Video gamers who have played any of the last three installments in the Heroes of Might and Magic series can now get their fix of the turn based strategy game they learned to love. Heroes of Might and Magic V still provides basically the same gaming experience as the last three installments in the series, but there are a few changes you will notice. New World Computing is no longer the developer for the series, having closed up shop in 2003. Ubisoft obtained the rights to publish the popular series and passed it off to Russian developer Nival Interactive, creator of Silent Storm, Blitzkrieg, and Etherlords. Nival Interactive took the reigns and moved the beloved series in a bold direction by creating a new 3D universe with new mythology and factions, instead of a 2D universe utilizing the troops and factions seen in previous games in the series. The 3D maps are massive and beautifully detailed, and it's harder to find treasure, see monsters and locate sites in the 3D environment at times, but the ability to zoom and rotate the adventure map helps to alleviate this.
What’s New in HOMM V
Lovers of the series will be glad to hear they still travel about the map with a hero collecting needed resources and battling enemies of opposing factions in an effort to gain territory and control the map. During combat phase the game switches to a chess-like battle-mode, where you face off against your opponent on a battlefield. Each hero and creature group takes turns moving about the battlefield and attacking, until you retreat, if you can, or meet your maker. Nival has created 80 different types of creatures, spanning six factions for you to choose from, with many magical creatures capable of fatal magical attacks. Heroes gain experience through battle and treasure, and level-up, which adds an RPG element to Heroes of Might and Magic V. You can even level-up creatures’ capabilities by upgrading your cities.
Gamers who have played previous games in the series will notice that the ability to move their hero about the game map by themselves is gone. That they can no longer stack more then one hero in a stack, nothing but heroes in a stack, or no hero in a stack. Returning to the dynamic used in previous games of one hero, one stack, and the game lacks a little depth because of it.
There are still two basic modes; campaign and multiplayer mode, with six single scenarios that play like campaign missions and a single campaign that is a six chapter, 30-scenario monster that took less time then my latest book. The single scenarios each have the same painfully-long cut scenes, non-adjustable settings, and boring, puzzle-like objectives, so replaying them is the last thing you feel like doing.
Sounds of the Game (3 out of 5)
The sound track is sombre through the majority of the game, but solid and gives good quality sound. The background music sounds good, but doesn't change enough and is boring after you play the game for awhile. The sound quality is excellent, but occasionally the battle sounds didn't synchronize exactly with the battle animations.
Graphics Rating (5 out of 5)
The Graphics are excellent and the fantastic geographical maps are beautifully rendered in the new 3D universe of Heroes of Might and Magic. The game graphics ran at a consistent rate, never slowing down noticeably and the cut scenes were well designed and rendered.
Entertainment Value (4 out of 5)
Heroes of Might and Magic V is a tactical turn-based game that is a riot to play, and a true challenge if you like a game that isn't easy to beat. If you love hiring armies, conducting battles and conquering territory and their tenants, then this game is for you. The AI is good, it actually makes the task of winning much harder, which is the job of an AI, making the game a blast and raising the games difficulty to a much higher level.
Playability (4 out of 5)
Heroes of Might and Magic V is a difficult game to beat, playing some parts over and over to find a little bit of information or item necessary to achieve a goal, can slow you down and make the game downright impossible to beat for some people. Fun to play, certainly, but if you prefer a simple game that is relatively easy to beat, you better pick a different game.
Replay Attraction (4 out of 5)
Heroes of Might and Magic can be played and re-played at will, and this is going to be necessary to figure out how to win in most of the scenarios and the campaign. Many gamers preferring an easier game to defeat and will probably prefer not to be continually frustrated, and this game can frustrate you. If you don't like doing something over and over, looking for a better solution to a problem or something you may have missed, in order to complete a game, you better try an easier game.
Overall (4 out of 5)
In conclusion, Heroes of Might and Magic V still has the real gem of the series, the combat design. The design allows for the implementation of battle tactics on both the main map and the battle map, which is the real meat of Heroes of Might and Magic V, making this title in the series easily the best. The re-designed battlefield makes the placement of units before and during battle of utmost importance. The game play is balanced and the new initiative bar allows you to be aware of the effects of moral and to understand exactly which units can move in what order, so you can design your battle strategy. There are a host of tactics and strategies you can implement on your way to victory, making Heroes of Might and Magic V a pleasure to play.
Developer: Nival Interactive
Genre: Strategy/Role Playing
Players in the game: 1-8
ESBR Rating: Teen; blood, fantasy, violence, suggestive scenes and mild violence
Developers system requirements: Pentium 4 1.5 GHz Central Processing Unit, 512MB RAM, 64MB 3D video card, 2 GB ROM memory
Suggested system requirements: Pentium 4 3GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, 128MB 3D video card
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