Posted by Benjamin Webb on Nov 11, 2011

Might and Magic Heroes VI Review


Might and Magic Heroes 6

Developer: Black Hole Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Turn-based strategy
Platforms: PC
Release Date: Out Now!
Price: $46.99 (Available Here)

Overview:

Do you have friends, girl(/boy)friends, family members or other social activities that need to have any substantial time investment within? How about a job that requires you to work to live, do you have one of those? If you’re going to be purchasing this game, which I would heartily recommend doing, you may find yourself skipping out on them for just one more turn. Might and Magic Heroes VI is the latest turn based strategy game in a long line of games within the Might and Magic franchise. It features a (very) lenghty single player component, a very nice multiplayer component and a custom game mode, for if you want to practice or just want some quick action without the story getting in the way.

Story:

In Might and Magic Heroes VI, the story begins within the tutorial levels (which don’t actually feel like tutorial levels, hooray!) with the Duke Slava investigating the return of Demons within his domain, The Griffin Duchy. The plot thickens when he needs to team up with his races mortal enemies, the Orcs, in order to repel these invaders and to save his lands. Of course, for any other game, this would have been the entire arc within the story. However, in Might and Magic Heroes VI it is not. The plot takes a turn for the worse when Duke Slava is murdered by his own daughter a few years after his fellow Dukes of Haven stage a skirmish on him for collaborating with Orcs.

The death of Slava sets the games story up for each of the playable races within the game, Haven, Necropolis, Sanctuary, Inferno, Stronghold and features one hidden arc. Unlike most games, each races story is pretty standalone and are all unlocked at the same time (after the completion of the tutorial) and can be played simultaneously and in any order. Of course, you can’t play any mission within the story at random, you will have to do the missions within each race sequentially, but you can go back and do any previous mission.

The story of Might and Magic Heroes VI is probably one of the longest and most robust that I have played in a long time, with some missions taking several hours to complete. Add on to that, the fact there are multiple storylines to complete and you’ll find that the game is incredibly long. The only problem with the length of the story is that you find yourself so immersed with it, that you’ll constantly tell yourself ‘Just one more turn’ right up until you look at your watch and realise that six hours have passed and you still want to continue for one more turn.

If a really decent story that keeps you engaged over a potentially long game is something that you want, I’d advise checking this game out for that reason alone.

Audio / Visuals:

The graphical component of Might and Magic Heroes VI is probably not it’s strongest point. In fact, I’d say that this game isn’t designed to portray things realistically, and as a result, has a graphical system that best suits the style of the game. With the games engine having to render so many different kinds of buildings and units at the same time, for multiple factions across huge maps, it’s probably best that the graphical style is as simple as it needed to be.

Of course, that isn’t to say that the models are bad, rather, they’re just simple. I often found myself zooming the camera in (using the scroll thing on the mouse) to take a closer look at some of the creatures in the game. In my opinion the simpler style gives each unit a bit more personality than they would have recieved if they were photo-realistic. Let’s take a look at a water elemental for example. If this was to be a photo-realistic creature, it would be incredibly clear and appear as a water-like human body, barely discernable by eye. But using this graphical style, we get this nice blue monster that is much more appeasing to the eye and is that much more believable within the setting of the game. This logic applies for all the creatures within Might and Magic Heroes VI.

Might and Magic Heroes VI features a large quantity of audio within the game. There are sounds for every unit within the game, as well as background scores for combat, overworlds and factions. There are also a wide array of sound effects for weaponry and spells.

The orchestral score fits the theme of the game quite well and doesn’t get in the way of the pre-recorded dialogue during storyline moments. The pre-recorded dialoge was also of a great quality, with each voice actor accurately portraying their character quite well.

Ultimately, I believe that the games visual style suits the game amazingly well, even if it’s not the games strongest point (that’s the gameplay, shh… spoilers). The audio also adds a very nice level to the game that further enhances the experience. Players will not be dissappointed in these regards.

Gameplay:

In Might and Magic Heroes VI, players take control of a Hero of a specific faction and load them up with armies of creatures to fight against other heroes and conquer towns. This may sound like something very simple, and it is, but it can very quickly become complicated.

Each hero in your control has their own experience points and inventory, as well as their own armies to use while engaging with enemies. Some races are better suited to having multiple heroes roaming around, each with their own armies, while other benefit from having a few heroes with very large armies. The game is all about learning your chosen team and levelling up your heroes in ways to compliment your teams strengths.

The idea in MMH6 is to capture various points, such as sawmills and goldmines to increase your flow of resources into your kingdom to allow you to upgrade your towns. Upgrading towns is important as you’ll need them to recruit new creatures for your armies.

Combat in the game takes place over a grid, and much like travel on the overworld, it is turn based. Only, unlike the overworld, the battlegrid determines the play order of creatures based on initiative, with the highest initiative going first, then the next highest monster and so on. Unlike most strategy games, each individual creature does not represent one actual creature, it instead represents a stack of creatures which is essentially each individual creature of that type within an army. By increasing the number of a specific units stack, you make the overall stack stronger which makes individual units within the stack harder to kill. And if you’re playing Necropolis, you can keep your stack at maximum using the right unit and spell combinations. The way you set up your hero and units within your army is crucial to winning in MMH6, using your units correctly or in smart ways will yield a much higher probability of winning. Play to your factions strengths.

As I stated in the Story section, the game is very addictive. You will always find yourself wanting to play for just one more turn, regardless of if you just had that one more turn or not. Each turn seems like an incredibly quick ordeal, but you can do so much in one turn that it seems like you’ve accomplished a lot. It also feels like you can accomplish so much more on your next turn because of what you have done on your previous turn and it keeps on stacking until you’ve wasted an entire day on a custom game against 5 other bots just to see what the custom games were like. And you’ve won so many battles so far, if you keep going you might just win. Keep on going, just one more turn.

One last feature I want to talk about is the multiplayer. This can be done online, offline on a single PC (HOTSEAT!!!!!) or even over LAN. This makes MMH6 ideal for having guests over, or even an title to play at a friendly LAN party. The hotseat mode takes me back to the days of playing HoMMIII at home with a small group of friends. Such a good game mode and I’m glad it was included.

This is one game that I’ve had to force myself to stop playing (just so that I could write this review). I used to play Heroes of Might and Magic (I-III) and am loving the square grid over thehexagonal grid used in the older games. It makes fighting on some of the more exotic arenas much more easier to navigate (like the lillyponds that are narrow in the middle, as opposed to the big open plains). If you loved the classics, then returning to this will make you feel at home.

Overall:

Might and Magic Heroes VI (I’m not sure what’s with the rebranding of the title, I much prefer the older longer title Heroes of Might and Magic) is an amazing game that captures the feel of the classic games while still retaining something for itself. It’s an incredibly long game, with the story and the like, but offers much replay value in the form of added difficulties, custom games and an ever long multiplayer. In a game, you’ll be wanting to get the most for your money as you possibly can, and with this title – Might and Magic Heroes VI – you most definitely will. For just one more turn. C’mon, just one more turn. Seriously. This the last turn, I swear. One more turn.

9-0-capsules-out-of-10

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