Virtually every Christian game that I’ve played has been terrible. Either the graphics have been years behind everything else out there, or the story is bad, or the game is so buggy that it is unplayable. Consequently, I wasn’t getting my hopes up for Eternal Forces, and was expecting it to be another buggy and boring game. As you will see, it wasn’t buggy, and the story and graphics were okay.
This game bills itself as an RTS, though in some ways, it feels more like a RPG due to all the character development that you can do. Due to the vast number of gameplay related items, I’m going to have to split the gameplay section into multiple sections. Spirit: Spirit level is probably the most innovative addition to the RTS genre. Each unit has a spirit rating from 0-100. From 0-50, the unit is considered evil. From 50-60, the unit is neutral, and from 70-100. By listening to Christian music, praying, witnessing miracles, and witnessing, the unit’s spirit level is raised. By listening to evil music, killing someone, witnessing evil, the unit’s spirit level is dropped. The object is, obviously, to keep your spirit level high. If it drops to low, your units will change stance to neutral, and leave your forces. If it drops from there, they will join the enemy’s side. Buildings: In order to train your units to perform different jobs, you need to have buildings. By using the buildings, you can train your new units to be musicians, builders, preachers, and soldiers. Buildings can also increase your food and money supply. Perhaps the most interesting part of this is that your buildings aren’t obvious. This means the opposing side won’t be able to easily notice your buildings. This can come in handy for the defenders, however, the attackers may have a bit of a problem. The buildings start out not claimed by anyone. You are able to purchase them, and then, by using your builder, remodel them into what you want. Music: Music plays an important part in the game. Enemy musicians can cause your spirit level to decrease with “loud guitars”, while friendly musicians cause your spirits to rise. Most of the time, this is the best way to resolve conflict as the good guys. However, it really does place you at a disadvantage, since you really out distance their guns. This is one of the parts of the game that could have been improved greatly. I mean, really, watching your guys defect because they heard some music is ridiculous. Units: Each unit in the game has a full back-story, detailing the highlights of the person’s life, and what side of the war they are on. When a unit is converted, they can be sent back to your buildings to receive training in a profession, such as being a doctor, soldier, preacher, or musician. However, women are only allowed to be nurses, and not musicians or soldiers. I’m Not sure how I feel about that. End of level: At the end of a level, you are given an opportunity to read about something Christian, whether it is an article on how the eye is so advanced, and how it points to a designer, or a scripture verse. This is a good way to witness, if the game itself isn’t enough.
Artificial Intelligence seems to be okay. Not really anything special though.
The graphics are passable. They are not empire at war or battle for middle earth 2 quality, but they are still decent. The city looks very good, even if it is a little blocky.
Nothing really special here in regards to sound effects. The voices can get annoying after a while. The music is nice. It is mainly orchestral pieces, though there is some Christian Contemporary Music, which is good.
Overall, I find little to fault with the appropriateness of this game. There is violence, but there is no blood at all. It is no more violent, in my opinion, than the board game Risk. There is no language at all. Controversy: This game has the distinction of being the most controversial Christian game ever released. Many sites were saying that it was kill ‘em all fest, or extremely violent, or very bloody, without having actually played the game. The game is not kill ‘em all. Each time one of your soldiers kills an enemy unit, they lose spirit points. In the midst of a large battle, it is entirely possible for multiple soldiers on your side to defect to the other team. Furthermore, the game itself encourages trying to convert the other side, rather than fighting. In the game, a full-on battle is more of a loss than anything else. The violence is completely bloodless, and is not drawn out, unlike virtually every other RTS game in existence. The complaints that the game pits the Christians against Buddhists, atheists, and Muslims is not accurate either. The game pits you against the Anti-Christ and his army. The game does not encourage killing those who disagree with you. All the violence in the game, playing as the Christian side, is pure self-defense. Furthermore, you are pretty much forced to non-violence. A lot of the missions require that you kill no one. The only real complaint that I believe has merit, is the fact that you can play as the anti-christ’s forces in the multiplayer. I don’t really think that that is necessary, but if you don’t like it, you don’t have to play as them. This game is a prime example why one shouldn’t believe everything they read online.
Well, this all sounds like a ok game on paper, but it falls apart in reality. I was really wanting to like this game, and did, until I hit the combat missions. The battles as the good guys are quite annoying, since you can only sing and witness since you don’t want to kill the other soldiers in most missions. Being able to have your units suddenly switch to the other side just because they heard some music is very annoying, and not quite realistic. Overall, I’d recommend trying the demo. If you like it, great, get the game, if you don’t, don’t bother. On the bright side, however, this is the first Christian game in a long time that has passable story, graphics, and sound. The problems with it can be fixed before release, or in an expansion pack, so who knows? Game = 25/50 Appropriateness = 48/50 People killing people (-5 pts) The story in this game delivers a good moral lesson. (+3 pts)
Overall score: 73