Friday, January 19, 2007

TWIP - Heroes of Might & Magic 5

This Week I'm Playing : Heroes of Might & Magic 5 (HOMM5) First let me say I'm addicted to HOMM3. A fabulous game in its own right, then made "best-ever" by a random map generator that means you never need to play the same scenario twice. I've been playing HOMM3 for years, even keeping an outdated PC with Windoze-95 on it just for this game. Alas, HOMM4 was somewhat of a flop, and the HOMM team went out of business. Now, years later, Ubisoft has resurrected the series.
What's to Like
The 3D graphics are stunning. There are dozens of new and re-done creatures to learn to use. And new spells and new artifacts. There's even a random map generator, abeit that comes in a separate Expansion Pack add-on for an extra $40. I haven't installed the RMP yet, so stay tuned.
What's Not To Like
First, all that 3D generating slows the game play to a crawl. Those graphics may be stunning, but I'd trade some of the detail (do we really need to see every leaf in the trees?) for a speedier game. Loading previously-saved games especially bogs down the old PC. Second, the PC requirements are steep. Pentium-4 at the minimum. For a turn-based game?? Gimme a break. Third, there's a paucity of individual scenarios to do. Maybe 6 total for the single-player mode. And forget about choosing what race you want to be; you'll be whatever Ubisoft decides. What is it about the maxim "Less razzle-dazzle graphics; more and better game-play" that's so difficult for game-programmers to comprehend? Fourth, there's no manual for the game. After a week of playing HOMM5, I still can't tell you how many races there are and/or give you a complete list of the spells. But I'm betting that, for yet another $40, there's an HOMM5 how-to book at Best Buy. Finally, the anti-crack device sucks big time. Basically, the installation scans your PC for virtual drives, and if it finds one (even if its unrelated to HOMM5), it refuses to load the game. Yeah, yeah, Ubisoft. I know you think this will discourage people loading cracked versions. But I think instead, its going to encourage them to find the cracked version, so they can keep their virtual drives.
Final Verdict
TBD. So far it's holding my interest. But we'll see whether the bad lagging eventually drives me back to playing HOMM3. I have a feeling I'll be installing the expansion pack shortly.

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