The Might & Magic series is on that has been around longer than I have. These games started out in the mid-1980s with the release of the first game, Might & Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum. Since then, the series has gone through many different developers, publishers, and more games and spin-offs than you can even count. Limbic Entertainment is the latest developer to bring a brand new game to the Heroes series with lucky number 7 during the 20th anniversary year of Heroes.
If you’ve never played a Might & Magic game before, then you’re probably wondering what this game is all about. It is a turn-based strategy game about exploring a war-torn world with a group of heroes. As the player, you’ll be tasked with finding resources, allies, and foes all throughout the game map. As you find these things, the battles begin and you find yourself in a digital war as you heroes attempt to defeat their foes and protect their allies. It’s a pretty straight-forward approach and one that turn-based strategy fans will instantly be comfortable with.
For those that have played the game, there are a couple of new/returning additions. Players can now deal bonus damage to enemies by flanking them with multiple soldiers. It sounds like a small thing, but I’m sure many are praising the fact that that’s now possible. Caravans have also made a return after a puzzling absence in Heroes VI. This allows the hire and placement of new units in town without them crowding the hero as you’re exploring. It’s definitely a helpful addition if for nothing more than to keep the game running smoothly and keeping the speed of exploration at it’s highest. Dynamic events have also made their way into the game. An ogre can smash a bridge for example. I for one am a fan of dynamic events as I feel it keeps a game world fresh, however as usual, I wish there were more of these to keep players on their toes.
Might & Magic Heroes VII certainly has a far more streamlined approach than previous games in the series. 3D towns have been scrapped in favour of 2D town maps where players can create and upgrade new troops and buildings through a new progression tree. It seems like a step back at first until you see what can become of it once you have progressed up the tree. There’s even a new skill wheel for hero progression in Heroes VII. You can choose between regular combat boosts or boosts for your troops in a range of different areas. It’s a system frequently seen in these types of games and one that fits in well here.
The big issue I found was that sometimes, heroes would vanish into towns and I’d never see them again. It’s a big deal when something like that happens and I expect a patch for that if it becomes widespread. It didn’t happen to me very often, but it shouldn’t at all. The presentation was also somewhat lacking to me as I felt the cut-scenes and story left a lot to be desired. The characters stand around the war table and never move their bodies or their mouths even when they’re talking. Limbic wins points back for the beautiful game world that they’ve created which is far more important than the awkward characters posing as statues around the war table.
There are 7 four part campaigns in Might & Magic Heroes VII with flash backs to legends of heroic deeds. This allows the game to feel different on each play-through as you’re not playing the same story 7 times. It was one of the better decisions made in this game and one that keeps it’s roughly 50 hour campaign fresh. The hand-drawn cut-scenes here were also a welcome addition, far better than the 3D ones. Not every game needs 3D cut-scenes to be great game.
Apart from the main game, there’s online, hot seat, or LAN multiplayer maps for up to eight players. There’s even a Duel mode that lets you jump right into combat. It also comes with a map editor, which allows you to mold terrain and make factions of your own. The tools are there, it’s just a matter of getting players to use them.
I’d recommend Might & Magic Heroes VII to everyone. There aren’t a whole lot of games like this these days and this game will provide hours of enjoyment for a fans of the series and fantasy gamers alike.
Might & Magic Heroes VII is available for CAD$59.99 on Uplay
*A copy of this game was provided by Ubisoft to FYIG for review purposes*