Review by DiscPete

"Dark Messiah of Might and Magic"

Dark Messiah attemtps to merge semi RPG with FPS-style gameplay and successfully creates an new type of game.

You may think that games like Oblivion and Battlefield 2 (and games of it's ilk) have nothing in common, and until now that may have been true. Let me introduce you to Dark Messiah - part of the Might and Magic series.

The game is in First Person perspective, it's not really a first person shooter, more of a first person melee or combat game. It's set in a fantasy world, where their advertising blurb tells you don't play as a warrior, or a wizard or an assassin - play as them all! As you follow the exploits of Sareth in the single player storyline you will learn new skills and get new items/weapons which will enable you to become proficient in a specific area or jack-of-all-trades. It's a skill 'tree' if you like, where if you choose one particular branch, you may be weaker on another.

The storyline itself gives you the role playing aspect, and what holds this up apart from other similar games is that it uses Valve's Source engine. For those of you who have played Halflife 2 will know how good that is - infact it's even better because it's an 'enhanced' version to boot. What this means is that the whole 'world' you play in will be very interactive, pick up barrels and throw them at enemies, move boxes around to get at hidden items and so on.

The online multiplayer aspect for up to 32 players is where it becomes more like an FPS game similar to BF2. There are 5 classes to choose from: Warrior which is your basic soldier, fastest on the field and most powerful when it comes to dealing direct damage as well as taking it; Priestess can be considered the medic of the group with her healing and protective skills; Assassin with his ability to cloak (looks like the Predator!) and stealth attributes can be considered your covert ops specialist; Ranger can also use stealth and ranged attacks (sniper maybe?); and the wizard has been compared to artillery with area of effect attacks etc.

Apart from deathmatch and team deathmatch, DM introduces the Crusader mode, where you start off in the middle map of five and depending on whether you win or lose, you will go either forwards or backwards onto the next map until you hopefully reach the enemies stronghold and conquer it to win. Another aspect of gameplay that is similar to BF2 is the use of various spawnpoints and the map on which to select them as well as change you class.

During the campaigns you will earn new skills and become more powerful with better weapons etc, and these will be saved over all the maps until the campaign has finished, when it will be reset - sort of an xp save type of thing. Should you switch to another class mid-battle, you will start that class from scratch but will keep any skills learnt on subsequent changes. Skills that can be gained vary depending on the class but include things like better stealth, zoom attack when using a bow, shield blocking and so on.

So, if you fancy a bit of swordplay (and be honest, which of you guys didn't have a sword and shield when they were kids!?) in an FPS setting, then this may be right up your street.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/18/06

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