Monday, March 6, 2017

Might & Magic: Heroes VI - Initial Thoughts

About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)

The adventure in Heroes VI, starting 400 years before events in Heroes V, catapults a family of heroes into a fast-paced epic story where Angels plot to end -- once and for all -- an unfinished war with their ancient rivals, the Faceless.

A legendary Archangel General is resurrected, but with his powers crippled. Plagued by horrible memories of the Elder Wars, he plots to recover his powers and take control of Ashan while destroying both Faceless and Demons in a series of carefully orchestrated attacks and betrayals. He underestimates, however, the power of the all-too-human Griffin dynasty.

The destiny of these Griffin heroes will be determined by our players.
Previous Playtime

18 hours

What Was I Thinking When I Bought This

I'd played Heroes of Might & Magic III many years prior and had fond memories of the experience. So I figured that a 3rd-degree sequel, with more than a decade's worth of refinement would be a sure bet.

Expecations and Prior Experience

I've been dreading this game for awhile not. I so wanted to like it. I tried. I played it for longer than was entirely reasonable, even after it became clear the game wasn't for me.

It just has so much going for it. A richly-detailed fantasy world with appealing art design, and multiple factions to play, each with their own units and tech trees, in wide-open maps with treasure to find and all sorts of spells and artifacts and other fantasy rigamarole.

However it had one serious flaw - the game is just too damned hard. I could barely get past the tutorial and from what I understand, that is a not uncommon state of affairs. As near as I could tell from online strategy guides and various grumbling forum posts, the issue is that it is balanced around the assumption of optimal play. I.e. if the game were winnable by dawdlers like myself who like to poke around for treasure chests and clear out monster nests rather than directly engage the enemy, it would subsequently be a cakewalk for the sort of people who chart out precise build orders and rush the enemy while they're still low on the tech tree.

I suppose they have to know their audience better than I do, though. In all likelihood, I was in a minority with my desire to do nothing more than futz around in a fantasy world and have pet dragons. Presumably most of the people playing this turn-based strategy game would rather focus on the strategy aspects.

Which means, going forward, that I have a serious choice to make - do I continue to be the round peg in a square hole, or do I focus on playing the game the way it was meant to be played?

I think we all know the answer to that, but I'm just going to document the dilemma here so that when, in 10 hours or so, I complain about being tortured by the game, there will be no denying that I'm a whiny hypocrite.

Then again, maybe it won't be so bad. It's been years since I played the game and maybe it's been patched to be more casual. Or maybe I've grown enough as a player of games that I will be able to handle its strategic challenge.

Hey, stranger things have happened.

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