Lord Crusader's Preview
The following is Lord Crusader's Heroes of Might and Magic V (version 0.8) Preview.
Iím glad to be one of the chosen testers that were involved or who at least followed the process of development of this game since the day that UBI announced it would release Heroes V. To have the chance to test the game in its different stages of development, working on improving the game during the delay of heroes V like thousands of other fans did, and finally writing about this title, Iím happy to say that this game has the feeling of any previous Heroes games with nice additions that will enrich the heroes experience.
The graphics are one aspect of the game that have changed a lot Ė now they are totally 3D, featuring a free camera (zoom in, zoom out, rotate). Certainly the graphics are very nice, and with colourful rendering and fluent animations, you cannot help feel completely immersed in the splendour of the game while playing it. But you will still feel that it is a heroes game, since you will find a lot of know structures from the other games.
The music is beautiful, this is one of the factors that will feel like the icing on the cake while playing the game. I think if I say Rob King; all the doubts of the music will be gone.
The gameplay is just like other Heroes games, you have your town, you recruit heroes, building structures, earning money, amassing an army or new units or spells; and attacking neutral stacks on the adventure map, to collect resources, mines, and dwellings to improve your economics, your heroís stats or your army. Veteran heroes players will feel comfortable with the gameplay, but also the new players have more chances to learn more quickly (you can play the tutorial campaign for this), the new interface is simple and includes the most important shortcuts for the game, inside the town, in the adventure map and in battle.
The variety of the towns is nice, and well balanced between might and magic in every town, now you canít tell what town is totally might and what town is totally magic. Like in other games, we now have more differences between each town, we can choice between the healing and blessing abilities of the Haven town, the force of nature, speed and the deep green of the Sylvan town, the dark and necromantic abilities of the Necromancers, the strength and magic powers of the new Dungeon town, the intelligence and enchantment of the Academy town, or finally the destructive and strength-in-numbers mentality of the Inferno.
The battles have undergone the most significant changes of the series. The concept of turn based battles is different, you now have two different factors that modify the movement of the creatures in battles, speed and initiative. Speed represents the number of squares the units can move in one turn, while initiative represents the frequency of you creatureís turn, meaning a creature that has more initiative will take its turn more frequently than one that has less initiative. The hero has his own turn just like in Heroes III Ė though he can take part in battle through special abilities like Holy Charge. Besides that, the combat is like in Heroes 3, move units, attack units, or use special abilities- we donít have simultaneous retaliations. In the battlefield you have the option of playing with dynamic battles, this mean faster battles and faster thinking. The siege battles looks very nice now, and this have the heroes 3 feeling. The entire battlefield utilises the square-grid system rather than hexagons.
As any in any other Heroes game, the most important part of the game are the heroes. You must level them up as soon as possible and make them more powerful, as they have space for 7 different units. Every race has his own kind of hero with abilities related to the race, and each hero has his/her own speciality, making each hero different just like in heroes 3. The specialities can be related to creatures, skills or other things that empower them in that skill or creature. The hero skill system is a kind of mix between the heroes 3 and heroes 4 system. You have primary skills: Attack, Defence, Spell Power and Knowledge, just like in heroes 3, and secondary skills that can be levelled from basic to expert, with these skills having different abilities that have just one tier. These skills can be modified just like in the other games, gaining experience and levelling up the hero. The level of the hero depend on the experience gained in combat, or from external buildings, and now you gain a fraction of experience for letting the creatures run that fear you in the adventure map. When you level up, you gain a random primary skill (the % of possibility of learning certain skill depends on the race) and you can choose between two skills and two abilities. The heroes can carry artefacts just like in other games that modify the skills or abilities. In battle the heroes can participate, but do so while combining elements from Heroes III and Heroes IV; they can't be attacked, and can cast spells like in Heroes III, but can attack units and participate directly in the battle on his/her own turn like in heroes IV.
Heroes V has made some nice additions to the multiplayer mode. Firstly you can play in ghost mode, which enables you to explore the map with a ghost hero until your enemy completes his/her turn. The ghosts have different abilities on the adventure map, that will help you to explore and clean the map faster, and forcing the enemy to move faster to minimize the ghostís effect in the game. This feature will help the online games, reducing waiting time for each player. The normal multiplayer game mode is still available. Also you have a new option called duel mode, where you are able to select from a nice a variety number of army presets that will send you into battle without any of the map exploration and tactics Ė simply war mechanics. This will be the addition that a lot of new players will play for sure. It is fun and fast.
In conclusion Heroes V has a very good chance to become the best game in the series, with some nice elements of Heroes III, some nice elements of heroes IV, and a handful of new elements, Iím sure it will be a successful game. I'm not saying is a perfect game, as we are still missing some important essentials, like the caravan, and the RMG (Random Map Generator), but I'm hoping that these will be included in a future add-on. I think Heroes V is proudly a great sequel of my favourite game ever.
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Thanks to ThE_HyDrA for creating and looking after the Heroes 5 section of Age of Heroes!