This year, the Heroes of Might and Magic license will be 20 years old, and should deliver its seventh opus. A title that should be placed under the sign of redemption, after a half-toned Heroes VI.

Heroes 08

As video game specialists know, sometimes it only takes a simple spark to make a community that was once a licensee turn against a license and start wishing it the worst possible things. An experience that Ubisoft has experienced many times, including in 2011, when it released the sixth Might and Magic Heroes with the help of Black Hole Entertainment studio. It must be said that at the time, the French publisher and his partner had ignited a veritable inferno by multiplying the unwelcome simplifications and “improvements” re-launched, under the guise of giving new life to the saga. And finally, between the obligation to maintain an internet connection to play, and the unreliability of the backup system made in Uplay, it is rather the slow agony of the fairy-tale Ashan’s lands that our duo had signed. An agony that has been prolonged recently, with an HD adaptation of Heroes III, which we will qualify to remain courteous of a little weak on the hind legs.

Heroes 03 (1)

In short, it is not in the best spirit that we approached this first takeover of the new Might and Magic Heroes VII. Yet, as you will soon see, it is with a heart full of hope that we now await the release of this game, scheduled for this year. It’s a turnaround that is due as much to the two hours we spent on the title as to our few discussions with the teams from Limbic, the new studio at work here. Because on both sides, the message was clear: “All right, Heroes VI and I screwed up. But let’s not make a habit of it, and let’s go back to the basics of the series, just to get off on the right foot”. In fact, for all those who have gone through the different iterations of this monument of the turn-by-turn strategy that is HoMM, this Heroes VII appears to be little innovative, even a step backwards, if we take the sixth opus as a reference.

Heroes 06

Thus, not only no new mechanics came as a surprise, but most of the previously introduced features have been dropped, such as dynasty weapons, or the notion of alignment. At the same time, other game systems that had disappeared are coming back, such as caravans (to transport our troops from one fortress to another) or magic guilds. Finally, while the progression of our heroes again depends on a large wheel of skills divided into 8 categories, the number of resources to be managed increases from 4 to 7. And one thing leading to another, we come to the conclusion that this episode will probably look much more like a Heroes V bis than a real novelty. Some may complain, no doubt, but again, given the direction in which the licence had gone, we felt that this rethink was a wise one.

Thus, on the pre-version we had access to, the exploration phases and turn-based battles followed each other efficiently, and with all the more pleasure that, if not to stand out with an innovative gameplay, Heroes VII will have at least impressed us on the form. Aware of the multiple flaws in the game engine they inherited, the Limbic teams decided to change the engine, choosing Epic’s Unreal Engine 3. And its benefits will be felt on all levels.

Heroes 05

The maps to be explored thus offer a plethora of details, and reliefs of the most beautiful effect (let us specify that until now, the environments were flat). Bonuses that are also enjoyed during the combat sequences, with more and more varied cover backgrounds. On the interface side, it’s the same thing: the whole is fluid, the animations are very successful (like those that will dress the queue of units), and the camera will display the terrains from all possible angles.

And behind these very visual gains, there are others, less perceptible but just as important. As the UE3 is a proven engine, the developers assured us that their game would gain in stability and fluidity. On the other hand, still for these same reasons, it should greatly facilitate the return of modding tools, whose absence had been widely regretted at the time of the release of Heroes VI. A point on which the developers are still not very talkative, but which is clearly part of their strategy to rebuild a strong community spirit around the license. And it should be noted that of the six factions playable at the launch, two are the result of a public vote.

Heroes 01 (1)

At this stage, it is of course still too early to make a judgement on the balance of each faction, the coherence or the narrative qualities of the whole, but in choosing a game that is very close to a Heroes V in spirit, and more stable and beautiful than a Heroes VI, Ubisoft and Limbic have undoubtedly aimed for the right compromise. All that remains is to transform the trial, in a few months’ time.

This year, the Heroes of Might and Magic license will be 20 years old, and should deliver its seventh opus. A title that should be placed under the sign of redemption, after a half-toned Heroes VI.

Heroes 08

As video game specialists know, sometimes it only takes a simple spark to make a community that was once a licensee turn against a license and start wishing it the worst possible things. An experience that Ubisoft has experienced many times, including in 2011, when it released the sixth Might and Magic Heroes with the help of Black Hole Entertainment studio. It must be said that at the time, the French publisher and his partner had ignited a veritable inferno by multiplying the unwelcome simplifications and “improvements” re-launched, under the guise of giving new life to the saga. And finally, between the obligation to maintain an internet connection to play, and the unreliability of the backup system made in Uplay, it is rather the slow agony of the fairy-tale Ashan’s lands that our duo had signed. An agony that has been prolonged recently, with an HD adaptation of Heroes III, which we will qualify to remain courteous of a little weak on the hind legs.

Heroes 03 (1)

In short, it is not in the best spirit that we approached this first takeover of the new Might and Magic Heroes VII. Yet, as you will soon see, it is with a heart full of hope that we now await the release of this game, scheduled for this year. It’s a turnaround that is due as much to the two hours we spent on the title as to our few discussions with the teams from Limbic, the new studio at work here. Because on both sides, the message was clear: “All right, Heroes VI and I screwed up. But let’s not make a habit of it, and let’s go back to the basics of the series, just to get off on the right foot”. In fact, for all those who have gone through the different iterations of this monument of the turn-by-turn strategy that is HoMM, this Heroes VII appears to be little innovative, even a step backwards, if we take the sixth opus as a reference.

Heroes 06

Thus, not only no new mechanics came as a surprise, but most of the previously introduced features have been dropped, such as dynasty weapons, or the notion of alignment. At the same time, other game systems that had disappeared are coming back, such as caravans (to transport our troops from one fortress to another) or magic guilds. Finally, while the progression of our heroes again depends on a large wheel of skills divided into 8 categories, the number of resources to be managed increases from 4 to 7. And one thing leading to another, we come to the conclusion that this episode will probably look much more like a Heroes V bis than a real novelty. Some may complain, no doubt, but again, given the direction in which the licence had gone, we felt that this rethink was a wise one.

Thus, on the pre-version we had access to, the exploration phases and turn-based battles followed each other efficiently, and with all the more pleasure that, if not to stand out with an innovative gameplay, Heroes VII will have at least impressed us on the form. Aware of the multiple flaws in the game engine they inherited, the Limbic teams decided to change the engine, choosing Epic’s Unreal Engine 3. And its benefits will be felt on all levels.

Heroes 05

The maps to be explored thus offer a plethora of details, and reliefs of the most beautiful effect (let us specify that until now, the environments were flat). Bonuses that are also enjoyed during the combat sequences, with more and more varied cover backgrounds. On the interface side, it’s the same thing: the whole is fluid, the animations are very successful (like those that will dress the queue of units), and the camera will display the terrains from all possible angles.

And behind these very visual gains, there are others, less perceptible but just as important. As the UE3 is a proven engine, the developers assured us that their game would gain in stability and fluidity. On the other hand, still for these same reasons, it should greatly facilitate the return of modding tools, whose absence had been widely regretted at the time of the release of Heroes VI. A point on which the developers are still not very talkative, but which is clearly part of their strategy to rebuild a strong community spirit around the license. And it should be noted that of the six factions playable at the launch, two are the result of a public vote.

Heroes 01 (1)

At this stage, it is of course still too early to pronounce on the balance of each faction, the coherence or the narrative qualities of the whole, but by choosing a game very close to a Heroes V in spirit, and more stable and beautiful than a Heroes VI, Ubisoft and Limbic have undoubtedly aimed for the right compromise. All that remains is to transform the trial, in a few months’ time.

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