The Heroes of Might and Magic series has gone on for a very long time. It started back in 1995 with the release of the first Heroes of Might and Magic. Very recently, Might and Magic: Heroes 6 released to very little fanfare, but since this is Few Years Old Game Reviews #fyor, I’m not going to talk about that one. Instead I’ll talk about the sixth game in the series, which released back in October of 2011.
Might and Magic: Heroes VI
The sixth installment has a slightly different title than its predecessors, while those were Heroes of Might and Magic I-V, this one is Might and Magic: Heroes VI, why they chose to change that?
I haven’t got a clue, probably because everybody referred to the other games just by saying ‘Heroes‘ and tacking on a number afterwards, and they wanted to head them off with having Heroes VI in the title, I don’t know.
Heroes of Might and Magic Legacy
So anyway, one cannot talk about Heroes VI without comparing it to the games that came before it, mainly because the series helped to create and shape this particular genre of TBS (turn-based strategy) games, and most other similar games are usually compared to the HOMM series.
So how does Might and Magic: Heroes 6 compare to the other titles in the series? Having played more than just a bit of Heroes 1 through 5 – yes, even 4 – I can say that it compares rather well. It is exactly what a new title of a series should be, introducing new features while keeping in tune with the spirit and style of play of its predecessors.
Art and graphic style
This installment takes the graphics engine from Heroes of Might and Magic V, and spruces it up here and there. It’s basically the same thing with some minor changes, mostly related to smoother and more detailed models. This was the one thing that really didn’t need massive changes, since the engine from Heroes V was a good solid upgrade from the earlier versions.
While the look and feel of the game are important, what the series relies on is great, interesting gameplay, which focuses on resource gathering, management and tactical combat. This installment adds in a bit of RPG nuance to the pot as well.
Ubisoft kept the entire gameplay from Heroes 5 and made it so much better, a true evolution of the previous game.
As mentioned earlier, one of the main focuses of the game is tactical combat, and this is where Heroes VI is much more complex and harder than its predecessor. The square grid is the same – fucking square grid, why do game developers think square grids are a good idea? (but that’s a discussion for a different article) – the units are largely the same, although with different names, characteristics and character models. However, where the changes are clear, is in the various abilities of each unit, and how exactly they interact, both with other friendly units and with enemy units.
Heroes VI has many more interactions between unit abilities that need awareness and learning, if you want to actually progress through the game – this isn’t a good thing, it’s a great thing.
It used to be that usually if your stack was just that much bigger than your enemy’s, you’d normally win. We’ll ignore hero involvement for this example. While that is still basically true, how exactly you use that stack and its special abilities can mark a huge difference when it comes to the amount of units you lose by the end of combat. And rather implicitly, the amount of troops that you have left over for the next combat encounter.
This not only makes the game more interesting and the battles much more tactical . It also makes it a lot harder.
While playing the campaign mode on Normal difficulty, one mission took me 9h:51m to complete, and you can bet there were some game loadings sprinkled during that mission. Despite this, the game doesn’t seem tedious, the threat of the enemy AI is almost constantly palpable, which is something else that the other games didn’t do as well.
Talking about the combat wouldn’t be complete without talking about the role that the heroes have in it. Besides the already traditional artifact collecting that the other games have instilled in the series, Heroes VI introduces a slight RPG nuance to the heroes, allowing you to directly influence whether or not your particular hero should follow the path of Might, or the path of Magic. In each of those there are several branches of abilities or spells to invest in, whether offensive, defensive or utilitarian.
Yet another RPG-like feature of the heroes is the Tears and Blood alignment system. You get a reputation in either one when making decisions – it’s nothing major, but there are certain artifacts that you will only be able to use if you have a certain alignment, and dedicating yourself to one of the two will yield certain bonuses.
There would be many more things to talk about, but I don’t want to go overboard with this review, this is a really good game, a worthy addition to the Heroes of Might and Magic series – or Might and Magic: Heroes series now, and totally worth your time, even if it will take up a shit-ton of it.
How about you let me know what you thought of Might and Magic: Heroes VI?
Also, writing this review reminded me of my all-time favorite Heroes of Might and Magic title, the second one, not Heroes of Might and Magic 3 HD. Expect a review for Heroes of Might and Magic 2 sometime in the future.
See ya soon though, again in the past.
Might and Magic: Heroes VI is available on Amazon. – if you plan to add it to your collection, feel free to use our affiliate link.