I have to say that Might and Magic Heroes VI took me by surprise. As an avid lover of RPGs, the Might and Magic Series is one that I strangely overlooked, more so since I don’t play a lot of Strategy games. It is a series that I’ve heard a great deal about, but for some reason or another, always seemed to have an excuse to pass on it. Because of that, though, I was extra excited to give the new game a shot.
I think not knowing much about the series as a whole was a bit of a crutch for me in the beginning. The game is really, really hard. I managed to fail on the first map four times before actually completing it. At first, it was extremely frustrating. Fortunately, as I kept playing I was able to pick up more on the strategy involved. After that, the game became much more enjoyable, and the challenge was something I looked forward to besting.
In fact, as I delved further into the game, I feel that the developers delivered in exactly the way that they meant to. This game isn’t for the weak spirited. It seems they wanted you to strive to do you best, and put in challenges that they knew would give you a sense of satisfaction overcoming. In order to test this theory, and before proceeding further with Heroes VI, I decided to visit my good friend –and wallet’s worst enemy– Steam and test out some older Might and Magic games. (Note: This was a cause of the delay of this review, but I feel was needed to really give the game a fair shake).
The experience was an eye-opener for me, and cleared up any extra confusion that I had about the game and the series. All of the Heroes of Might and Magic games are tough, and also all play very similar. It has now become a series that I’m sorry I avoided for so long.
Might and Magic Heroes VI is a Turn-Based Strategy (TBS) game. Unlike some of its Real-Time Strategy (RTS) brethren, there are rest phases between turns. You get a certain number of moves, and then you rest for a bit while your enemies do the same. The areas are fairly large in size, so you may find this system a little tedious at first. It’s rather easy to get the hang of after a few rounds. This is the case not only during combat, but also on the main map as you’re moving around. This style suits the game very well.
Because of the TBS nature of the game, combat takes some thought. The basic “trash” fights aren’t all that bad and can be fairly swiftly taken out for some easy gold and experience, but the Mini-Boss and Boss fights are where they separate the (figurative) boys from men. This is also where I had really run into trouble even on the first map early on. The developers really but a lot of time, energy, and detail into making these battles seem pretty epic in scale. This is also where that term “strategy” really begins to shine through.
Now, to make this all mean something, there is a story woven into the game. While it is not the most enthralling lore ever created, I found it to be interesting enough to be worthwhile to the overall plot of the game. There is also a build in “Morality” system built in. Some games, like Mass Effect for example, make these choices game altering. In Heroes VI, this isn’t the case. It’s more of a “Do you want this item, or that item?” type of choice. It really just makes for a more customizable experience for your Hero.
My only complaint when it comes to Heroes VI is a common one amongst PC gamers. The DRM (Digital Rights Management) associated with it. In order to play the game at all, you have to log into your Ubisoft account. For anyone whose internet may be down (or in my case, at one point my router stopped working and I had to get a new one), they are out of luck if they want to play. DRM is used to deter piracy, but the problem is that those who pirate the games also use hacks to get around the authentication system. So, forcing people to log into a server just to play your single player game is just creating problems for the legitimate users, not the pirates.
Might and Magic Heroes VI, as a whole, is a very solid game. It introduced me to a series that I had been missing out on for a long time, and for that I am greatful. I plan on finishing up the older games, and will definitely be picking up the future releases. While the DRM has the chance to pose problems to potential players, the story, mechanics, and overall gameplay provide a fun and challenging environment for veterans and newbies alike. Also, there are a few multiplayer modes if you wish to play with friends. For any hardcore strategy fan, this should be towards the top of your lists.
– Fun Gameplay
– Looks Great
– Story and Morality system give it a bit of a twist
– Can be very challenging at times
– DRM (Requires internet connection for single player gameplay)