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Old 01-06-2012, 05:27 PM   #1
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Please Rate this Review: Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes

The Puzzles of War

[b]High[b]: Beating an opponent with just a few hitpoints left.
Low: The character portraits are a little amateurish.
WTF: The strange relationship between a boy and his succubus.

When Puzzle Quest infused Bejeweled with stat building a new genre was born, that of the Puzzle-RPG. There have been a number of games released in this style since, but few strayed far from the original formula; Clash of Heroes practically reinvents it. Merging strategic decisions that can be approached at the player's own pace with coloured icon matching Clash does an impressive job of melding puzzle gaming with the traditional Heroes of Might & Magic core.

The efforts put forward to make this more than Might & Magic in name only are appreciated. The inclusion of maps to traverse, quests to undertake, treasures to collect, many Might & Magic units to recruit into the player's army and of course battles to be fought are just the beginning. Much like in the main Heroes series Clash's battles play out with a hero's army facing off against a computer controlled one, with the hero's involvement consisting of the ability to cast spells from the sidelines.

Clash establishes its own identity in the battle system by having colour-coded units on the field that the player must strategically position to create attacks. Move a blue archer onto two others of the same colour and an attack is formed. Each unit has different abilities, charge times before their attack is executed, hit point totals and attack strengths. It is up to the player to learn these and make proper use of them to win the battles.

The game's main story is enough to keep interest going throughout its roughly 20 hour length, but it makes no effort to rise above simplicity into the realm of literature. Of course, it doesn't need to, and a more wordy and involved story would simply have players wondering when they can get to the real meat of the game.

As mentioned previously there are multiple sidequests that can be ignored should anyone want to simply reach the next plot point and among these are what the game calls Puzzle Battles, which limit your army to a specific setup and must be completed within a set number of turns. They can be quite difficult, and thankfully there is no penalization should they be skipped over. The best part of this is that any incomplete battles can be revisted at any time, no matter what chapter the player's reached, for that sweet sense of completion.

More battles can be found both in the Quick Battle option on the main screen, or in Multiplayer against human opponents. There's really no shortage of battles to be fought, and these two non-campaign modes even allow the use of heroes unavailable in the story.

It's also worth mentioning that while the character portraits aren't fantastic they do effectively communiate a character's mood and overall personality during conversations. You'll know Aiden's a bit of a snot, and his brother Godric is filled to the brim with spirited nobility immediately upon seeing them. Along those same lines the sprite work is top notch, as are the nicely detailed backgrounds.

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is a game you won't want to put down. It can be tackled in short bursts, or for extended periods, and will always leave players feeling as though they've accomplished something in the time spent.

8 out of 10

Disclosures: This game was obtained via Steam and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 21 hours of play were devoted to single-player modes (completed 1 time) and 1 hours of play to multiplayer modes.

Parents: This game does contain demons, though they are of the cartoony variety.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: Everything is text based, and all battle cues are visual.
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