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With the collapse of 3DO and New World Computing, fans of this series were left in limbo--what was to become of this iconic series, known for its simplicity and clarity of gameplay, yet deep strategy and replayability that offered up astounding value?
Well, the rights were picked up by Ubisoft, and developed by Nival. From what is usually regarded as a bleak (but different) Heroes 4, there came the fully 3-D, absolutely gorgeous, and very enjoyable Heroes 5. The earlier games always had such charm, and a rousing, instrumental fantasy soundtrack. 4 just seemed...off on everything, so it was a relief that 5 went back to its roots, taking on the best aspects of the benchmark 3, and the rather innovative but badly presented 4.
The mix should have made for a near perfect title.
Unfortunately, the game is riddled with little bugs and spelling errors. Nothing terribly game breaking, but fans were shocked at some of the by now classic elements to be expected from games of the series--a Hall of Fame, multiplayer maps, a map editor (perhaps the most disappointing), a proper manual, and properly working multiplayer. Additionally, the AI is laughably inconsistent--ignoring artifacts, resources and mines, they sometimes wander aimlessly, or go after low priority things; yet, every once in a while, they make decisions that threaten to end your game.
Actually, it's been determined that the AI cheats, granted a resource bonus, and view of the map. This is amateur that an insufficient AI could not be scripted, so it gets unfair bonuses to be "challenging." Most of the time, you'll wonder at how their armies get so big.
However, the game is still very enjoyable, and so appealing visually and aurally.Read more ›
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When I played #3 I really enjoyed it. I played for hours. #4 was a disappointment, but when I heard there was a #6 I made enquiries and found out it was similar in structure to #3. I wanted it. The price at Amazon was too reasonable to resist.
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110 of 115 people found the following review helpful
A Good Game is added to the SeriesMay 30 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I started playing the Heroes franchise with Heroes of Might and Magic III. I am glad this new developer took many of the best features from III and made it new again. This game is immediately playable. I have already spent hours playing through the Haven campaign, exploring the entire map in each level. The graphics are fantastic, which makes playing the game enjoyable. The control mechanics are simple and straightforward. Because I was familiar with III and IV, I had no trouble jumping right into this game and feeling like I knew how to do everything, including building construction, troop recruitment, and combat. The combat in this game has improved--the difference in unit types and how they act adds to the overall strategy on the combat field. With the addition of many new spells and abilities, each Hero feels different in combat. Since combat is a major part of the game, I was glad to know the developer made the combat fun and straightforward as well, meaning you may spend countless hours in combat over the course of the game, yet each battle is not repetitive. There is always something going on to make it different.
However, the game does have some problems. A reviewer here on Amazon wrote a great deal about the game--turns out, he is correct. There are many strange things about the game--things I can't believe a developer would overlook. For example, in combat, you do know the result of your unit's attack before the animation even plays. If you look at the bottom of the screen or watch the initiative bar, you know the results before anything happens. This is an annoying oversight--I try not to look at those bars while I play. Also, the battlefield is completely scaleable in 3D as well. However, whenever an animation of the combat occurs, you leave your custom view for the animation. If that's the case, then why make the battlefield rotate and zoom? I play with it zoomed all the way out so I can see the entire battlefield. I am also surprised that in this day and age, the developer released a game that has missing elements. Like the reviewer said, how do you know what an object does without a description of it? Trial and error I guess, but that is not how a game should be made.
Like the other reviewer, I also experience some slow-down on the large world map. It seems that if you zoom all the way out, the game stutters as it tries to compute all the animation on the screen. I have a very fast Alienware computer, and if it stutters on mine, I can't imagine how slow it must be on others. I get around this, I usually zoom out to see where I want to go, then zoom back in to move. Rotating the camera at a closer range to your hero is not a problem, but it is slow zoomed out. Again, I don't know why the developer did this, but it is something I hope they can fix in the patch.
I also feel that this game has a very narrow market. If you played M&M III or IV, then this game will appeal to you. It is fun and addicting. Go buy it right now. However, the publisher needed to include better documentation to appeal to the non-fans. There is no creature and town hierarchy chart that always came with the other games. The manual is small--M&M III had a bound book for instructions that included a lot more information, back-story, and game play.
Overall, I think this game is great fun, and I look forward to advancing to the other campaigns. But I think this because I was already a fan of the series and because I am willing to over look a few of its flaws. If you can get past these issues, then I think you will enjoy the game. It looks great, plays great, and is an addicting turn-based game. If a patch comes out that fixes many of these issues, then I will put another star back into my review.
