Higher Res But Not Complete –
With consistent “just one more turn” gameplay, the Heroes of Might & Magic series has been causing addictive behavior in gamers for over 15 years. Heroes III was probably the most well-known and liked game in this strategy series which is why Ubisoft has taken the time to update this classic turn based strategy title with high resolution settings built for modern mobile devices and PC monitors. While the upres’ing makes this game look better than it ever has, the lack of features and expansion packs make this HD makeover seem incomplete. The bugs and glitches don’t help either.
Watch our live stream of this game here (warning, Gillman hates this game):
The highlighting features of this HD version focus on online multiplayer, Steam Achievements, and increased resolution which are all nicely implemented. Unfortunately, the lack of the Armageddon’s Blade and The Shadow of Death expansion remove a lot of expected content. In fact, GOG offers the all the Heroes III content for less than the cost of this Ubisoft re-release. The difference, however, is this HD version can be optionally played on your tablet with the inclusion of additional multiplayer options with native HD visuals without the need for an upscaler patch. The rumor is the source code for these expansions have been lost which is why they are not included. Either way, the lack of content and random scenario generator is a major bummer. Also, this HD version also has a unique set of bugs that will hopefully be ironed out with an upcoming patch. Some users have reporting losing entire save files while I have experience a few quirks like stuck scrolling and having the game freeze when the mouse is placed at the left side of the screen.
Outside of the missed opportunity content-wise, Heroes III is just as fun as it was 15 years ago despite having some painfully bad cutscenes that was kickass back in the day. If you have never played a game in this beloved series, gameplay takes place basically throughout two views – campaign and battle. From an overhead sprite based perspective, the player clicks through a resource and enemy-filled world to gather resources to build up a castle town. The castle town is then used to generate troops of different types and classes. Troops can then be bought and stockpiled to create an army to overtake other castles and opponents. Once two opponents run into each other the view switches to a side grid-like perspective with combat taking place in turns. Yes, there is a learning curve but the gameplay is highly addictive once the mechanics are learned. Because there is always something new to build, a new creature to upgrade, relics to collect, and different enemies to destroy, the gameplay formula constantly rewards, empowers, and encourages the player, somewhat similar to Civilization or even Final Fantasy Tactics.
The player can usually breeze through each campaign when set on lower difficulties, stacking one unstoppable army with large amounts of each type of troop. However, medium to higher difficulties turn brutally difficult quickly, with a lack of resources and tough enemy artificial intelligence. This all-or-nothing difficulty throws off the overall balance of each campaign but most players will continue to have fun stacking their archers and ransacking everything in their path on the easy setting. Also, Heroes III shows its age compared to modern game mechanics with a lack of on-board tutorial or indicators on who is going to move next. But this was back in a time when each game shipped with an encyclopedia-thick instruction manual.
Seeing this nostalgic series return in HD format is a dream-come-true for fans and a decent jumping off point for newcomers willing to have a little patience with the learning curve. At the same time, dedicated fans will probably feel short-changed by the lack of expansions and bugs that hinder this HD re-release. But if these short comings can be ignored, Heroes III is still a highly enjoyable experience and “just one more turn” becomes an accidental 3am time check.
Not As Good As: a complete collection that is bug free
Wait For It: Heroes of Might & Magic I/II, the GBC versions, on 3DS Virtual Console.
Also Try: the other Heroes titles on GOG
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com