Heroes 3: SOD is yet another game for the popular M&M RPG series. The good thing about this one is that it includes the full version of Heroes III plus all the scenarios and campaigns from Restoration of Erathia and allows the player to play multiplayer games vs. owners of Armageddon's Blade and Restoration of Erathia. It also includes the map and scenario editor found in the Armageddon's Blade expansion pack, meaning that you have just got every Heroes 3 product available at a very nice price.
If you have never played this before then the included tutorial will be the place to start, you don't really need to do this but it does not take to long to go through and shows you the important aspects of the game. These will include owning and managing cities and special areas to managing your cities and fighting.
Owning areas is simply a matter of moving your character to that spot, if the spot contains a city you will take it over, if it's a mine that's yours and so on. You do this to build up your army big enough to attack and destroy your enemies who are in turn trying to do the same. If you follow the tutorial it will show exactly whats needed.
You start off with a hero some units and a home city. You use your city to build extra buildings and to train more units that are needed to defend your own territories and to battle the enemy to take over their territories. While wandering around you will find that you come across mines, mills, towers and other buildings. These building give you extra items per turn, such as more wood to build buildings or more gold to buy extra units. You also come across treasures such as gold or gems, which are added to your stash.
When you attack an enemy or they attach you, you are taken to the battlefield. This consists of a single screen divided into hexes. Each unit takes up one Hex and has a certain number of moves that can be taken or they can attack. Usually the hexes are shown on screen and you are shown where you can move that unit. Once you have moved a unit you may get another chance to move or attack or the enemy will get to move or attack, you do this until you either choose to retreat or someone wins. Someone wins by killing all of the other players units, once this is done you are shown a screen with all the casualties you and the enemy suffered then you are returned to the game. If you lost your hero is lost as well and you will need to return to your home city to hire another hero to continue your quest otherwise you win and are able to fight another day.
The heroes 3 games are full of things to do and the number of units you can hire in this version has expanded You get to play with an extra 23 new neutral units and the units overall have better improved stats. The game is not always played on land, most of it is and battles are land battles but you also can build boats to cross rivers where the enemy usually lurks.
Other additions to the previous load of games are 38 new single player scenarios plus 7 new campaigns, some artefacts can be combined to create new ones (there is a list of new artefacts here) & you can select the difficulty of each campaign map.
Interaction during the game is really easy, mainly using the mouse you can do everything from walk, run, enter towns & cities to battle your enemies. While fighting your possible moves are shown to you and you just click where you want to move or you can attach a selected enemy. Likewise the movement is simple just double click on the map where you need to go and your character will move there.
All the game is, is a series of clicks if you move to a city on the map owned by your enemy the cursor will change to let you know you can attack it, otherwise the cursor will change for you to enter that city. The whole game is built like this and within a matter of minutes you will have mastered the controls.
The graphics for the game have been slightly improved and 8 new terrain types have been added to make the world more varied, you get a map and campaign editor and dipite the combat being a hex affair, its really does look nice. The effects are kind of cool, nothing special but somehow the game appeals. The sound is also good, nothing special but its does the job perfectly.
Overall this game is good, the fact that you get everything else released for Heroes of M&M 3 in this one box is appealing and if you have not tried this yet, I suggest you do.