UPDATE: There is now a patch for this game that makes significant upgrades. It adds an Easy mode, the abilitiy to check for future updates, speeds up some of the slow down we have been experiencing when zoomed out, and fixes some of the leveling up skill trees. But most importantly, it fixes the initiative bar--now combat updates at the same time you attack, the way it was meant to be. There is a long list of fixes you will see in the Readme file when you download the patch. Since these fixes make the game so much better, I would give it 5 stars.
346 of 384 people found the following review helpful
A joke of a game, with huge potential.May 25 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
September 29 2006. The second, and last, edit to this review.
Well, the map editor is finally out, and I must say that they did a excellent job with it. Sure, it needs a little trail and error to lean how to use it. But it is pretty much 90% the same editor like in H3. If you know how to use that, you know how to use this one.
Now, as for the rest of the game, have 3 patches changed it? Yes it definitely did. It still isn't perfect, there still are bugs in the game, but they are (relatively) small, and the kind you will find in any game nowadays.
Now this game is worth buying, and I would suggest that you do.
A few more things. In my initial review I said that the game was very stable; it is... for me. I never had a single crash, never had a problem with the game freezing; nothing like that. But I have read in the official Ubi forum that not all people are that lucky. Most interesting, the more... exotic... you computer is, the more change there seems to be for a problem. So it might very well be that someone with a beast of a computer all geared to playing games has a problem with it, while the other person that has a more common computer that only just makes the system requirements has no problem with the game at all.
If you do buy the game, my advice is to immediately download the patches and install them before even playing the game. This also because some save games didn't work anymore after a new patch was installed. Very importantly, DL the right patch. If you have the U.S. version of the game, you also need the U.S. patch. There is even a difference between normal and collectors edition. In total there are something like 7 patches for every version of the patch, so make sure you got the right one. If you try to install a patch and you are told that `Heroes 5 is not installed' then you are using the wrong version of the patch.
It took 4 months, but now I can finally suggest; go buy the game. It's fun, it's good, and it keeps you entertained. The map editor (btw no Random Map Generator, that comes with the first expansion) is out 2 weeks now at the moment of me writing this, and some good fan made maps have already appeared. So now you really will get those countless hours of fun.
Edit: Somewhere in the last two weeks, the line `map editor provided' was finally removed. Notice the date when I posted this review (May 25th) and the fact that somewhere in the last two weeks that line was removed. So the line was in the description for two months after the game hit the stores. Also, just so that you are up-to-date, as of this date (August 4th) the map editor still not exists. It is rumored that it will be `provided' in the next month, but Ubisoft is NOT giving out a clear date.
Original review. I'm sorry to say this, but at the moment this game is a joke. (The reason for the never the less high rating is given at the end of this review.) Even worse is that they lie to you. I don't mean a little bit of enhancing of the product that everyone does, no I mean lie. In the product information above it clearly states: `Battle opponents in exclusive Duel mode; map editor provided' and `Experience everlasting adventure thanks to the map editor provided.' See the `map editor provided'? Well, it's not. There is no map editor on the CD. Did you also notice the wording `map editor PROVIDED.' They don't say included, no they say provided. The reason for that is simple. The plan is to at a later point bring out a map editor and PROVIDE it to you through a patch. So, I guess if you wait long enough the words will eventually be true. That doesn't take away that at the moment of me writing this, there is no map editor. I bought the game retail, (so it's not some kind of demo or trail), I installed it, I also went to their site to look for patches. Nothing. There is no map editor at this point, so... they lie.
That's not the only thing that is badly in need of a patch though. Other things in the game as well. There are for instance items that have no description. Case in point, I found a necromancer helmet. Great, what does it do? I don't know. Why don't I know you wonder? Because the description of the item was... necromancer helmet. That's it. Does it enhance my necromancer skill? In that case I can't use it because my hero is not a necromancer. Does it grand me the necromancer skill? In that case I most certainly want it since my hero doesn't have that skill at the moment. See what I mean? A description would be nice.
Now, I'm not going to complain about how few artifacts and recourses there are on the maps that have been provided, nor about the fact that the maps seem incredibly small (the largest maps give you the same feeling of plying on a small map in Heroes 4, and a medium map in heroes 3. The reason I'm not going to complain about that is, frankly, I haven't played the game long enough to do so. It might very well be that in fact this time around they have the balance right and I simply have to get used to it yet.
