Might and Magic Heroes VI

9 Overall Score
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 9/10

Solid Gameplay | Fun Multiplayer | Lots of Replayability

Could use some simple usability updates

Of the numerous series of games out there today, a select few have a history tracing back 25 years. Usually if a game series has been around that long it has either devolved into a pale shadow of its past glories or it is a sad mockery of the original game or it has faded into obscurity with only a token diehard fanbase. And then there are those few and far between gems who have remained pillars of gaming.  Might and Magic is one of those series. It has had its ups and its downs, don’t get me wrong, but throughout its history it has been a series that gamers could turn to and know what they were going to get out of it.

The key to that, is also the key to why the Sixth installment in the turn based strategy Heroes line of M&M games is so good. A key defining element of gameplay, polished to a shine over many iterations without much fussing over it once it’s proven to be good. Ubisoft was smart enough to realize this when they acquired the license from New World Computing and Black Hole Entertainment was definitely wise in their implementation and design around the core game play of the Heroes series.

Besides the setting change, Might and Magic Heroes VI feels a lot like my favorite in the series, Heroes of Might and Magic III, with some updated graphics. Obviously there is more to the new game than just a bit of graphical shoe shine lathered on, but it definitely doesn’t hurt the game. The cinematics are down right gorgeous and the opening video in particular is jaw dropping.  The in-game graphics are solid and clean as well, they definitely make muster when compared to other current games. Equally delightful is the soundtrack to the game, they are top notch scores that match the feeling of the game perfectly and don’t overpower it.

The story is set 400 years before the events of Might & Magic Heroes V. A legendary Archangel General has been resurrected and plots to regain his powers to take control of Ashan and lay an ungodly beatdown on the Demons that are getting ready to invade. Of course he forgot about the plucky humans and their tenacious Griffin Duchy. The campaigns focus on the five children of Duke Slava Griffin, which each represent one of the games factions.

Anton is the good and holy son, representing the Haven faction. Haven is chock full of angelic units, only three of their 8 units aren’t glowy angelic figures. Kiril represents the Inferno faction, demons upon demons spewing forth to burn the world. Anastasya is the Necropolis representative, bringing skeley’s ghouls and vampires to the fight. Irina comes to the fight at the front the Sanctuary faction, which is all water themed units. And the final sibling is Sandor, bastard son of Slava and fights at the front of the Stronghold faction, which is basically barbarians.

If you are unfamiliar with the Heroes series, the basic gameplay is carried out on a map of varying size and design where you start with control of a single town. As you expend your movement points to explore and pick fights with various baddies you can take control of resource mines which allow you to upgrade your town to produce more types of units, or upgraded versions of the base units, or various other upgrades. You recruit your army at your town with a cap on the weekly production of the units that can be modified by various things throughout the game.

The initial stages of any game are exploration and subjugation of the beasties in your area so that you can establish a solid lockdown on your territory before you take your hero into far off lands to do battle with other heroes and their armies. Eventually you will recruit more heroes (if you want to) to increase your presence in the world. The combat is carried out on a 10 by 12 grid with your units lined up on one side, and your opponents on the other. Various obstacles occupy the middle area and you have to use strategy based on your units strengths and your opponents weaknesses to prevail.

As you level up your hero in game you are given ability points which allow you to modify your hero to suit your playstyle. While your version of one of the heroes might be a sword swinging powerhouse with abilities that buff the might damage of your units, another player may have turned that same hero into a magic wielding powerhouse that can obliterate stacks of units with a single spell. You also have the choice to pursue the Blood or Tears routes of development, which is a morality system that provides bonuses dependent upon your actions.

Multiplayer is present in the form of online games and hotseat local games. They really don’t throw too much of a change onto the core game at the end of the day, but there is some. The crux of the online multiplayer is The Conflux, which provides an overarching framework to the game. By being connected to The Conflux you gain experience to level up your Dynasty, which in turn provides in game benefits which can drastically alter how the game unfolds.

There is also a map editor which allows you to create your own custom maps for custom games. As for sharing them with your friends, I am sure there is a way, but I don’t know about it since I haven’t tried. The editor is really good and fairly easy to pick up, with a bit of practice you will be making fun maps in no time.

I do have a few small bones I’d like to pick though. The most annoying thing I have encountered is that my mouse flickers constantly and I cannot do anything about it. That could be because I am not using a fancy top end graphics card but if they had included an option to use my hardware cursor, it would have alleviated that problem. My only other issue I’d like to highlight is not a dig at the developers at all. In fact it’s a dig right at the marketing department. Or at least I assume they are the ones who made this bonehead decision. If they didn’t I apologize, please forward this criticism on to the right department. Ok, so Deluxe Editions are cool. Digital Distribution is also cool. Combining the two, however, is not an easy thing for people to grasp apparently. The art book as a PDF works really well, honestly. And getting the soundtrack as MP3’s with out having to rip a CD and go through the hassle of finding somewhere to put it is also very nice. The part the not only confounds me, but also is likely to piss a ton of people off is the digital poster. What, exactly, am I supposed to do with a poster in PDF format? Not many people have access to a large format printer and high gloss poster paper, so it’s essentially worthless to them. Just saying, might want to rethink that one.

Overall though, this game is amazing, and earns the right to be in the Heroes of Might and Magic series by being solidly built and downright fun and challenging. It is worth picking up if you are a fan of the series, or a fan of fantasy turn-based games.


Author: Bryce Jenkins View all posts by
Gaming for years on end Bryce has some odd views about gaming. He's been with jggh since it's official founding, lending support and ideas. In his non-gaming time, he's a lead farmer. He can be reached at bryce@jggh.net