Well, that wasn't as bad as I feared. I went into this game thinking it would be an ordeal and I finished it in three days (this post is four days out because yesterday was my weekly tabletop game). I think my quickness here is due to one main factor - the campaign missions are long as hell. I think they average about 3 hours each, at least.
Yeah, I went back to the campaign. What can I say, I liked having a story to give my monster slaying context. For all my complaining in the first post, it turned out to be not that bad . . . forgiving the fact that I only had one real hero and that made playing both offense and defense simultaneously a tremendous chore. But since the second campaign level didn't even have a base to defend, it actually proved to be fairly easy . . . so you know, all that stuff I said about easy mode being bullshit is only half true.
It's tough to separate out my feelings for this game from the embarrassment I feel for having run off at the mouth earlier. It was a lot better at hour 15 than it was at hour 4, but am I going easy on it because I overplayed my hand earlier or is my diffidence now merely the product of me not wanting to admit I was wrong?
Either way, I don't think I've been converted to a Might & Magic: Heroes VI fan. I really liked seeing those monsters fight each other and I notionally love the idea of recruiting new heroes from the surprisingly deep pool of candidates. But I hated the feeling of being under a time constraint, and I resented the fact that splitting my forces is basically just suicidal. In fact, I'm so at odds with the game's fundamental mechanics that it has me thinking that maybe I wouldn't enjoy Heroes of Might & Magic III, were I to go back and play it again after all these years.
It's a sobering thought. That maybe the happy memories of my youth are a result of confabulation and nostalgia and that if I could go back with what I know now, I would just take my adult cynicism with me.
Or maybe I'm just being overly melancholy. There's no denying that Might & Magic: Heroes VI sucked me in. It's one of my faster finishes and wasn't expecting that at all. So maybe the fact that I was grumbling half the time is not so big a flaw after all. It could be that "enjoyment" is merely a subset of a broader state of being distracted mentally.
The question is, is it distraction I crave? It seems that way sometimes. And if so, then this game is a good candidate to provide it to me. However, I just can't help feeling that maybe there's something out there that can give me the same mental diversion, but without annoying me quite so much.