Buggy but fans will still find game addictive

From the castles and gold mines to the minions and heroes, each element is beautifully rendered.
From the castles and gold mines to the minions and heroes, each element is beautifully rendered.PHOTO: UBISOFT

Might And Magic Heroes is a turn-based, fantasy strategy game franchise that has been around since 1995.

The franchise was originally called Heroes Of Might And Magic.

I started playing its second iteration in 1996 and have been hooked since. It was renamed Might & Magic Heroes (MMH) for its sixth instalment in 2011.

The seventh version, MMH VII, retains the addictive turn-based gameplay of the franchise. You control heroes to explore a game world shrouded in a fog of war. You also uncover treasures, capture resources and fight in turn-based combat. There are role-playing elements as these heroes can gain experience, upgrade skills and gain magical spells for both combat and exploration.

The game world in MMH VII is similar to that of previous games, but the 3D graphics is far better.

  • 7/10 RATING

    PRICE: $59.90 (PC, version tested)

    GENRE: Turn-based strategy

From the castles and gold mines to the minions and heroes, each element is textured and beautifully crafted. During combat, the minions in battle are great to watch.

It almost felt like I was playing Blizzard's Heroes Of The Storm in a turn-based setting. The game has come a long way from the 2D world and combat maps of the 1990s.

One of the downsides is the audio - the fighting sequence sounds can be a little cheesy. At times, when the characters are fighting, it sounds like they are slapping each other. Not exactly gung-ho.

The campaign centres around Duke Ivan Griffin, who is thinking of giving up the fight for the Imperial Throne against Seamus Stag.

The six factions that have come to the duke's aid persuade him to do otherwise. Each faction offers a story that provides insight into a different strategy or outcome.

You thus play through six chapters of the campaign, with each taking you to different places and heroes. All of this easily adds up to 50 hours of gameplay.

Unfortunately, there are not many cut scenes, which would have made the stories more interesting. The characters just sit around a table. When one speaks, the camera turns to him but the character's lips or hands do not move.

Other game options include single-player scenarios. You can also put your heroes to a duel with an artificial intelligence hero.

The gameplay was addictive. I found myself eager to continue clicking to get to the next turn, so much so that I did not really bother with the storyline of the single-player campaign.

But the biggest bugbear of MMH VII is its stability.

Earlier versions had plenty of problems, such as heroes disappearing and erratic multiplayer connections. Although it has been patched to Version 1.5 (version tested), the game still frequently crashed on the desktop. It was extremely frustrating.

• Verdict: Might & Magic Heroes VII is a fantastic addition to the sparsely populated turn-based strategy genre, hampered only by its never-ending list of bugs. But for old-timers, it is still well worth the buy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2015, with the headline 'Buggy but fans will still find game addictive'. Subscribe