more things change, the more they stay the same. by
16, 2006 -
Heroes of Might & Magic V may have been saved
from certain death but to what end? The games
future was in jeopardy until UbiSoft decided to revive
the classic. Sometimes games just run their course.
I do like the M&M series and I do appreciate having
another sequel to play but lets face facts.
The series is in trouble because its not a big
seller. The genre is all but dead. Those of us that
enjoy a good turn-based battle are limited in numbers
and it takes a fortune to produce a quality game in
this day and age. What Nival Interactive has done
is delivered a refreshed version of M&M IV which
is unlikely to wow anyone. It wont cultivate
new players, and because the content is rehashed,
fans have already been-there-done-that.
has included some new elements such as the top-shelf
graphics that give us a 3D perspective of the environment.
Not to mention some streamlining of the gameplay that
actually makes it more accessible and yet deeper.
There are so many different variables, combinations
and hybrids available to let you dig deeper than ever
before if you want to. Just dont expect
the manual to help you out. It doesnt go into
much detail. It only gives you the basics, as if to
avoid scaring off any curious first-person shooter
fans that may be experiencing the series for the first
time. To uncover all of the nuances of this game it
helps to have an understanding of past games in the
series, but its not crucial. It will all be
revealed to you in due time through replay and experimentation.
Its actually a great way to learn because things
get so complex that a beginner couldnt possibly
grasp all of the gameplay elements at one sitting.
This results in tremendous replay value for the beginner,
but those of us that have been with the series since
the beginning will pick up immediately on the new
stuff like rainfall on a dry, thirsty dirt road. It
may be enough to keep us from dehydrating but its
not enough to allow us to thrive.
this turn-based strategy, the premise of the game
is lead a civilization to greatness. This is accomplished
through a number of means such as securing resources,
building a city, locating treasures, recruiting an
army and conquering other civilizations while attempting
to defeat the ruthless enemy of demons that threaten
the realm. Of course you may wind up on the defensive,
protecting your territory from more aggressive and
numerous civilizations to choose from including elves,
the undead, demons, wizards and knights, along with
more than a hundred different classes including ghosts,
rangers, zombies, skeletons and of course the heroes.
This time the heroes arent at the forefront
of the army. They are safely relegated to the back
where they can strut their stuff and influence their
army with impunity. It makes the game last longer
since you cant just target the enemys
hero at the onset of battle and hope to gain a quick
skills are upgradeable through experience, much like
a RPG but unlike most RPGs, the hero wont always
be around for the next campaign. As each campaign
can last a couple of hours, thats long enough.
You can start fresh with a new hero with new skills.
You will also have to rebuild your army. There isnt
much in the way of customizing options for your army,
just volume. Although you are limited by the size
of your army you will find it in your best interest
to reach that number as soon as possible, before you
are confronted by a larger army which will almost
certainly spell doom for you during an encounter.
These ever-changing scenarios help to keep the gameplay
fresh, but its also nice when you can take your
hero with you into another campaign.
combat is turn-based but its dynamic. The AI
is not only aggressive but reactive. There are some
good counters that will keep both sides on their toes.
The AI can be predictable and thats even further
exacerbated by the addition of the initiative bar.
Its a new feature that allows you to see the
order of attacks by each unit. It allows you to make
more advanced planning as you can focus on the units
more likely to cause you problems. Morale affects
the initiative feature by returning units back into
the cycle based on how high their morale is. It speeds
up the combat significantly and gives you just a little
more to think about. On the negative side, you will
see the outcome of the turns before they actually
happen. In this case the initiative bar acts more
like a crystal ball, but since you cant use
that information to your benefit since the moves have
already been selected, its still makes things
a little anticlimactic.
play is still not perfect. There are some hiccups
with the connection that causes some annoying delays
and dropouts to occur. You can play against another
player with LAN. Its virtually bug free. If
you cant find a formidable opponent you can
always play these modes against the computer. While
waiting for your opponent to take his or her turn
you can access the ghost mode, which lets you fiddle
around with a ghost army in an attempt to disrupt
your opponent during his turn by messing with his
resources among other things. Other modes include
a hero verses hero mode which is basically a head-to-head
mode. Its fast and addicting.
this version of M&M is the best one so far, and
hopefully it wont be the last. The scenes are
in glorious 3D, full of life, color and imagination.
They are certain to attract the attention of newbies
which this series badly needs if its to survive.
The music is rich, with lavish orchestral movements
that set the perfect tone. The voiceacting however,
is not so good. Its exceptionally bad in places.
Even the text suffers from overt ornamentation that
makes it difficult to understand, unless Im
might be the last kick at the can for M&M but
unless it can offer something more than some new graphics
and a few new features, I cant say I would be
looking forward to the sixth version.
visual technology: For the first time, experience
the world of Might & Magic in a full, breathtaking
3D animated world supported by a consistent and
modern graphic style.
darker heroic fantasy universe: Includes all the
features that made the series successful in a completely
revamped and more mature universe with six
unique factions and over 40 different creatures
strategy experience and RPG gameplay: During six
campaigns and more than 30 missions, explore and
conquer territories, manage your cities, recruit
armies and raise and upgrade your heroes through
a user-friendly yet deep turn-based system.
scalable turn-based battle system for challenging
and tactical combats: Discover the combat system
that made the Heroes series successful or experience
the brand-new active-time battle system that transforms
a chessboard into a lively battlefield.
addictive, and intense multiplayer mode: Play five
different online modes via hot seat, LAN or the
Internet. Challenge your friends in furious battles
and create your own level with the editor.