Hero’s Of Might & Magic 7

Hero’s of Might and Magic VII is the latest instalment of the Might and Magic series. Set in Ashan, a fantastical world ruled by six primordial Dragon Gods, this game blends strategic turn-based combat with RPG elements, creating the unique style of gameplay that defines the series. As the name suggests, the gameplay of the story, skirmish and multiplayer modes revolves around your Heroes. Heroes are powerful individuals, great warriors or powerful mages (or both), and impact the game in many ways. First and foremost, your Heroes are your commanders, representing your armies on the overworld map and commanding them in battle. Unlike similar games however, your Hero never actually enters battle, at least not directly. While your more common units take to the field to engage their opponents, your Heroes hang back, commanding the flow of battle and assisting their efforts through the usage of powerful magic, supportive war-cries or simple brute force Heroic Attacks.​
In battle, you each take turns to move a ‘stack’ of creatures, with the number on the stack representing the number of individual creatures present. This system prevents the screen from being too clustered when you’re throwing 1000+ Skeleton Hoplites at your opponent and they’re throwing 900 Pixies back. The Might and Magic series does turn-based gameplay in a very interesting way: During combat each creature has an Initiative value that determines when it moves. This can be manipulated using Hero skills and/or magic to allow you to outmanoeuvre your opponents and strike before they can retaliate. Another thing to be concerned about, which I actually found out about pretty late into my playtime is that morale is incredibly important, especially when fighting other Heroes.
Heroes are divided into two broad classes – Might, and (unsurprisingly…) Magic. Might heroes are your generals – they improve your units combat stats and usually have more supportive abilities such as War Cries. These can be used to further support your troops and encourages victory through martial prowess. On the other hand, Magic heroes tend to have a more direct impact on the battlefield. Raining fire and lightning from the skies, armouring your troops in shields of living stone and even manipulating time itself to give your force an upper hand.
I suppose I should throw some context on all of this. Battles in Heroes VII are fought across a variety of tile-based maps, with your units being deployed usually in the first two rows of tiles. Units come in three categories – core, elite and champion, with a fourth type – warfare, being used in sieges. Usually, fights are simple affairs, with you setting up on one side and you opponent on the other. However, some special scenarios may have you being flanked or surrounded by powerful enemies. This will only happen in certain story missions or overworld encounters and will inevitably result in you gaining a massive benefit should you actually win, usually major artefacts and/or a huge amount of gold.
Each creature has a Morale score, based off of your Hero’s leadership value, and it can affect the fights in really interesting ways. If a creature has good morale, there’s a chance that it will get a ‘half turn’ after it acts, allowing to immediately move again but with all its statistics halved. This can allow you to get a second attack off, help a depleted stack get out of trouble or get your melee creatures up in your opponents face. On the flipside, if you’ve got a low morale then there’s a chance your creatures will cower in fear and be unable to do anything (literally! They have animations and everything). Obviously this can be absolutely devastating, especially if it happens to one of your elite or champion-tier units that you were relying on to do something special. ​ ​
​Combat works the same way regardless of what faction you’re playing, with only minor differences in strategy depending on your own play style. For example, I love me some ranged units, especially when buffed with the Air element spell ‘Storm of Arrows’. That spell on any ranged unit with 50+ creatures in the stack tends to kill most things dead. Especially if they randomly ‘roll’ a critical hit. This can happen any time a unit attacks, and is a percentage chance based on the creatures Luck value.
This is great, and brings me nicely to what is without a doubt my biggest issue with the game – there is no tutorial. At all. Which is a problem as, while the gameplay is largely similar to most other turn-based strategy games, the Might and Magic series has many unique nuances and innovations that make it stand out amongst the rest. Not knowing how morale works, for example, can be extremely frustrating, and it took me a while to work out how to upgrade my towns barracks to allow the recruitment of upgraded creature types. The problem is that the game is amazingly complex even before you get into the individual racial nuances of each faction, meaning it’s easy to miss out on the basics when trying to get your head around everything.Unfortunately, this game also suffered from some optimisation issues on my system, causing a noticeable amount of framerate lag in some battles and causing the entire game to crash on multiple occasions. After the first crash, I reduced my graphics settings to ‘medium’ on everything and continued to have issues. Note that this could have just been a problem with my PC, but with the game defaulting to maximum everything, it really shouldn’t have been having issues on a much lower visual setting.
​Despite this, I do have to mention that the game looks awesome, even on lower settings. The overworld is nicely done, populated with many different buildings, arcane power sources and neutral armies, each of which has their own unique model. In combat, while some of the animations seem very minimalistic, the units themselves look very good and each unit has its own attack animation (ranged units have one for ranged and a second for melee), as well as a separate ‘critical hit’ animation and, where applicable, separate animations for any special ability they might have. It’s these little things that make this game stand out to me.
Like most strategy games of this sort, the meat of the game seems to lie in its multiplayer mode.
This works the same way as the single player campaign and skirmish modes, and is intergrated through steam/Uplay depending on where you got your copy of the game from. From what I played of it, it seemed to work very well (albeit with a touch of lag), and the idea of playing this with a bunch of friends is very appealing. There is also online multiplayer, again intergrated through your client of choice, but I personally didn’t enjoy it very much. Between connection issues and the fact that a game of Might and Magic can take a very long time, I never actually managed to get far with the online multiplayer. I do intend to come back to it though, once the game has been out a while to see if the lag problems were with the game’s servers, or simply caused by me being unable to find a game with people in the same country as me!
​As an unashamed fan of strategy games, I absolutely loved playing Heroes of Might and Magic 7 despite the issues mentioned above. The strategy element is nicely done, and I especially appreciate how different each of the factions feel and how much your choice of Hero influences your playstyle both in and outside of combat. This is a refreshing change from some of the other strategy games out there whose ‘unique’ races just feel like reskins of the same thing.
All in all, I’ve put far too many hours into this game already, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon!

