Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes Review
Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes is an addictive and fun puzzle RPG with vividly crisp visuals. Many are comparing it to Puzzle Quest and are saying if you like it to pick it up. Although I agree, I'm saying its far better than Puzzle Quest! I strongly recommend to at least download the demo versions on either Xbox or PlayStation. While completing all side quests the single player campaign took over 30 hours to complete.
I actually...enjoyed the story in this game, and that's saying a lot for a puzzle RPG, let alone any average RPG game. To avoid spoilers, basically a once united land of 4 different nations are now at war with each other, as Demon's plot to take advantage of this to take over the world. The dialogues and cut scenes are well placed and keep the pacing of the game just right. They don't ever feel like fillers or excuses to move on to the next battle or scene. I wouldn't say I was as deeply engaged into the story like anyone's favorite Final Fantasy or Mass Effect. However I was far more interested into knowing what happens next then I thought I would compared to many big retail console games.
The gameplay is deep and satisfying, especially in online multiplayer but I'll get into that later. The game does a good job of introducing the puzzle mechanics of the game one new strategy at a time. Basically you are given a variety of units that you have to pair in 3's to "charge" in order to attack. Different units take a different turn lengths to charge than others and provide different abilities and advantages. Like Magic the Gathering each player has a life total which is taken down by enemy units or spells and you can use your units to block enemies or spells. You quickly learn that you have to start thinking a couple turns ahead of time to effectively defend or attack the opponent. Through Boss encounters you often have to discover new strategies to defeat them, which you then take with you as you progress. In each chapter you take the role of a new hero with completely different units and spells which slowly introduces you to the variety and depth the game can have. This keeps the gameplay interesting and fun as you progress. After a couple of impossible fights you will discover that the level of your hero and units make a HUGE difference in this game and will have to avoid fighting certain enemies or sidequests until you are the proper level for them. However you never have to grind a level to progress. By the end of the single player campaign, all the way up to the last boss encounter you are learning all angles of the puzzle game and only then will you be prepared to fully enjoy the Online multiplayer.
The Multiplayer component of this game is smooth and enjoyable. You will quickly see new strategies and unit choices other players pick for a Hero as you battle online, which will drive you to try new strategies and see things you did not discover during the single player campaign. I've played until level 10 in online multiplayer, and as far as I can see there is no level cap yet. The current top player on the leaderboard is over level 100. So far levels do not make any difference in your Heroes or units. The only thing I've noticed so far is unlocking two new artifacts which you can use with any hero as long as I'm in a game that allows the use of artifacts, which by default does not allow. There is an interesting 2v2 coop multiplayer option which is done well considering you are sharing units. A couple clever in game indicators are included to communicate and does not necessarily require a headset to set up strategies with your partner. The Multiplayer part of this game really gives a new depth of gameplay that adds hours of fun and solid competitive gaming. Considering the depth and skill of the players online I highly recommend playing through the single player campaign first to get enough practice, experience, and familiarity of the game to actually enjoy this competitive portion of it. Otherwise you will be defeated quickly and curse that they are using hacks.
The game was originally released to critical acclaim on the Nintendo DS and as far as I can see it is the exact game, gameplay wise. The only changes are ascetic as they created completely new sprites and upgraded menus and other art for HD resolution. This game is an excellent port and a shining example of what any HD console port should be like. I don't necessarily enjoy challenging puzzles, however this game did a great job of easing me into its depth to enjoy the game. I never felt frustrated enough to quit playing. If you find yourself frustrated, stuck, or simply unable to beat a boss I have 3 tips. First check what level the quest is that you are trying to complete and if you are at least the same level or not. Second, think ahead a couple of turns to time when units will attack or for hitting moving targets. Lastly don't underestimate the power of making walls, if something is just destroying you, make 3 layers of walls even, you will be surprised how powerful they can be.
The Xbox Live Arcade version was reviewed.
Originally written for my blog.