that you select at the beginning of the game and build him up as you see fit, equipping him with powerful spells and healing skills). Usually, your goal will be that of destroying the Avatar of the opposing faction and the battles tend to become epic with the clash of the Avatars, so it’s a nice addition.
Visually, Forzen Hearth is not the best looking game out there. The graphics are a bit outdated and the effects make you feel that it’s 2005 again, but one can say that in a real time strategy game, the most important part is the gameplay and not the quality of the graphics. If you agree, then you shouldn’t be too bothered.
Overall, Frozen Hearth is a really promising beginning of something beautiful and the game’s world can really become the setting for more and a lot better games in the future. Frozen Hearth itself is a good game that offers intense gameplay and hours of fun, especially in multiplayer, but it has its problems too. The resource gathering is a hit and miss – I had nothing against this change, but more traditional gamers might consider it blasphemy. The graphics are not that great and overall the game has its flaws – but we’re talking about the first title coming from a promising studio and I think that we should get past these small problems and try to enjoy the game for what it is: an action packed RTS/RPG mix!
Final rating: 7 out of 10