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Classical paten for playability in new, pleasing graphic setting - HoM&M V has a chance to win, not only veteran, but also new players', hearts.
The Fifth part of Heroes of Might & Magic is, from the beginning, shaping up very well. It's rare that the team of programmers (in this case it's a Russian studio, Nival, creators of, for example, Etherlords or Silent Storm) volunteer to owner of title (Ubisoft) with a proposition to make a new part of the series. For Russian HoM&M V is an important project because of two reasons. Firstly it's a great occasion to join the first league and start receiving orders from biggest concerns in branch, secondly it gives opportunity to create new part of the series, in which most of the russian coders were playing in their childhood. This enthusiasm and commitment to the project is authentically visible.

Fans playing "Heroes" didn't like the last, fourth part of the series. They'll be glad to hear that HoMM&M V will be based mostly on ideas from the third part of the series, which is considered to be the best. Essentially, part of the fun in both games is almost the same - it's a turn based strategy fantasy, in which, on the adventure map you administer towns and move armies commanded by hero with special abilities, in the combat layer you fight on the battlefield, which is unavoidable, and at the same time the most important element of every scenario.

This time the game is divided into six campaigns - one for every fraction, i.e. Haven, Inferno, Necropolis, Academy, Sylvan, Dungeon - with five missions apiece. The big change, which the new part of "Heroes" adds to the series, is using the 3D graphical engine, in a strategic and tactical level.You can manipulate the camera (rotate, zoom-in), to see all the units in full details. It's worth to add that they (the units) were designed based on graphics made by Olivier Ledroit, famous french comic drawer (maker of for example "Black Moon Chronicles" series).

Now, some information for veterans of the series. Similary like in third part of "Heroes", here heroes won't be present on the active battlefield (they're standing beyond the grid, where the units move), but they can cast spells on units that are taking direct participation in battle. They'll be gaining experience in battle, and after reaching next level they will automatically raise one of their parameters (primary skills) for example: spell power, knowledge, defense, attack, and they will also be able to choose one from 4 (2 skills and 2 abilities) following that. Accomplishing quests, defeating some enemies or simply walking on the strategic map, heroes can also capture special artifacts, further raising their skills.

More important than attacking enemy units will be spells casted by heroes. Magic schools, in new part of "Heroes", will be six, but there will be no prerequirements and every hero can use any kind of spells regardless of his faction. At least in this moment, but Erwan Le Breton, one of producers of this game, admits that the mechanisms of gameplay are still changing and final version might be diffrent from what they show us.

Well... as a matter of fact all the information to this point were known earlier, but we went to the Ubisoft in Paris to gather some new, fresh information on HoM&M V. It was a good thing to do, because everybody is working hard, and new results are much different from this, what programmers announced even a few weeks ago.

The most important from the newest changes is that he battlefield was finally set. It was earlier planned to make a battlefield size depending on the size of armies that were to participate in the clash, but finally it was decided to make a chessboard, size 8x10, regardless of number of units and kind of battle (for example: siege battles will take place on the map of standard sizes). Thanks to that the models of units will be big enough that the gamers will be able to take a closer look and battles leaded by armies of diffrent sizes will be interesting enough.

Big changes have been made in muliplayer mode. Apart from its standard versions (including hot-seat mode and playing against the computer) we have now 2 new variants - Duel Mode and Ghost Mode. The first one is for quick, few minutes battles. Makers compare it to games like .... Tekken or Soul Calibur. Why? In Duel Mode players can choose one hero (every one with a pre-determined army, skills and artifacts) and pit them against each other on the combat map. The best of 3 battle-rounds wins the whole game.

Even more interesting is Ghost Mode, which is supposed to be the solution to the boring waiting for the end of turn of the opposing player(s). Instead of looking into the ceiling, you'll be controlling a ghost - in the beginning only one, later even more - whose task is to explore the map and follow the active player. The more he (the active player) elongates his turn time, the more energy the ghost will have. He can use this energy to improve one of his six, different skills - haunt, posses, curse, devour, guard and vision. He (the ghost) will be able to, for example "cast a curse" on the other hero, which will lower his parameters or he can posses neutral units and take control over them in the next battle. The second option can be used to simplify your victory (because you are fighting.. with yourself), or make a suprise to the opposing enemy (because they don't know they're fighting with human, not AI).

So there are so much new ideas but taking into account so much activity of the russian programmers, in the day of HoM&M V premiere we might be suprised even more. But it might be rather good suprise - the game looks wonderful and it's in hands of experienced developers. Waiting for the day of release of new "Heroes", we can sleep well, but for the more impatient fans of this respectable, counting over 15 years series, it might be pretty hard.

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Thanks to ThE_HyDrA for creating and looking after the Heroes 5 section of Age of Heroes!