The intro sequence of Gemfire has more depth and plot than I’ve seen in entire games. The music is catchy, and doesn’t detract from the introduction of the storyline. Koei makes excellent games, but they often require a fair time investment, and can quickly get monotonous.
It appears Gemfire is no different. The game is rather complex, with unit level control, for a continent-wide campaign to take over the kingdom. It could take months to play this game through. It’s interesting if you’re a multi-session type table-top strategy game player, as you can have that experience with the simplicity of dice rolls and stat tracking done for you. But it’s not for everyone. Most players will not have the patience for this sort of game.
There was a time where I would have spent weeks and months playing this game, tickled by the possibilities. Unfortunately, adult responsibilities ruined those days for me, and I doubt I’ll ever get them back. There’s just too much else out there to play, and read, and watch. The only way I could play this game is if I multi-tasked it with several something elses, and then, again, I’d have to ask myself why. Of course, I type all of this, and then play for 3 hours, so there is definitely something to the game, and I definitely have it in me to focus on it for a while.
Verdict: Koei strategy games have a very specific market. If you’re in that market, you’ll enjoy this game. If you don’t know anything about this sort of strategy game, chances are you won’t have the patience for it.