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Heroes of Might & Magic II: The Succession Wars (PC) artwork

Heroes of Might & Magic II: The Succession Wars (PC) review

"In Heroes of Might and Magic 2, you play a hero, naturally. You have to save the kingdom from invading forces, blah blah blah, eat a pie, game over, you win."

Heroes of Might and Magic 2 is an odd game. It follows the same gameplay of Heroes and Might and Magic 1; this is not that odd however. What is odd is that the game manages to strip away all the fun elements of Heroes and Might and Magic 1 with an insane difficulty level.

In Heroes of Might and Magic 2, you play a hero, naturally. You have to save the kingdom from invading forces, blah blah blah, eat a pie, game over, you win. It's nothing that you haven't heard already. If you've played the first game, some of the characters are the same, and there are a few allusions to the past game. The story doesn't significantly help the game, which is essential in a strategy game.

Heroes of Might and Magic 2 does continue the unique gameplay of the first, which is a good thing. The game is a hybrid of two gaming genres - real time strategy and role playing, with a bit of castle simulation thrown in. You contol resources such as crystal, gold, and timber, as in a real time strategy game. However, the combat is reminiscent of role playing games, as you control each of your units in battle. Finally, your home base is a castle, which you can build up with various improvements.

The myriad of units available in Heroes and Might and Magic 2 is amazing. You can control over one hundred different types of units, ranging from skeletons to swordsmen to trolls to archers to gargoyles to imps to goblins to the all powerful black dragons. Each unit has specific attack and defense values, with advantages and disadvantages.

When you start the game, you get to choose which class your mian hero will be. Choose carefully; what class you pick directly controls what kind of infantry that you can recruit. Necromancers can control the undead, but a Knight can control noble warriors such as swordsmen.

Unfortunately, Heroes of Might and Magic 2 fails at all apsects of gameplay because of horrible balance. In the real time strategy aspects, it's far too easy to conquer mineral deposits and castles. It's too hard to defend ALL of your resources while still adquetely defending your castle. The computer, who usually starts out much stronger than you, is diabolical in its execution, and ruthlessly goes around conquering.

As for the roleplaying aspects, the character balance is once again awful. Necromancers are at a distinct advantage; for every character they kill, they get a skeleton. One skeleton is rather weak, but five to six hundred in one group is formidable.

The game simply isn't fun to play. You'll tear your hair out at the computer difficulty, which somehow starts out with 500 skeletons and 15 black dragons, and five or six types of resources. Winning seems to be based more on lucky breaks than anything else, even on the lowest difficulty settings. It creates a feeling of helplessness; it doesn't matter how well you build up or plan, the computer is just going to steam roll you anyways.

Graphically, Heroes of Might and Magic 2 is a bit above average. Everything is clean, clear, and bright, with colorful, almost cartoonish graphics. The animation is likewise superb, and adds to the (crappy) gameplay experience.

Musically, the game is stellear. It's mostly midis, with some digitalized speech thrown in. All of it is excellent, ranging from the dark necromancer music to the beautiful sounds of the orchestra as a battle starts.

Overall, Heroes of Might and Magic 2 looks extremely good on paper, but all the gameplay issues and difficulty kill any fun that can be achieved. Hardcore fans of the series will probably still play this game, but anyone else should look elsewhere.

sgreenwell's avatar
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)

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