Might and Magic Heroes VI Hands-on Preview

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Might and Magic, the RPG series from now defunct New World Computing hasn’t seen a release since 2002’s Might and Magic IX, but its more tactical spin-off, Heroes of Might and Magic has flourished, adopting a rather loyal, rabid band of followers.

Ubisoft now holds the rights, publishing the last game in the series; the Nival Interactive developed Heroes of Might V in 2006. It’s been a long wait, but this year fans will finally be treated to a new game. Sporting a snappier name and a new developer in Black Hole Entertainment, Might and Magic Heroes VI finally sees release this year.

How’s it shaping up?

Despite the six on the end of the tile, Heroes VI actually serves as prequel to the last game’s events, taking place four centuries prior. In spite of that, it gives you most of the factions you’re already used to: Haven, Sanctuary, Inferno, Necropolis and Stronghold, in a series of interconnected, independently playable single-player campaigns.

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Heroes VI keeps the same basic formula as previous titles; you command unique hero characters and their armies exploring maps to seek out treasure, resources, towns, castles and enemies on an overland map, completing quests along the way. Winning battles and finishing quests will net you experience points, allowing your hero to level up, granting then new abilities and skills – buffing their armies and making their units stronger.

You’ll also manage castles and fortifications within towns, utilising the resources you gather to expand and upgrade your castle, and build new units with which to destroy your enemies. On top of that all, you can control multiple heroes within the same scenario, and have to contend with enemy heroes as well – so there’s an awful lot to think about and keep track of…which makes it rather fortunate that it’s a turn-based game.

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When you’re not exploring the map in Heroes VI, you’ll be in combat. The combat also sticks to the classic Heroes formula, pitting your forces on one side of the grid, against your enemy’s army on the opposite side. You have no direct control of your hero in combat – nor can your hero be directly attacked. It’s all up to your army of creatures, and victory comes to the hero with the last person standing. You can, however, initiate your hero’s physical or magic attack at the beginning of your turn, or use the opportunity to buff your army.

You then trade turns with your opponent, moving and attacking with your creatures based on their initiative. Each creature on the battlefield, though moving and attacking as a single unit, represents a stack of those creatures, with a number denoting how many of them fill that stack.

Faster units get to strike first but the victims, should they survive, are awarded with a chance to retaliate, damaging their aggressors. This forces you to think pretty damned carefully about which enemies you attack, which order you attack them in, and from which angles you attack from.

Last Updated: August 4, 2011

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Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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