RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Monday, 22 July 2013

Might and Magic Heroes VI

I've had a copy of Might and Magic 6 for years. I've tried to get into it several times, but failed due to circumstances outside my control or because I just plain couldn't get into it. Recently I decided to rectify that issue, and force myself to sit down for a solid Might and Magic session and finish a couple of campaigns. I gotta admit I really don't like it. It's fun for a couple of hours, but the longer you play the less interesting it gets.

I just can't seem to enjoy the battles, they are too repetitive.

Genre: RPG, Strategy
Release Date: 13th October, 2011
Platforms: PC
Score: 3/10
Similar Titles: Sorry, I can't recommend other games this bad because I just don't remember any.

Might and Magic Heroes VI thrusts you into the role of a sovereign in the world of Ashan, a place plagued by many monsters and your usual fantasy creatures. Orcs, Gryphons and Undead: stuff like that. As ruler of the realm your role is to build a large army, capture resources around the map to fund that army, and kill everything that gets in your way. Depending on which campaign you dive into there's a different story, usually something about defending your lands from an invasion or something boring like that. Sadly, the story is one of the redeeming qualities of the game- despite being scarce and short. For example, the first campaign pits you in control of Duke Slava; a young noble allied with the Orcs. Unluckily, people don't like the Orcs so you have to send them a message by putting a sword in their gut. Eventually you kill a few people who are important and some angels get involved, and everything just gets a little bloody. But to be honest, you'd be better off just reading the story on Wikipedia, it's less time consuming and you don't have to actually suffer through the tedium of the game.

The CGI does look amazing, but there's barely any of it.

Both the campaign map and the battles are turn-based in Might and Magic. You have a set amount of movement points each turn on the map, which can be increased by equipment or talents when you level up. When you end your turn your opponents get to move, and every few turns everything on the map gets slightly harder to kill. If you squander enough turns, it becomes impossible to progress further because the armies you have to defeat become far too powerful. This is a nice idea on paper, it forces you to keep making progress. The goal of each mission is to capture and convert the enemies castles, or defeat a specific army. On the way you can collect nodes such as blacksmiths or stables to generate units or resources every turn. Once a month you can recruit new forces at your stronghold, so it's usually a good idea to try and get your hero and his army nearby to pick them up. There are small armies everywhere, most of the time you want to capture something you will have to fight something for it. The campaign map is the least offensive part of Might and Magic heroes, it's not exactly fun to wander around securing places for gold; but it's not awful either. If only you didn't have to spend 10 minutes battling a bunch of peasant Undead every time you want to take control of something.

The campaign map doesn't look that pretty, and the UI can get annoying to deal with.

As for the battles, they start out quite interesting. Your units are stacked together, so you can have 40 crossbow men occupying one tile, or you could split it into 2 individual sets of 20. Each unit can move once per turn, and some of them have special attributes that aid their combat ability. For example, Gryphons can attack from any distance by flying to the target and returning to their original position. However, they are all basically the same. You move your unit into position, and attack over and over again until everything is dead. The only layer to combat on top of that is your hero. While he does not take part in the actual battle, your hero can cast spells and attack every turn from the sidelines. When you level up a few times you can choose from a rather large pool of spells in the talent tree. It's nice to have a large repertoire of abilities to use in combat, but the downside here is most of them are boring. Who wants to increase defense by x for 3 turns?

Attacking strongholds is fun the first time. Can't really say the same after that.

Overall, the battlefield is exactly what turned me off Might and Magic. It's a slow paced affair, even with when you set the computer to do it automatically for you. The problem is that you usually end up fighting a couple of armies each turn, and after a few hours it just gets sickeningly frustrating. Combat in this game is the embodiment of 'I hit you, then you hit me.', this outdated mechanic is something Square Enix have been trying to evolve for years. This is the biggest problem with the game, because why would I waste my time on it when I could just play something else with a story that I'm invested in, or with better graphics and combat?

I just can't believe this is the sixth edition of a game in 2011. It's like a game from the 90's. A bad one.

Despite the incredibly basic warfare, the game has a fair variety of different units to find and recruit. Some of the endgame angels and dragons are really cool and powerful, it's awesome to have them in your army. However, there are only a couple of upgrades for each unit. It would have been far better to give players choices when they want to make their army more powerful, instead of giving us some none-optional power ups that are insignificant for the most part. It's a real shame, because the base combat starts out promising, but it doesn't give you enough to work with as you get further into the game. The Spearmen you have at the beginning are the same as the Spearmen at the end.

The cutscenes are dull. Can't really describe them any other way.

From the small amount of research I've done, Heroes of Might and Magic 6 has advanced in quality from the titles that came before it. It's made progress. But in my opinion, no way near enough. It looks like a cool game and when you first start playing it feels like it too. The Heroes can develop aggressively down the blood path or intelligently up the tears route. The units have been collaborated from a vast collection of fictional creatures. The graphics aren't half bad, and nor is the atmosphere. Unfortunately, after a few hours your opinion of the game deteriorates, and you start to think 'shouldn't there be more to this?'.

Maybe I'm not being fair to a game that's really old. Oh wait, it's only been 2 years since it came out! It feels like it's a game from 2006 or earlier, it's that outdated. Maybe they didn't have the budget to make it better? Well I'm pretty sure Ubisoft had plenty of cash to publish it. That's the problem with this title. It seems to have everything it needed to be a comprehensive modern video game; and yet it plays like something I'd be playing on windows 98 when I was in primary school. This is the most scathing review I have written for a game thus far, and I feel a little guilty about it. So I booted up Might and Magic to give it one another chance. An hour later, I'm back- and I refuse to change a word of it. Other critics have given this game a fairly high score, one that it doesn't deserve.

Don't buy this title unless you like games that are slow-paced, unnecessarily time-consuming and outdated. I'll give it one saving grace: it's playable. But I don't pay for games that are playable. I pay for games that are going to give me an existential life crisis when I run out of content to play.

No comments:

Post a Comment