I AM however going to complain about maps, or the lack thereof. There is a ridicules small amount of maps provided. In the product info above they boast that there are over 30 maps in 6 campaigns. Yes, that's true, but just look at that and ignore the big number. What you see is that in fact there are ONLY 6 campaigns on the CD. If you want to play a standalone map it's just as bad. There are 6, count them 6, standalone maps (or custom games as they call them) on the CD. Want to play multiplayer? Great, at least there you get more. Well, 4 more; 10 in total. So what you get is 6 campaigns, 6 standalone and 10 multiplayer maps, and no way to get more maps at the moment. See the problem? That's just enough to play so that you can get a feel for the game. In fact, the six standalone maps are each set to one faction, which you can't chance. So it really is nothing more than an opportunity to play with the different factions and see which ones you like. I assume that they think that by the time you played those maps they might have the map editor out and you can create random maps. I just hope that their wishful thinking time table works out.
Now, is all about this game bad? No. There are some very good points. First, it's stable. In a time where games are brought out with flaws in them so big that you can't play them without crashing until a patch is provided, such a stable game like this a welcome change. Second, they clearly used Heroes 3 as the basis of the game. If you don't know Heroes 3 or 4, trust me, it's a good thing they used 3. You are once again back to Heroes being part of an army and that those Heroes can't go outside the town without those armies, nor can creatures go out anymore without a hero to lead them. You are once again back to building your city and upgrading structures so that if you want you can still buy the base or the upgraded creature. Gone are the choices of just which creature you want to build and where choosing one means that you can't make the other anymore. I really do think that they did very well in getting the Heroes 3 feel in to a 3D game. Third, the graphics are truly stunning, but come on, doesn't it say enough that you need to use great graphics as a selling point instead of a great game play? As wonderful as the graphics are, they get boring. When I saw the first battle I was in awe about the beauty they managed to get in there. By the tenth battle however, I had set the computer to `quick combat' (skips the fight and just tells you what you lost or won in the battle.) Why? Because as wonderful as the graphics are, they are still just the same thing over and over and over. A blade warrior uses the same `slice, slice' move over and over. You are tired of it after having seen that a couple of times. By that time you are more interested in the game play, and then great graphics don't take away from the fact that this game still needs work. A drawback to these great graphics is also that they battles themselves are boring. With Heroes 3 and 4 the battles were more of a chess game with the focus on which creature should you have attack which other creature. The graphics of the fights there were just to dress up those `chess moves.' Now they take their good time to show the move. As I said; great at first, boring later.
So, where does all of this leave us? It leaves us basically with a half done product that has been pushed in to the stores too soon. I honestly think that this game does have the potential to be absolutely great. I do think that with a little bit of extra work this game can even surpass Heroes 3 in popularity. But... We aren't there yet. This review was about the game that you get on the CD, and as I started out; that's a joke. Now, you could say that in a time where there are games being sold where the CD only enables you to get online and play the online game that it's not a big thing that you have to download patches. If you think that, than you are right, BUT, the problem is that these patches don't exist at the moment of this writing. If you buy one of those `online game CD's' the online game is there and you can play it as soon as you installed the rest of the software on your computer.
With Heroes 5 you buy a half finished product and HOPE that they will add the rest in patches. What if they decide that the map editor isn't needed since the sales are good enough? You aren't sure, and that's my point. You aren't sure what they will hand to you for free in the future. Why would they spend a lot of time on patches if they don't make any money from it? Because of that, if you buy the CD you have to look at what you get on the CD. The game is sold as such; everything is supposed to be on the CD (well, PC-DVD-rom actually) and it's not. If you are new to the world on Heroes and are wondering why I make such a big fuss about the fact that there is no map editor, let me tell you why. Just for the heck of it, do a internet search for `Heroes III maps' or `Heroes IV' maps. You will see that there are hundreds, if not thousands of maps on line to download; made by fans of the game. That's literally thousands of hours of fun. And if you ever do get tired of those maps, or worse, don't have an internet connection and you can't download them, the map editor has a `create random map' function which simply makes a new map for you. You never again run out of maps with heroes 3 and 4.
Now compare that to heroes 5. Just how long do you think it will take you to run out of maps there; seeing that there's no real number of maps to speak of. THAT is why I'm so annoyed about it not being there. Especially since they clearly say that it is and even use it as a selling point. Not nice. There being no name tags for some things? Sloppy, but forgivable. There being no map editor? Now that's plain and simple false advertisement. Let me point out again that the map editor does not exist at the time of me WRITING this. At the point of you reading this it could have been added as a download on their site.
So, I assume that you are reading all of this because you are wondering if you should get the game. My opinion on that; yes and no. Don't buy it yet. First go to the official site of the game maker and see if they have patches by this time. If they do, and especially if they now have a map editor then my advice would be by all means run, don't walk, to get this game. If however they don't have those patches yet, eh, just skip the game and wait. Trust me, the anticipation of the long wait is better than the disappointment of getting the game now and seeing just how big of a joke the game is without the improvements hopefully provided by patches.
