Reviews

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes HD – Review

Xbox Live Arcade Title
Price: 1200MSP.

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes may be part of the 15 year spanning series, but don’t fool yourself into thinking this is a straight sequel in the series. What we actually have is a standalone game created for the DS originally, and now ported to our beloved console with a beautiful HD makeover to boot.

The core of the game is its rather unique approach to combat which see’s you commanding your army in a to-down view, with the goal being to attack the opponent to reduce his health to zero. Each turn you get a set amount of moves, and to make an attack you need to line up three troops of the same color and type. Each type of troop as different stats, including how long it takes them to launch an attack so planning is paramount. Elite units and Champions add another dimension to the game as they’re extremely powerful, but need planning and skill to use well. Aside from attacking you can also line up troops in a horizontal line to create defensive walls, as well as link together and fusing attacks, along with a vast array of other battle tactics. Many troops also have special abilities and tricks to utilise as well, so picking your prefered troops to construct your army is a hard choice.
The result is an engaging and tactical combat system that rewards planning and a good eye for the battlefield. A degree of luck is added when it comes to the starting formations and when you call for reinforcements, and occasionally you can get left with a dud formation that requires several turns to get going while the enemy is granted a great formation, but this rarely happens and it’s nothing that skill can’t overcome.
There are a few points in the game when you encounter battle after battle, and this can get a little tiring as some of the can last a good while, but the system is more than fun enough to keep you fighting through.
It’s hard to put into words the vindictiveness of the combat system is this game, so suffice to say that strategy fans will utterly love it.

During the campaign you’ll take control of five different characters and five very different armies. Playing the elves requires speed, but switch to the Undead armies and it’s a very different style of play, so you’re always learning new tactics, strategies and tricks with your troops. It keeps the game from feeling too samey during play.

During battles you’ll earn XP which levels you and your troops up, increasing your health and your troops general fighting abilities. It’s not an in-depth system as levelling up your main character simply increases health and there are no choices when it comes to stats.

In between all these battles you venture around the world uncovering the game’s plot. However, story isn’t the strong point of Clash of Heroes, and while it does have tongue-in-cheek nature the characters and general plot are fairly thin. It is engaging enough to keep you playing, though. Cutscenes themselves are done using a variation of the games cartoony graphics, and only these segments have voice-over while the rest of the game is told via simple text. It’s a fairly linear game but the unusual art-style gives the place a unique and compelling charm. It’s also a big game with six lands to venture through that will last you well over the twenty hour mark to complete, and that’s not including multiplayer which lets you battle real players.

To keep you from getting bored the game often throws in basic puzzles, or a tricky addition to battles such as having to hit two targets at the same time or pushing people into a pit. Battle puzzles are thrown in there as well which task you with beating the enemy force in a set amount of moves using pre-determined troops. These are often mind-bending, but never feel unfair and will reward you with resources so you can purchase Elite and Champion units. Sometimes you get lucky and you’ll be gifted with an artifact which gives you new effects or powers during battle,a choosing a favorite to use quickly becomes a tough decision.
Other times you’ll have to battle a devious boss, such as one with a massive mouth in his stomach than turns your troops into hamburgers and hotdogs.

What we have here is a charming, unique and compelling game with a great battle system. Sure, the art-style may not appeal to everyone, but the gameplay more than makes up for it providing a combat system that takes skill and tactics to master, but being accessible enough for everyone to understand. The concept of easy to pick up and impossible to master applies to this game perfectly.

The Good:
+ Chaining together massive attacks.
+ It’s a huge game!
+ The armies feel very different.

The Bad:
– Difficulty spikes are a killer.
– Some points resort to constant battles.

Scores:

Graphics: 8
It’s a unique visual style,and one that will make as many haters as fans.

Sound: 8
While the voice acting is little, what is there is good and the music suits the gameplay perfectly.

Story: 6
A tale of demons, betrayal and mayhem. The characters aren’t compelling and the plot is pretty light, but it has more than enough tongue-in-cheek moments to make up for it.

Gameplay: 9
Clash of Heroes has created a unique strategy game which takes patience and planning to emerge as the victor.

Lifespan: 9
Well over twenty hours of singleplayer and the multiplayer will add in a good bit of time. Simply put, for a XBLA ttle this is a big game.

Overall: 9
Charming and utterly fun. Few games on XBLA are as well made as this, and it deserves a place in your Harddrive with a shadow of a doubt.

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