Picture this; your in the middle of a civil war that changed the ruling dynasty of the Holy Empire. The Empress has been murdered, and her throne is up for grabs. The Duke of Griffin, Ivan, brings together a council of six members, to help him decide the best way to go about and obtaining a seat at the throne before rival forces do. Doing so will restore the balance and order to Ashan, and ultimately, ending the war. That is the premise of Might and Magic Heroes VII, the latest title to the Might and Magic series (developed by Limbic Entertainment and Ubisoft).
The game starts off with Ivan and his counsel of six members (Jorgen, Lasir, Kente, Tanis, Anastasya, and Murazel), gathered around a table. He asks each of his companions to share with him their stories, which will lead him to making a decision on how to go about in taking the throne. Where do you come in as the player? Each of the six council members’ stories is a campaign chapter, that you must play through!
The one thing I will say right off the bat is how unfriendly this game is to new players of the series. If you have played a Might and Magic title, it would be easy to pick up, since the gameplay is quite similar to the others, but for new players, there is no tutorial, no guide system; you are literally dropped into each chapter and told to begin…
I found the easiest chapter to start off with was Lasir’s. The starting map was a little more basic, and I found it was the best way to figure out what on earth I was supposed to do. The player’s movement is by day, so basically, you are given a select number of moves, and once you hit your max, you have to select the option on the given player wheel (which you also use to level character’s and select various options), to continue the next series of moves. As players travel around the map, items can be obtained, and battles can be initiated. There are also creatures and other characters you will come across on the field, that will aid you in your quests and join your forces.
Once you figure out what you are doing and where you are going, the next step is learning the battle system. The turn-based combat system was actually quite entertaining, and it felt very rewarding winning that first battle! Players command units to attack the enemy, who are usually either creatures or groups of soldiers, depending on which chapter you choose. Like a chess board, players must lead their armies to victory and defeat the enemies, traveling square to square to move around the board, using hack and slash techniques to defeat your enemies. The combat pacing was decent, but I found myself selecting the “Quick Battles” option, just so I could explore the map a little more; I won every single time I selected that option, as well, which lead me to wonder if I had great luck and if it was worth it to partake in the turn-based combat at all?
Going back to the main menu, if the campaign is something you don’t want to start off with, there are also single and multiplayer modes, as well as a Duel vs AI mode, where players can engage in combat without having to explore the maps; just head straight into battle.
The graphics were not as impressive as I would have liked it to be, and considering it was the seventh game in the series, they could have done so much more with it. Even the initial cut scenes were a disappointment. There was some movement, but as the characters were speaking, there mouths were not moving; this could be easily mistaken at first as a glitch, but then you see the candles on the table flicker and you realize “oh… no its not…”. Some of the creature designs were very cool though, like the fire deer you will come across! I will say, I loved the soundtrack, it was really relaxing and enjoyable to listen to, especially during the first few minutes of gameplay, and it calmed me down while I am yelling at the screen, “what on Earth am I supposed to do now?!”. The voice overs were also very good, as the acting was impressive and not at all cheesy, like some other titles out there.
Overall, it was a really interesting and entertaining title, but there were a few things I couldn’t get past. The fact I had to go online to figure out what to do was kind of sad. This left me feeling apprehensive in continuing the chapter, but I’m glad I did in the end. The story was a cool concept, and I really loved the fact that each of the chapters were a character’s story, set to help Ivan in his quest!
If you have previously played a title in the Might and Magic series, I am confident you will enjoy this game, with everything it has to offer; it might even be the best title in the series. However, if you are new to the series, you’re going to have a challenging time due to lack of tutorials and guides. If you want to give it a try, I suggest doing some research and studying a bit of the game play, since it does make sense if you watch a few videos on it, as well as reading up on the game play from the other titles.
Might and Magic Heroes VII is available now for the PC.
Might and Magic Heroes VII
- Great story
- Relaxing soundtrack
- Beautiful lands to explore
- 6 character chapters, means a longer play time
- The game play can be frustrating to players new to the series, since there are no tutorials or guides to help you
- Graphics were decent, but not that impressive