As I’m sure you all remember, a while ago a preview of Might & Magic Heroes VII was released – which left me with quite a positive impression and a lot of hope for the finished game. Now, after about 30 hours of the full release, it’s hard to say whether I actually like it as a game on its own right or as part of a beloved franchise. Certain things I hoped were just preview quirks stayed, while other features I had hopes for proved to be rather uninspired.
On the good side, everything the preview did right stayed the same – starting with the campaigns. Even if we ignore multiplayer and skirmish modes, Heroes VII boasts a very lengthy experience. With 7 different campaigns to conquer, you will not be short on content. Campaign levels also carry the majority of the narrative, using mid-mission dialogues and sequences. Add to that the sheer size of the campaign maps, and you’re looking at tens of hours just going through it all – most of it rather interesting if you followed the lore of Ashan all through the series
Of course, Might & Magic Heroes was never at its best when played alone. On the multiplayer side, Heroes VII is back with all the modes we’ve come to expect, although the selection of available maps at launch is rather poor – just 8 maps total, most in the 3-4 player size. Still, I had no problem connecting to a game online and the experience was stable and enjoyable. Since the level editor is included at launch, I expect more maps to crop up from the community in no time, despite the lack of Steam Workshop support.
Graphically, Heroes VII is mediocre at best which is quite unfortunate. A game released at the end of 2015 should not have DX9 as its only option, and while I realize that the Heroes franchise was never about the eye-candy, it is still somewhat disappointing that the game looks so bland. Especially guilty of this are the city views, looking simultaneously poorly hand-drawn and poorly computer-generated. While I wasn’t expecting the game to wow me with its graphics, I was hoping for something better-looking.
Combat has always been the real “meat” of Heroes, and with Heroes VII Limbic has made a game mode dedicated entirely to it, called “Duel”. Playable either against the AI or another human opponent, Duel is a combat encounter with a predetermined hero and army configuration. Unfortunately, the Duel feature is sorely underdeveloped and feels more like a tester’s proof-of-concept than an actual finished mode. Because the armies and heroes can’t be customized, it feels very stiff and unappealing instead of an actual test of tactical acumen.
Might & Magic Heroes VII feels a lot like an apology or tribute to the franchise rather than a standalone game pulling its own weight, and it shows in every facet, especially the combat. While the new flanking mechanic does add innovation to the unchanging formula, everything else has remained practically the same. The cycle of looting, fighting, leveling up and repeating does get dull after a while – especially when nothing much has changed and I’ve been fielding the exact same army of Crossbowmen since Heroes IV.
In closing, what bothers me most about Might & Magic Heroes VII is the lack of innovation. Aside from one new combat mechanic, nothing really new is present in this entry. Everything “new” is just an undoing of Heroes VI’s changes, from the re-introduction of the warfare units to the return of the Mage Guild. If you’re already a fan of the franchise then by all means, grab Heroes VII and enjoy it to your heart’s content. Otherwise, what we have here is a mediocre game that does more to return the series to its roots than to advance it bravely forward.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.