Heroes 6 Preview

So. Heroes of Might and Magic 6... or more like Might and Magic: Heroes 6. If you bought the preorder on the official website or on Steam, you'd be able to download the closed beta.

Lets get right down to it.

The Good:

The adventure screen is more 3d and shows more depth; you can tell whether you're going to a higher altitude or going down a slope. There is more color and more light bursts. More Shiny. Creatures look impressive both in normal and elite versions; it looks like more thought was put into making the elite version look more impressive and not be just a different splash of color.

Is the same as you loved it in previous versions. Checkerboard design. No more hexagonal design (i like both). Right clicking on a creature will show you all the stats, abilities, buffs and debuffs currently affecting it. You now see critical hits as a special animation; imagine my eyes becoming as big as saucers when I saw the vampire throw his sword high into the air, fly up and do a verical slice down onto the baddie. The death animation is also impressive for creatures.

User Interface
Its new, its different. No longer does the game go into a separate screen to access hero skills, or the town management screen; a smaller window will popup allowing you quicker access to the info. It seems to lag a bit, but i'm attributing it to the more intensive graphics and it being a beta.

The market interface which allows you to trade resources is revamped; it still does the same thing, but now is much more sleek and user friendly.

New Hero Skill/Ability System
There has been a current theme to continuation of series these days (Dungeon Seige 3 or Dragon Age for example) where developers are dumbing down beloved strategy/rpg games to cater to console players but turning away the pc players. I'm happy to report that the skill development system of Homm6 is streamlined, makes sense and doesn't give a feel that it is dumbed-down, but more user friendly instead.

If you remember from previous Homm games, you had your favorite heroes for a certain faction that you'd always start with. I remember in one series where I had the minotaur Dace which had a bonus to logistics which would allow him to run much farther than any other hero. In Homm6, you get to CREATE your own hero; you determine the name, sex, faction, starting bonus, any dynasty weapons (more later), might/magic class. This form of customization is very sleek and very welcome, creating emotional attachment to the hero.

If creating your own avatar wasn't enough, the new ability system appears in a window divided by Might, Magic, General skills. All heroes have access to both Might and Magic abilities, but your class dictates how far down the skill tree you can get. For example, as a Might class, you will be able to get (basic, advanced, elite) elite might skills, but only get advanced magic skills. No longer do you have to rely on manuals or websites to see what skill leads to what and what is available in general; all the skills are plainly revealed. To get access to advanced skills, the hero needs to be atleast lvl 5 and sometimes require you to have purchased the basic skill. Same thing goes with elite skills; the hero needs to be lvl 15 and have purchased the basic and advanced prior versions.

Online hero persona
As you play, you gain experience. As far as I see, they look like you can use the experience as currency to purchase special in-game items that make your heroes more powerful/unique. At the same time, this boosts your dynasty weapons..

Dynasty weapons
What is a Dynasty Weapon, you may ask? It is an equip-able special item that a hero is assigned to which provides stronger bonuses dependent on your online hero persona's level/experience. These is this staff that I have from pre-ordering that gives a bonus to water spells, and if I gain a level, it will give my hero more mana and boost my other skills. Knowing this, I think the Deluxe Homm6 costs would be justified.

There are 5 factions each with it's own feel:
Haven - your traditional knights and angels (european)
Necropolis - undead and vampires (the immortals from the movie 300)
Barbarian - goblins, orcs and cyclops (mayan)
Demons - succubi, demons, pit fiends
Sanctuary - nagas (snake people), sharkmen, frog-ishmen (japanese)

With greater computing power, Homm6 appears to have a much better fleshed out campaign mode. Cut scenes, more dialogue and better character progression seems to make the campaign mode something that i'll pursue.

The Bad
Only 5 factions which seem like alot less from previous versions. Of course the arguement is that they 5 factions that made the cut were polished and work really well, i've always still enjoyed having many different factions and avoiding the feel of rock-paper-scissors. I will truly miss the Wizard faction (titans, genie and mages), Dungeon/Dark Elf faction (evil dragons!), Forest/Elf Faction (elven archers, unicorns, phoenix!) from the normal mix. I really hope the future expansions contain more of these missing factions and that they DO NOT create an elemental town instead (stupid).

Graphic Glitches
Maybe its the game telling me that my new (& rather good) video card is not that great, but every 5 seconds the screen flickers... which is annoying. I will attribute that and the choppiness to being a beta and hopefully this will be fixed by time it goes gold.

UI placement
In the top right part of the screen, there is a globe which allows you to look at the progress of your overall online persona. Its invisible, but if you click on the top right, there seems to be a close button there. If you click on that accidently (which I have twice now), it WILL close your game. Thank goodness for autosave.

It took me till my third game to realize how to create the improvement to creature buildings to be able to purchase elite creatures. Where it has the icon that shows you build the basic creature generator, there is a checkmark to let you know you built it. What you may not realize until you read this, is that you can click on it again which allows you at THAT point to then purchase the upgrade. It wasn't as new-user friendly as I would have hoped, but once you know how it works, it makes sense.

Online Security system
The developers of Homm6 are devious, I barely recognized it: they created this online hero persona to make you forget you need to be connected to the internet to be able to play the game. Just like other Steam games, if you don't have connection to the internet, you won't be able to (legitimately atleast) play a game that you've paid for.

Blackhole has made great strides and changes to a beloved franchise, but kept it true to it's roots that we can all appreciate.

If you're a Homm fan; this takes the game to the next level; everything has been improved, its a reasonable (50$) price for massive replayability. So long as it isn't hampered by too much by bugs and CTDs, this will be a staple in our pc game libraries.

I'm definitely glad I pre-ordered this game to get access to a beta which allows access to 2 campaign stories (Haven & Sanctuary) and a skirmish map allowing you to play ANY faction. I'd highly recommend preordering it if you're a Homm fan and feel the itch to play one more turn.

No comments:

Post a Comment