Review by Braben

"This game cursed! I can’t stop playing!"

Aside from the Heroes spin off I’ve never played any Might & Magic game, reviews for the series are always nauseating, and it is well known that 3DO is one of the worst companies nowadays. As I said before I haven’ played most of the games in the series so I can’t say anything, but I have played one of their Army Men games and man, you’ll have more fun standing at window watching the rain fall than playing that crap, and there are more Army Men games out there than Final Fantasies, unbelievable!, who in the world buys that?!. But even if at the box of the game says 3DO, this game was actually designed by New World Computing, and it rules, what a relief.

So, what is the difference between Heroes of Might & Magic and the ordinary Might & Magic?. The Heroes series is a mix between strategy and rpg, it is not an strategy/rpg like the Snes ones but sort of. You begin with a hero and a castle (or various heroes and various castles), your hero has turns that let him move around an unexplored map. In the map you’ll find shrines, lakes, huts, ruins, and a very, very big etc that will improve your stats, give you experience, valuable objects, new units, heroes and another very big etc. You can’t enter these places, when you reach them a text will tell your bonus, this can be a let down, but it is not, believe me.
The battles take place in an arena, each unit has its turns to move, attack, and use magic spells. Your hero will be in battle too to help his units or to cast spells, if the hero dies the battle is over.

There are five different races, each one has its own castle (necropolis for the undead, caves for the barbarians, etc) units, and some innate abilities.
The castles act as cities, you can build barracks to make soldiers, stables to make knights, defense towers, etc. If you conquer another race’s castles you’ll be able to make their soldiers and have their powers too of course.

The graphics are ecstatic most of the time, but extremely detailed and marvelously designed. During the battles the animation are simple but very well done at the same time, and the same for the magical effects. Graphically there is nothing really spectacular, but everything very beautiful.

The soundtrack is also incredibly beautiful. There isn’t music like in most games, here you’ll hear music when you enter your castle and during the combats, or when you fund a shrine, ruins, etc. Most of the melodies are extremely short, but that isn’t a bad thing at all in this case, it is a bit hard to explain, you’ll have to experience it to understand, but the soundtrack is magnificent.

The story involves, as the title says, the restoration of the land of Erathia, but it depends more on which race you choose to play because they have different paths. Like in any strategy game in each mission you’ll be assigned some task to complete and then to the next level. The plot, or to be more accurate, the lack of a real plot is what hurts the game the most, but well, asking for a plot in most non Japanese games is pretty useless, too bad because the game could have been a million times better, but instead it is the only flaw the game has.

The only flaw in the game is the excruciating difficulty, the first maps are quite easy, but later you’ll be begging for mercy. The best way to play is by choosing random missions or using the editor to make your own ones, or playing against a friend with he miltiplayer option. This is a huge flaw, because you will want to keep playing, but it is impossible, it is very frustrating, because you will have to stop playing the story mode to skip to a random map or whatever, I personally think that there is no way to beat this game in the story mode with all the races.

This is just a brief overview of the game because everything is much, much deeper and there a lot of things to do and to see.

Restoration of Erathia, like any other “Heroes” game, is one of those games you’ll be playing for hours and hours without even noticing it, better play during your vacations or when you don’t have ANYTHING to do or you’ll have trouble with your wife/studies/boss/etc. You are warned.

”My lack of vocabulary and grammatical errors (if there’s any) are because I’m not from an English speaking country, sorry about that.”

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/21/03, Updated 02/27/04

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