Might & Magic Heroes VII Preview: Strategic destruction

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MnM Header1

Confession time… I have never in my life touched a Might & Magic game. Please don’t shoot me Mr/Mrs Internet! Regardless, I dashed off to the Ubisoft booth at Gamescom to grab some info for the fans. I got to see what the latest edition of the game will bring to players when it lands some time next year.

For those of you (like me) who know little about the title, it is a turn-based strategy game. It takes place between the events of Heroes VI and V. That seemed odd to me, but I was assured that it is in that order chronologically. You take the role of Ivan Griffin, following his path from duke in this game to the eventual role of emperor in the fifth game. It is a huge time of transition for the empire. Check out the trailer:

There will be six advisors from the different factions to advise him and help make his choices along the way. You may notice from the trailer that the council numbers seem a bit short at the moment. The reason for this is that Limbic Entertainment (the developers) have given the players a choice of which factions they want to fill the gaps. You can go vote right now. There is the choice of Elves or Dwarves:

SYLVAN: From a military point of view, Elves would add adaptability to Ivan’s strategies. Elf warriors are designed for speed and striking power. They hate a stand-up fight and prefer guerilla tactics. Maneuverability is the key to Elf tactics – they are past masters of retreating to draw the enemy into an advantageous position for them. In a fight they concentrate on picking the enemy army apart. To an Elf general, the perfect battle is one in which the enemy never sees a single Elf…

OR

FORTRESS: Dwarves would make reliable allies as Dwarf warriors, while ferocious, are possessed of an uncanny discipline. They fight to the death, even when the odds are hopelessly against them. Dwarves particularly excel at sieges, with their engineers and sappers working relentlessly to undermine any fortifications they face. Which would be definitely become an asset if Ivan must conquer the impregnable walls of Horncrest, the Stag’s capitol.

I like that they have put it to the vote, and even incorporated it into the story, explaining that only one faction can be chosen so as not to arouse any suspicions.

MNM Screen

The gameplay demonstration kicks off with the region being invaded by invading wizards. We are shown our city in full screen – something that fans have apparently been requesting for a very long time. Using our catapults, we destroy the bridge to slow the progress of the enemies. Some large Titans slipped through however, and arcane birds have destroyed our catapult on its vantage point. We head out to destroy the pesky pigeons.

The game shifts into its battle view, which strongly reminds me of a chessboard. The difference however, is that the board is littered with bits of the environment we previously saw on the overworld map. Our catapult is in the middle, still in flames from the attack. This sort of thing indicates that battles will require different strategies based on terrain, as there may be obstacles that can impede or assist in progress.

Board

After defeating the birds, the catapult is repaired and used to destroy the titans. We also need to repair the bridge we just destroyed so we can take the battle to the attackers. Crossing the bridge shows an avalanche blocking our way. The only alternative is an enemy fort. We opt to take it, and the battle resumes once more.

This time, the battle screen really looks like a maze. This opens up room for flanking, something which is new to the game. It is important to watch your back, as the damage received can be monumental. Thankfully, you can do the same to enemies, catching them off guard to do massive amounts of damage. We win, and the fort is destroyed. We can choose to rebuild it under our control, which may be helpful from a strategic point of view.

Overworld

Unfortunately, the avalanche is still in the way. However, we can choose to go underground into a completely new area. The underworld and overworld can interact with each other in interesting ways. For example, later on we are shown a lake that is blocking progress. However, destroying a key statue underground drains the water, opening up a new lane of progress. We are also briefly shown a variety of environments that will be available; greeny, snowy, and oasis-y. They all really look great.

We are told that the developers have really listened to fan feedback, which they are hoping will translate this into the best game to date. While I may know next to nothing about the genre, I can say that it does look great. If you’re a fan, I’m sure you will be happy with the work that Limbic Entertainment have done. Will you be getting this on launch? Be sure to let me know below (accompanied with your hate for me not having played any of these games before).

Last Updated: August 27, 2014

Matthew Figueira

Defence of the Ancients? More like Defence of the cabbages! Have you seen my head? I look like a Merino Sheep on pole. NO SHANGE only SHAPPIES! :D

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