Gonna have to think about this, simply because my initial response was negative toward Elemental, and unfairly and I know why. I play a lot of games, lots, but I tend to forget the ones I only play a little. So my initial thought was thinking of games I played a lot in the last year, like Fallout New Vegas, and Draakensang. So compared to those two games, I would put Elemental on a lower score...but that ignores the 20 other games I played a few times, or just for a few weeks and never picked up again. Where as I played hundreds of hours of Elemental and post here a lot. That has to mean something. So all that in mind.
I have a hard time doi9ng a review of the games at different times, most games are not Stardock games, they are what they are and maybe some bugs are fixed, or some DLC is put out, but no major changes.
Fallout Las Vegas:
Release, end of 2010, now : A
One of my favorite games of all time. Hardcore mode is a vast improvement to add to the feel of the world. Tons of quest, interesting places to visit, choices, character builds, just a blast. Love it deeply.
Drakkensang: River of Time. Improved character creator over original drastically improves replay value, but far less characters that can join party is a let down. Voice acting is decent now, was terrible in first. Fun quest, meaningful equipment, the anti-diablo, loot is rare. Would like the crafting to be more fleshed out, but a very fun RPG. German game, can't even get a manual or latest patch, which kinda sucks balls. Give me empathy for all the non-American gamers out there that have to deal with those kind of things on a regular basis.
Release, end of 2010, now: B -
Elemental: War of Magic : At release, it was a very ambitious game, riddled with crashes, and far too many corner cutting design choices, (we want this neat thing, but can't make it work, so we will do this easier thing instead). I think it tried to be too much, but still fun and interesting for awhile. If not for the constant patching and changes, would have been put away long ago, kind of reminds me of conditioning experiments I use to do with rats in college. The game is more stable now than at release, but not sure I can say it is more fun. At release there were several minor factions, they are gone, the game has removed scale, chain, and patchwork armor, the weapons and armor are unbalanced still, and quest have been mostly ignored since release. Population and people as a resource has been added, and mana in a global pool, but I don't see that as really making a significant change, it like substituting ingredientsin a cake, but having it come out tasting the same. But it's a pretty good game really, it just could have been a lot better. It just seems like a Monet painting, as a whole you have this great empire building 4x/RPG game, seems awesome, but the closer you look at each part, it seems they were done half ass.
end of 2010: C