MIGHT AND MAGIC HEROES 7
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on September 29, 2015
Our very own Lex "Gaz the Dungeonmaster" Ansems is currently overseeing construction of his brand new Dungeon on sunny Greece. So while he is away, he asked me to feed his mail, water his imps and pick up his plants, or something like that... I think he was mumbling at the time. But, anyway, on one of my daily trips to his evil stronghold, I ( completely by accident, I assure you) came across a parchment containing what I thought to be some form of ancient arcane spell. So I lit some candles and started reciting the words on the page. And, to my surprise, nothing happened. I don't know what I was expecting, but I surely didn't expect nothing to happen. NOTHING... not a bloody sausage!
It was then and there that I decided that magic and spells weren't really my cup of tea, so I turned to something I do understand: modern technology. After a quick check I found out that what I had found was a genuine review code for the latest installment in the Heroes of Might & Magic series. Naturally, I did what any good friend would do; I wrote a made up code on an empty piece of parchment and replaced the original with the made-up one, claiming the game for my very own. So now I hope Gaz doesn't find out and sends his pet Chimaeras after me. So Gaz, if you read this before dispatching your multi-breed killing machines, I just want you to know that I'm very, VERY sorry!
Nevertheless, we have a review to do, so let's have a look at the game at hand: Might & Magic Heroes 7. As most of you might already know, Might & Magic Heroes is a turn-based strategy game series, set in Heroes of Might & Magic universe. It's been some years since the holy empress, Maeve Falcon was brutally assassinated. The once mighty Falcon Empire is falling apart and all sorts of noblemen, knights, thieves and scoundrels are looking to claim a piece of the shattered empire for their own. One man that has his eye on a sizeable chunk of land is a Duke who goes by the name of Ivan Griffin. But in order to build his own kingdom on the rubble of the Falcon empire, he must gather a group of warriors, each loyal to his cause.
First up, let's have a look at the factions in Might & Magic Heroes 7. There's been a lot of speculation and bickering over which factions should make their return and which could go and bugger off. A lot of seasoned players seem to have their own favorite, so virtually every faction had someone rooting for them. But, in the end, only six factions are incorporated into the game, so a choice had to be made. The developers at Limbic Entertainment did a portion of the choosing for us, announcing that four factions had already been chosen to appear in the game: Haven, Academy, Stronghold and Necropolis. The remaining two factions would be chosen by means of a poll. In the end, the Sylvan and the Dungeon factions were most voted for by players all over the world, and made their way into the final game.
Upon starting the main campaign, you witness a gathering of the Duke and his warriors, as they sit in a medieval conference room and carefully plan their strategy. The Duke is all for sneaky retreat and regroup strategy, while the rest of his merry band has their own opinions on the matter. To decide what the best course of action is, they each tell a tale of a time long past, meant to inspire the Duke to never give up and never surrender.
Each character at the table has his or her own story to tell, and it's up to choose which story is going to be told and to make sure that story ends well. When a particular character starts their tale, we are first treated to a nice-looking cutscene, in which the story is introduced and the scene is set. After this cutscene, you gain control over the characters, featured in the story that is being told. You travel through the empire, gathering gold and other resources and occasionally fight against other armies present in the region. First, your character or characters get their turn, then, the opposing side get theirs. Your characters can move a number of spaces, equal to their movement gauge. When this gauge runs out, that character can no longer move, and ends its turn.
When you fight a army you stumble across, the screen changes and shows the battleground you are going to fight on. These battle environments are set up like a kind of chess board and squares help you keep track of where your troops can or cannot go. First, you can select where to deploy your troops and then the battle starts. Fighting in Might & Magic Heroes 7 is (as you might expect) turn-based. You can move any of your characters equal to, again, their total movement. You can also issue a wait order, forfeiting your turn in order to gain a tactical advantage. And, of course, there's always the possibility to attack an opponent, but only if that opponent is within range. Attacks vary from ranged attacks or brutal frontal attacks to sneaky backstabbing attacks. The diversity of said attacks result in a very tactical kind of warfare and let the player carefully plan and execute their battle strategy.
Characters can be assigned new skills by gathering resources or magic items. Skills can be upgraded, providing the character at hand with more efficient means to vanquish any foe they might encounter. Each character has its unique traits, back story and personality, which makes playing Might & Magic Heroes 7 that much more immersive and compelling. The voice acting is more than decent and gives each character that unique feel, one is looking for when playing a game of this magnitude. Or, as my colleague Gaz the Dungeonmaster said in his MMH7 Beta review: "every hero and monster looks and feels unique, it's not just a clone with a new skin, but a totally different character." And I, for one, tend to agree with our friend Gaz here. No, I'm not only saying that because I am trying to get on his good side after stealing this awesome game from him, I really think this helps this game in terms of player experience and immersion.
Visually, Might & Magic Heroes 7 looks really cool. The in-game animations look really good which, combined with the overall look and style of the game as well as the awesome semi-static cutscenes makes for a highly enjoyable experience all-round. The in-game and ambient sounds match the on-screen environments and action perfectly, even more enhancing the already epic-scaled story. The world and menus of Might & Magic Heroes 7 look sublime while being easy enough to understand and use without so much as breaking a sweat. Everything you will ever need while playing the game is present, and then some. But, more importantly, everything is really easy to find, which is a big plus in my book. I mean, let's be honest; if the in-game menus are a quest in themselves, what do we need a game for? So, luckily, this game has none of these problems and plays like a charm!
So yes, ladies and gentlemen, Might & Magic Heroes 7 is a worthy successor to the throne and will undoubtedly be played a lot by tons of players out there. It's a real treat for everyone that loves turn-based strategy, a very good fantasy story and really, really cool characters. It's really challenging, so even seasoned Might & Magic players will have their work cut out for them. The added advantage of being able to set the difficulty of each battle makes this game suitable for anyone that just wants to play an immersive strategic game, even if that person (yours truly) has not played any games in this particular genre in years and , more to the point, generally sucks at them. Very quickly, I was enjoying myself a whole lot more than I would have suspected. There's something about the game that just makes you want to find out what happens next, without stretching the story so thin it becomes flimsy. So whether you're a turn-based strategy veteran or someone who just heard of the genre and is anxious to give it a try, Might & Magic Heroes is a game you should definitely try; trust me, you will enjoy yourself!
So now, my comrades. Let steel gleam in the morning sun, let blood drench the ground and let's show these gobshites who runs this kingdom... CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGEEEEEEEEEEEEE!