Heroes of Might & Magic V
This fifth part of the well-known series, is the first one under the wings of Ubisoft. Creating a sequel to a succesfull series is never easy because of the high expectations. Luckily this game has passed the test.
The story starts when the wedding of the future queen Isabel and king Nicolai is disturbed by demons bursting in. You don’t play every part with the same race in this campaign. That way you also play with ‘the enemy’, which makes the story better. Except for the campaign you can amuse yourself with several scenarios, once tired of this (believe me, that will take a while) you can have a go online.
On the map the traditional strategy tasks are executed: maintaining your cities, recruting new troops collecting resources, improving your stats (moral, luck, etc.) and also gaining experience to increase the level of your hero. To do this you fight a group of creatures or another hero and his army. The game switches over to another screen for these fights. You’re literally sucked into it, so no loading screens. In the heat of the battle the newly acquired spells and abilities can be tested out. Your creatures also have unique abilities, for instance ghosts aren’t always hit because attacks can go right through them.
The possibilities are huge, which is great in a strategical way, but you might not see the wood through the trees. Luckily enough, sites can be found where everything is listed if you would need it. When your hero rises a level, the new abilities and spells that can be learnt are shown more or less at random. That’s a pitty, because you’ve got less control about the direction you want your hero to go.
Once in a while I experienced some crashes, hopefully a patch will be released soon to solve this. I noticed that the game had me quickly under its spell, it’s highly addictive which means a lot of work has gone into the gameplay.
The gaming experience is being strengthened by the fantastic amount of detail, especially in combat. When there’s water around, you’ll see it splashing against the rocks or you’ll see the wave rolling onto the shore. Every creature has its own way of dying (angels ascend back to heaven) and they all have their own habits. For instance, some creatures like to defy their opponents. The camera sometimes zooms in on a certain action or follows a projectile, and this happens not too often or too little. All this serves to involve you more in the game and especially to make the whole more lively and to create a nice atmosphere. Successfully!
Yet it isn’t roses all the way, especially not concerning the cutscenes. The trees are dancing instead of waving in the wind and the characters seem to be statues, there even isn’t any lipsync. However, sometimes there’s a movie in which these things do look good. On top of that there are also some errors in the graphics, like your hero who goes straight through your units when attacking. Nevertheless this shouldn’t bother you, because these erros are not commonplace and on the whole the graphics are like they should be.
The music adapts to the situation perfectly. Depending on the race you play with, the music is more cheerfull or darker and when it’s your opponent’s turn the tension is audible, certainly when he is not far away. The sound is also filled with details. Every creature celebrates victory in combat in its own way, ranging from a shout of joy to a sadistic laugh. The splendid voices in the cutscenes make up for the bad quality of the graphics.
In short: a great game which will keep you busy till late at night. Too bad about the errors that are still in the game, but I certainly want to forget about that. An absolute must!