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Fantasy General II

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 12 - 2019

A sequel 23 years in the making.

Slitherine are well known for publishing historically accurate war games, the sort that excite The History Channel watching armchair generals. Whilst they rarely, if ever, stray from their strategy origins, Slitherine do occasionally mix things up by publishing something in a more fictional setting, such as maybe Battlestar Galactica or Warhammer 40,000. The latest non-historical game to join their stable is Owned by Gravity’s Fantasy General II, a much more fantastical option featuring heroes, strange units and magic. Strategy fans would be forgiven for never playing the original game in this series, as it came out way back in 1996. It matters not though, Fantasy General II is a modern turn-based strategy game through and through, with perhaps only the occasional nod at the original game.


While skirmish and multiplayer modes are ready and available for players, it is always best to start with the campaign, and the campaign in Fantasy General II is mighty indeed. Set in the fantasy world of Aer, players will take control of Falirson and his Barbarian forces, as they attempt to unite the Barbarian clans and take on the mighty Empire forces. The campaign manages to squeeze in more than 30 scenarios for the player to overcome on their journey to victory. Despite this large amount of content, which will challenge the most experienced leader, this does raise the first shortfall of Fantasy General II. The other faction involved is the Empire, which is enjoyably varied in its troop types and tactics. However, there is no campaign for the Empire, leaving players only able to enjoy their variety in the skirmish or multiplayer modes. For campaign goodness, the player is limited to the Barbarian hordes.

It’s not all bad though, as those Barbarians also have some really cool units to play around with. From Berserkers and Shield Maidens to Werebeasts and Valkyries, the Barbarian forces have what it takes. Even better, units evolve during play and become far more important to the player, forcing the player to consider carefully when to send a unit into potential danger, or when to keep that veteran unit safe. Wounded units can heal during battle, or after the battle has ended, but those that are killed could be lost forever. Evolving units will take materials found randomly through the course of the game, usually through exploration of the map, and the random nature of this will have an effect on how a unit progresses in the game.

The actual battles have all of the basics covered. Units move around a hex-based map, spending their movement allowance and then performing an action. Any general will know that melee units will need to be in adjacent hexes to their opponent units, while the more ranged units can take a step or two back. In this respect, it is all fairly straight forward. Units are able to take a break from the action in order to heal, which is a handy mechanic given how valuable long time units can become. The enemy units will be found on the map, along with various neutral units that could lead to more battles, and places of interest to explore, maybe leading to some more handy materials as a reward, or occasionally to a dialogue and choice that could open new possibilities further down the line. While I am not a fan of timed missions, the sort that force the player to ignore all of the interesting stuff on the map, Fantasy General II presents this in an interesting way by offering a gold reward that slowly diminishes the longer a player takes in the mission. With so much to explore and potentially miss out on, it raises a very interesting quandary for the player as to how long they spend dawdling and when they get down to business.


Dialogue options will pop up frequently during the course of the game, adding to the replayability as players will want to explore the different choices they can make. However, that replayability is still hampered by the limitations of the singular Barbarian campaign. The choices are sometimes rewarding, giving the player something they can really use to get ahead in the game, but are more often set to add yet more challenge to the player, such as losing a hero or suffering some kind of curse. It is a shame as most players would prefer a reward over something more negative, but it does keep the game interesting. The story is interesting overall and gives the player plenty of ways to make it their own.

Visually, it is easy to see that a lot of passion has gone into how this game looks. Fantasy General II is a very good looking game, with varied and well featured maps, and detailed units that are easy to identify in the chaos of battle. The fantasy theme is well implemented, and the UI does a good job of letting players navigate everything they need.

For fans of turn-bases strategy in a fantasy setting, Fantasy General II will be very appealing. It is just that lack of variety from the limited faction choice that really harms the game. The fact that there could be more factions and campaigns through future DLC is hopeful for the future of the game, but the fact that a little more is not included with the base game does feel a little cheap. Still, fans will have something to look forward to, even if they do have to fork out a little more cash.


It may have been some 23 years since the original Fantasy General was released, but this sequel will ensure the name is known by fantasy strategy games for a good while to come. The game does everything right in so far as the mechanics, including some nice new ideas and consequences for the player to deal with. However, despite the lengthy campaign, the game does feel limited at this time, although there is more content in the pipeline. For those who remember the original, or strategy fans who fancy a fantastical theme, Fantasy General II will tick the boxes.




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