Lastly, you might wonder why I have given the game such a high rating if I'm clearly not that thrilled with the game. The answer to that is simple; the high rating is based on hope. As I said, there is a very big potential for this game. I honestly think that if they put some more work in to it (patches) this could be the best game you have bought in quite some time. The rating I have given the game is based on that. On that, and on the hope that those promised patches really will arrive at some point.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Heroes is Back!June 2 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Being a fan of the series since King's Bounty, way to many years ago, I was really excited to hear that UBI was bringing the series back to life.
You'll notice right off the bat a few changes. Having played every game in the series, my favorite was Heroes III and I absolutley hated IV. So if you had similar feelings, you'll be pleased to know that this game to me feels almost identical to Heroes III.
With that said, there are a lot of changes some good and some bad. Combat in this game is a lot of fun and feels better than even Heroes III. It appears that a lot of thought has gone into the balancing of the various units and even some nice changes given to make all of them worth using. Even Heroes III had units that were worthless.
Combat has several features that are nice as well, as you hoover over targets the screen displays where that unit can potentially move as well as your range for units killed. This might be None to a range of numbers like 2-15. Catapults, Healing Tents etc all take care of them selves and the nicest feature added might be the initiative bar. It's really nice seeing the units next few rounds and as morale bonuses change the order.
While there is a lot of positives, there are a few negatives. I personally don't think every game on the planet needs to be 3D. Combat is really nice due to the 3D graphics, but the main map suffers in a few areas. First, it's really hard to tell what's eye candy and what you should be running around picking up. Second and most annoying is the option to invert mouse is limited to 1 checkbox that inverts both the horizontal and vertical camera movement. I'd really like to have these as seperate options as I want to invert 1 but not both for my style of play. I'm sure that the fact that map is 3D is also why a map editor and randomizer haven't been included. It's a lot harder to program these things with 3D maps. Part of me wishes that the main map had been left 2D with the combat engine being 3D. Don't get me wrong, the screens are beatiful but the game does feel like it might be a bit small as is and in need of some additional maps.
My advice is to give the demo a try, it can be found on file planet and perhaps a few other sites. This does feel a lot like heroes III and I've enjoyed playing through the first 5 scenarios. I'll be interested to see how multiplayer and custom maps play out. That is where I got the most enjoyment out of the heroes series.
This one is worth giving a try and possibly a purchase.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Pure entertainment in the HOMM traditionAug. 14 2006
J. L. Hake
- Published on Amazon.com
My husband and I have been Heroes of Might & Magic fans since the very first game. There are few other games that compete when it comes to pure, charming fun and entertainment at the end of a hard day. We remained avid fans through versions II and III, and were extremely disappointed when IV was released and turned out to be more trouble than fun.
We heard about version V coming out, that the company had been bought out and the new owners were trying to breathe new life into the game. We were hopeful that their efforts would pay off, but our hopes were not very high.
We are pleased to report that Heroes V has fulfilled our hopes and we are once again thoroughly charmed and entertained. It's just different enough to feel like a new game, but similar enough to feel like an old friend. The biggest change--and also the biggest drawback as far as we are concerned--is the 3-D graphics, which sometimes make it hard to navigate, can cause one to become disoriented, and obstruct the view of goodies along the way. But the storyline and the way the campaigns are set up surpass anything in previous versions, the animations are stunning, and the creatures, skills and abilities, and town development are fascinating.
We have not had any of the problems mentioned by other reviewers. We have simply had many hours of interesting and immersive gameplay, and we look forward to many more. We are hoping for expansion packs so the fun will continue.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Ubisoft shipped an unfinished game.June 5 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Yes, the game is fun and it lives up to the spirit of other HOMM games. But the most important feature is lacking- a random map builder. Your hours of available gameplay are severely shortened with no new maps available. The campaigns are a bit weak, and Ubisoft only includes 10 "custom" (non-campaign) maps with the game! Supposedly Ubisoft will be releasing an update with a map editor in "a few months". I suggest not buying the game until the update is released, in case they decide not to release it at all. I have written to Ubisoft about the map issue and there has been no response as of yet. Other than the map issue, there are some bugs to the game and some other unsatisfactory changes.
I do agree with other reviewers that it simply was unneccessary to make this game 3D. The 2D has a simplicity to it, an ease of navgation, and quick loading times. 3D now has issues with camera control underground.
Other bugs are minor and I think they can be fixed. But without the extra maps or the ability to build them, this game will only hold your attention for a week.