You canít say Turn Based Strategy without having Heroes of Might and Magic in there somewhere. The game series has been sleeping for a while of course and now its back, brought to us by the kind folks at Ubisoft. Heroes of Might and Magic V is a colourful return to the series and is a good starting point for old and new fans alike.Story
Itís someoneís wedding day and the proceedings are interrupted suddenly with a flash and a bang, demons attack and overrun the Griffin Empire. The Queen is separated from her beloved and the stage is set for the typical fantasy plot. Itís time for some sword and sorcery action as the game unfolds.Gameplay
There are six factions and six campaigns to get to grips with in the game, there are 80 creatures to use and at least 170 creature powers to learn. This is all thrown together in an easy, simple and intuitive interface that doesnít require a degree in Rocket Science to understand.
Moving around the world is accomplished via clicking (or double clicking) at a point of interest on screen, hitting the move key or the move icon. Your hero, the main avatar that you control at the beginning will move up to her action point total and then you must end your turn. Later on when you have multiple heroes and armies on the move youíll be able to move all of them before you end your turn.
As you explore the vibrant maps you will encounter creatures that want to join with you, creatures that would rather fight and various small locations that give your character or army a bonus. All of these are displayed with easy to see icons and in full 3d graphics not dissimilar to good old Warcraft 3
There are certain buildings in the world that you can capture and these will either add to your overall resources (gold, wood, gems, ore, mercury, sulphur and crystals) provide a better view of the map, increase your unit type production or provide another kind of bonus. The interface lets you know clearly and concisely about the kind of building it is and what bonus it provides.
Some of the creatures (depending on the size and power of your heroesí army) will flee rather than fight, you can chase them down if you want or let them go. If you choose to fight you can kill them and gain more experience than you would for just letting them go.
The exploration and city management portion of the game is simple enough to learn, thereís no confusion about what each icon or information panel does and the mini-map of the area is clean and concise. There is a handy objectives button and this tracks what you need to do nicely.
City management is again simple, you can upgrade and build the various buildings to transform your settlement into a thriving metropolis and these upgrades give you bonuses to various things, or they allow you to build up a new set of creatures. You can also upgrade your armiesí units and replenish dead troops here. A good example of this is taking a Knight unit and making it into a Paladin. You can purchase various war machines to aid you in battles and provide support to your units.
The combat in Heroes V is again simple, with either turn based or active battle (akin to certain Squaresoft
games) but for this review weíll concentrate on turn based. You are given a chance at the start to place your units on the map and then combat proceeds in the order of creature initiative. Each creature can either move, attack or skip their turn, waiting or defending for example.
You can cast spells if your hero has the ability and provide support to your own army. If you have a Ballista on side then it will fire automatically unless your hero has the skill to command one, in that case you may choose your own target for the siege weapon.
Combat is simple and easy to pick up, the various bonuses and tactical elements are hidden seamlessly in the game system and you can just concentrate on having fun. When you are involved in a siege you gain a catapult for destroying enemy walls and until the walls are down only flying and certain ranged units can attack. This is not mired by complex unit tactics and a myriad of formation buttons; itís been made as accessible as possible so that the game isnít bogged in realistic war-game detail.
Your hero can search for mysterious and ancient artefacts as the story progresses but Iíll leave that up to the player to find out.
When you have enough experience itís time to level up the hero and gain some new abilities and powers. You get given a basic increase as standard to attack or defence and so on, then you can pick from certain powers or skills as you keep gaining levels. Once again itís simple and effective, the whole system works very well.