ESRB rating: Mature
Review rating: 3.5 stars
Some gamers are opposed to genre blending, but I encourage it because the eventual result is a new staple. After all, most people would rather play a modern action RPG than a standard turn-based one. Australian developers Epiphany Games have combined RTS tactics with RPG character building to create their latest strategy title, "Frozen Hearth."
As the first chapter in a planned trilogy, "Frozen Hearth" tells the trials and tribulations of a race called the Danaan. They are fractured into three tribes, but they must forgo their differences and unite against a powerful foe that threatens their very existence. When frozen supernatural creatures known as the Shangur exterminate all who are in their way, only the player can save the Danaan.
It's also possible to play the entire campaign in co-op mode, which seems to be the developer's intention. Despite the simplistic nature of the first couple of missions, later ones task players with controlling two armies. This is quite a challenge for one player unless they love micromanaging.
Each tribe has a mighty leader that can acquire different active and passive skills when they level up, which is very cool. I also like how players can't use every single upgrade in the same game. However, I wish that veteran units weren't reset for every mission. It would also be nice to be able to manually save the game during the campaign.
My main complaint is the extremely inconsistent frame rate. It seems like everything from casting multiple spells to pressing the spacebar to change from one army to another drops the frame rate to a crawl. This results in frequent mistakes that can drastically affect each mission!
"Frozen Hearth" can be fun and exciting, but it takes a beefy computer to properly enjoy the game play.