Ah yes, Impire, a play on from this game features the macabre, satanic themes, and taking place in the medieval age. Developed by Cyanide Montreal and published by Paradox Interactive, this strategy game places you in the shoes of the demon Baal. With the powers of the underworld at your disposal you must complete the tasks you are given by the one who summoned you.
Impire’s story is something I like to call Satanical Humor. A play on of satirical humor, what makes it satanical is the use of demons etc but the story is still rather funny. It has that Army of Darkness feeling to it. Oscar van Fairweather has summoned the powerful Baal-Abbadon to work with him on his evil deeds. There is a catch, Baal is no longer a powerful 15 foot demon wreathed in fire, and he is a 4 foot tall imp. Baal must find a way to become his original self to grow his Impire and become supreme ruler.
As I previously mentioned the game has a dark atmosphere, but is rather funny with the snarky demon Baal and incompetent Oscar van Fairweather. There are a slew of one-liners to be heared and they can get a bit ridiculous. While some of the humor is rather subtle, like Malister Crowley, Oscar’s rival. If you know some random facts you would know he is a parody of Aleister Crowley, author of the Satanic Bible. There are many “easter eggs” like this throughout the game.
The gameplay revolves around unit management and resource distribution. You will gather food to create most units and use materials to make the other units and build new rooms. Each room has a different use and a place in certain missions. I won’t divulge all of the details because half the fun of this game is discovering what new additions to your imp army can have. There are multiple unit upgrades like armor and weapons, traps galore, and a hearty amount of spells for Baal to use at whim.
As you progress farther in the missions heros will attempt to invade your dungeon and destroy everything. You must use your units to protect your dungeon at all costs. These can be rather random and it really sucks when you send all of your squads out on raids and a hero group shows up. Luckily you can produce fighters at a rather quick pace, the downide is that unless you have the squad space open, you have to treat it like a RTS and highlight your imps and operate them manually with no hotkeys.
Aside from hero raids you will come across people that will give you stuff like special units, treasure, food, or materials if you perform a specific task for them. After the level, if you complete them, you gain more EXP for Baal. Speaking of EXP for Baal, as he levels up you will be able to unlock extra abilities that alter his form. Eventually you will get full on changes/evolution to his appearance that do not make him look like a little imp anymore.
Upon completing certain tasks and side quests you will unlock runes, these runes will allow you to build better units and off cheaper costs to traps etc. To use the runes you must have the correct amount of DEC points. These DEC points are awarded for pretty much anything, units killed, imps created, materials gathered, equipment made, anything you can think of. Early on in the game, you gain DEC points rather quickly and much strategy is not needed to pick and choose which are best. However, as the game progresses you will have to carefully choose what to pick as it could mean win or lose.
Balancing unit creation, material usage and resource gathering is a must just like any RTS title. The amount of spells, units, rooms, and upgrades are expansive in variety and no two levels will progress the same. Any strategy buff will adore this game. There is also Co-Op but I prefer this game solo. The whole atmosphere of the game is very RTS and there is a real lack of true strategy games these days. The gameplay as a whole is fantastic. The main downside to this is that you will be spending most of your time in the overhead management mode. In this mode you just see icons for the different rooms, heroes, Baal, squads and objectives. The finer details are all hidden which sucks because the art direction of this game is awesome.
The game is challenging because the amount of micromanagement required can get pretty tense. The game takes about one chapter to get the ball rolling, but after that you will have freer rein to do what you want. When playing this game, I found little wrong with it. It has everything a game should have, an intriguing story, great art direction, tolerable music, interactive gameplay, and a unique atmosphere. The main thing this game lacks is replay value. Of course you can play through on harder difficulties but post game stuff would be nice. I guess that is what DLC is for right?
Impire is a great addition into the Ardania universe that Paradox/Cyanide is known for. I give it a stellar 4/5 Nerds. Pick his game up on Steam/Gamergate. A must have for strategy buffs.