When I heard that the latest Heroes of Might and Magic game was changing the title and a ton of classic features, I was wary. I cant steal my opponents resource mines without taking his town first? Only three tiers of creatures instead of the typical 7+? Obviously they must have dumbed it down to the point of generic fantasy strategy, and made it not worthy of the HOMM title!
The more I play this though, the more I realize the basic game changes are a great step forward for the series. They reduce micromanagement, they increase your strategic options, and the sixth game in the series is better off for it... even if it is the same thing in the end.
The story is pretty easy to understand and there arent a lot of things to object to as a parent here. An easy campaign setting will even help the little ones become great generals.
Gameplay - 80 / 100
If youre new to the series, this is
actually a good game to
get into it with. Theres
campaign that will teach you all of the critical and new topics of the
and its not a complete snooze for veterans.
Youve got three difficulty settings as well, and the
going can be very
rough early on in each of the campaigns on normal until you get some
spells under your belt.
You control one or more heroes of a
faction in a turn based
strategy style, with an overview map to view towns, treasures, and
resources. When the
battle breaks out ,
it turns into a grid-based tactical game, where the unit stacks
themselves and take turns slugging it out with or without hero support. style=""> As you build up a town,
you unlock more
creatures, upgrades for said creatures, fortifications, and unique
camps still scale as time goes on. What was once a pack or
horde might eventually grow to become a full legion of hundreds strong.
Unique buildings for the factions
arent new by any means,
but theres a pair of new features that make them truly interesting now. style=""> Each faction now has four
but you can only
build two per town. The
limit on them
has increased the power of them however, with some having global
all heroes, and one of the Inferno unique causes a massive firestorm on
enemy units every turn when the town is sieged.
Your decision for the unique structures often determines
the role of the
The other feature is that you can now
convert towns and
forts of other factions to your own once you conquer them! style=""> This is nothing short of
huge, and while very
costly, all non-unique buildings switch over to the respective
buildings and generic buildings for your faction when you do this. style=""> This leads to much larger
armies much faster,
and when you add in the fact that your recruits are automatically
between towns and can be picked up from any town that you arrive at,
both faster and require less heroes to act as caravans to ferry troops
up resources that your army of doom cant be troubled to touch.
When battles break out, heroes no
longer have to play by the
initiative rules. Any
time an allied
unit has its turn, you can make your one hero attack or spell. style=""> Additionally, each faction
has a unique gauge
that charges as your units dish it out and take it.
This gauge can be used to activate a power
that will typically change the flow of battlemaking a stack of troops
invincible, resurrecting the dead, or calling in reinforcements for
instance. These can
be activated by
heroes and they dont consume the action of the hero, so its possible
winning battles to turn sour or vice versa very quickly.
The game story is told over the
course of several campaigns,
and these campaigns take a damn long time to play out.
There are tons of small fry on each map to
deal with, and while AI-run auto combat is an option, its inefficient. style=""> In the previous
games you had the option to
automatically resolve combat instantly and move onnot an option here,
though. You can
speed up movement and
resolve combat quicker, but you still have to think and click it all
out. Since games
are often won or lost in the
first ~20 minutes of combat losses in multiplayer, its not so bad but
single player? It
gets tiresome to keep
executing the same tactics over and over again against the fairly
The interface works quite well.
style=""> You can jump between towns
all in a few clicks, and quickly pull up detail on buffs, debuffs, and
are a few problems like
not being able to select the enemy hero in a siege and some tooltip
the game doesnt actively go against you like a lot of other strategy
lately. Just dont
expect a masterpiece
of storytelling and youll enjoy the singleplayer through in-game
getting absurdly powerful heroes and items thrown in your lap.
Graphics - 82 / 100
Weve got a lot to look at in this
game, and the majority of
it is good. Some
environments, such as
the flaming underground of Inferno, look absolutely marvelous, where as
dying lands of Necropolis somehow manage to look bland and lifeless,
theyre undead, but the graphics for them shouldnt totally devoid of
strikes will switch to a more cinematic camera and have completely
different animations. Even the most basic units have badass
critical strikes, like these ranged skeletons.
Cutscenes are all told in game, and
most barely get a dialog
box. The opening
cinematic is glorious
though, and the special attention to animations during combat is
dont just slap each
other, even the most basic units do it with style.
Vampire Lords, for instance, when told to
defend take their swords and draw a shadowy line in the sandwhich is
seeing as they have a skill that makes the next direct attack against
and counter for full damage after it.
Sound - 87 / 100
Some fairly good voice work depicts the characters of the world, and a solid soundtrack permeates the gamewhen you want it and sometimes when its totally unnecessary as the sound bugs out and you have battle tracks playing for world maps, etc. Units roar, scream, and weapons clash with good effects to announce combat and losses. But when youre playing multiplayer or custom games, you better be happy with no voices at all.
Multiplayer - 65 / 100
HOMM has always been a good series
for multiplayer and Im
stunned that this sixth version still has the almighty hotseat. style=""> As the series that
introduced me to hotseat
multiplayer marathons, Im proud to say nothing has really changed here. style=""> Make sure you find people
that play fair or
by your own personal rules though, as games can end awfully quickly if
blindsided by someone not going for a mighty army battle, but a quick
armies start getting massive and the whole game rides on one clash or
fort, you know you're playing a Heroes of Might and Magic
However, Im going to use this
section to note Ubisofts
silly connection/legacy system. You
be connected to the internet to use various screw it, theyre Call
of Duty perks.
level a Dynasty and acquire items that level up as you do for various
is one genre that
doesnt need that crap.
Value - 65 / 100
The campaigns are long and the replay fairly high, but for a full retail game its a hard sell. The variety in the campaigns isnt all that great, and the story is nothing to brag about. If youre the type like me that will go gung ho for slinging around stacks of thousands of pikemen and skeletons , get it, if not, you should hotseat a game or two with a friend while you wait for it to go down in price.
Lasting Appeal - 70 / 100
Honestly, this generation has let me down in many ways, but Im very surprised to see a solid entry in a legendary series come out without completely ruining the formula in the process. Hell, they improved on it in a few ways! The downside is that the other games in the series are all incredibly similar, and depending on whom you ask, better. This game isnt so godly that its going to replace 2, 3, or 5.
Pros and Cons
Lots of little nifty fixes to
- Some awesome combat animation
Really nailed the setting for
most of the factions, especially
Auto battle is good, but wheres
my straight up
issuesthis game had a long beta, why
are these still in?
Just doesnt go far enough with
the new stuff.
Heroes of Might and Magic VI isnt a bad game, per se; its just that it its too safe. Too little has changed between the combat and overworld map, and that which was changed was merely changed for convenience rather than mixing things up. All of the pieces of a good game in the series are here, but to be blunt this could and SHOULD just be an expansion or mod for HoMM V that adds the new campaign and Sanctuary race.