Heroes of Might and Magic V
Heroes of Might and Magic V was developed a few years ago by Nival Interactive and published by Ubisoft. This is the first game of the franchise that is not developed by New World Computing (as they went bankrupt; RIP NWC). Two expansion packs were released for it, the first adding in the Fortress faction, home of the Dwarves and called Hammers of Fate. The second expansion added in the Stronghold faction, home of the Orcs and called Tribes of the East. The game launched with some nasty bugs (although it was strangely stable; only had the original version lock up on me once), some of which were fixed in later patches, and others that persisted. Of course, I sincerely believe the game is worth playing, in spite of this, so...
Read on! :)
Heroes of Might and Magic V Cover Art
You may or may not have read my article on the third iteration of this franchise (click here if you wish to see it). In either case, the gameplay has changed up just enough that, while it's still most definitely a Heroes of Might and Magic game, a summary of what's new is needed.
The adventure map is now rendered in full 3D. This can cause quite the headache as map objects get lost by your camera orientation until you get the hang of it. This problem also occurs in the town display as well. In the earlier games, it was easy to find a certain structure to hire units or heroes. In this game, you're better off using the built-in interface for it, as you'll probably be unable to find the buildings inside the town manually.
Of course, I wouldn't be talking about the game if it were all bad. The combat system has been changed up a bit, with the addition of Initiative. In earlier games, units moved in order of their Speed, from highest to lowest. Speed was also used to determine how many spaces a unit could move. In Heroes 5, the developers deviated from this partially, by making units act based on their Initiative instead. The more initiative a unit has, the more often it acts. They also introduced a bar at the bottom of the combat screen that keeps track of who will act next, which is a very nice feature if I do say so myself. :)
So now, Speed allows you to move a certain distance, but Initiative is what actually allows you to act. So, you can have a really fast unit that rarely acts, or a really slow unit that acts frequently, or something in between.
The spell system is now based on four schools of differing disciplines, instead of the elemental schools that were a trademark of Heroes 3. You can aid your troops with Light Magic, hinder your opponent's troops with Dark Magic, bring forth a Blade Barrier into being with Summoning Magic, or Deep Freeze an enemy stack with the volatile power of Destructive Magic. Each faction favors two schools of magic in particular. For example, the Haven faction, home of the humans, favors Light and Dark magic (good and evil? :P).
The skill tree system was also changed up, relative to the third iteration of the series. Now you have skills, such as Logistics and Attack. These skills then have a series of abilities you can acquire, such as Pathfinding for Logistics or Battle Frenzy for Attack. In addition, they introduced a racial skill for each faction in an attempt to create more individuality and a little equity as well (Necromancy has existed since the birth of Necromancers in the Heroes universe, but no other race had a racial skill to call their own). For instance, the Sylvan racial skill is Avenger. This allows the Sylvan hero to favor enemy units he/she has defeated before, giving him/her a chance to do double damage with his/her units.
In conclusion, while this game has gotten bad rep for poor decisions on Nival's behalf, it is very fun. I wholeheartedly recommend you pick up Tribes of the East and take it for a spin one of these days. ;)
Until the next time, take care and have fun! ;)