Rugged Reviews

Might and Magic: Heroes VI Review

by Ouroboros on October 7, 2015
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Synopsys

So how does Might and Magic: Heroes 6 compare to the other titles in the series? Having played quite 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.

Might and Magic Heroes VI Review

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.

might-and-magic-heroes-vi-review-series-legacy

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.

Gameplay

Ubisoft kept the entire gameplay from Heroes 5 and made it so much better, a true evolution of the previous game.

Might and Magic: Heroes VI - Motherfucking square grid

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.

RPG nuances

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.

Might and Magic: Heroes VI Review - hero abilities

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?

Heroes of Might and Magic 2 screenshotAlso, 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.

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  • October 7, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    The tactical side didn’t seem much improved from 5. The abilities were an important part there, even more so in the expansions where they introduced branching upgrades. I actually remember 5 to be a bit better balanced, with a bit more dynamic battles, whereas in 6 most of my major battles turned into fights of attrition because of the lower number of units, their very specialized nature and especially because of the imbalanced summoning, healing, reviving and shielding abilities.

    But the major improvement of the gameplay was the strategic side. Separating the maps into regions and linking the control of the mines to the control of the fort or town in that region was a very inspired move. It removed a lot of the micromanaging which was necessary, especially on larger maps, in earlier games and it made the whole game feel more like a test of strategy -of maneuvering armies and controlling territory- and not a test of patience.

    • October 8, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Point taken. I didn’t play the expansioned version of 5, only vanilla, and similarly with Heroes VI. In my estimate, I had much more fun in VI precisely because of the very specialized nature and lower numbers of your troops. Obviously to each his own but right now I’m waiting for Heroes of Might and Magic 2 to be on sale 😀 Looking forward to replaying the shit out of that one again, and this time also writing about it.

      • October 8, 2015 at 10:21 am

        On the other hand I tried to replay V recently and couldn’t get really far into it. I think mostly because of the strategic map. With a bit more polish from the get-go VI would have been a lot more successful.

        • October 9, 2015 at 11:07 am

          I am rather curious what type of experience Heroes of Might and Magic 2 has in store for me – besides the obvious nostalgia factor – after so many years of playing its graphically upgraded sequels, it’s going to be a nice personal case study.

          • ruggedgamers
            October 13, 2015 at 11:42 am

            Maybe I’m weird, but for me, after playing HOMM 3 first-off, it was a much friendlier experience to then play HOMM 2 than HOMM 4 or 5. The upgraded graphics were very distracting.

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