Gameplay and Controls – The game plays very well. Most of the mechanics are quite intuitive, and it has a certain ‘easy to lean, hard to master’ feel to it that makes it very rewarding to continue to play and learn new combos and strategies. As far as controls go, it’s standard keyboard and mouse, including fully rebindable keys. Fairly standard but if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right? – 80/100Audio Fidelity – Not something I mentioned in the main body of the review, there’s not actually that much to talk about here. Simply put, it’s all very high quality. The backing music is atmospheric, and the voice actors for the Heroes in the story mode are all very good. Unfortunately, it’s let down somewhat by fairly generic sound effects in combat – 80/100

Graphics/Visuals – As I mentioned above, the graphics are very good for the most part, although they may cause performance issues on some PCs. This would get a higher score if not for one relatively minor point that nonetheless really bugged me when I was playing through. In the story cutscenes that take place around the Council Table (the campaign menu), none of the characters move at all when they’re speaking. It’s a comparably little thing, but I found it quite jarring, especially when I first encountered it  – 70/100Story/Immersion – Probably this game’s strongest point. The stories for each race are interesting and unique, tying into each other in both obvious and subtle ways. There’s a lot of subtext too, with aspects of the game touching on major issues such as race/sexism and slavery in a way that is both tastefully done and compelling. You’ll find yourself wanting to know more about a particular character’s story as you progress through their campaign and really find yourself immersed in their lives and history – 95/100Replayability – The other contender for the game’s strongest area. Between single player skirmishes and Duels, local and online multiplayer and seven total stories, I’d say that this game has more than its share of replayability factor going with it. A special mention has to go to the multiplayer though. As someone who spends a lot of time playing games such as Civilisation with people online, I can see this game appealing to many people who just want something to play and have a laugh over with their mates. I can also see it absolutely destroying friendships! – 95/100
Final score – This game would be epic, were it not for the performance issues and bugs, as it is, it’ll have to settle for ‘just’ being absolutely awesome. It’s not often that I continue to play games for more than a week after I’ve reviewed them, but I can’t see myself quitting Heroes of Might and Magic VII any time soon! – 84/100
​Publisher – Ubisoft
Developer – Limbic Entertainment
Release Date – 29th September 2015
Genre – Grand Strategy, Turn Based
Platform – PC

Watch The Trailer Here