Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes
Arkadyuti takes a look at Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes- Definitive Edition, a unique mix of puzzle, strategy and RPG from Dotemu and Capybara Games
Product Brand: DotEmu
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: $17.99
Product In-Stock: InStock
The glorious age of story-based games is back (or technically never went away). 2023 is seeing the release of some of the best story-based games after a long time. We’re seeing the resurrection of the old single-player formula that made video games evolve into the creative media that they are known for. Ubisoft is known for having a reputation when it comes to pushing out generic open-world titles that can’t compete with the rest of these awesome RPGs – so they reimagined one of their favorite turn-based strategy RPGs into a mobile-first hybrid. There is a fundamental change in the Might and Magic formula with the Clash of Heroes re-launch.
Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes Definitive Edition launched for the PS4, Xbox One, and Steam on 20th July 2023. The “strategy” game was developed by Capybara Games and published by DotEmu.
Clash of Ashan and Sheogh (Literally)
Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes takes us back to the beloved world of Ashan that most people know and love (or at least, they think they do). The game spins off a new world-ending tale that results from a demonic invasion of Ashan from Sheogh (the demonic underworld) which results in the total destruction of the universe. We see the various factions of Might and Magic Heroes V, but each with its own distinct heroes and villains. The center of the conflict revolved around the battle between humans and elves – that is the campaign I liked the most.
The writing in Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes derives heavily from Might and Magic Heroes V and tries to simplify things a lot to make it more accessible and comprehensible. This does reduce the depth of the intense storytelling from the core games, but it isn’t anything that I can’t live without.
The game’s multiplayer was dead even on the launch week for the remaster. This was surprising considering that players did like some of the puzzles offered by the original game. I found no players while searching for a game online. Strategy games never were the attention-seeking crowd in the video games market, but a game launching with deserted multiplayer lobbies doesn’t look good for Dotemu.
Heroes of Might and Magic : Connect Three
Unlike other games of the franchise, Clash of Heroes plays out slightly differently. Battles are played out in a puzzle-based format, with both players taking alternative turns. While the turn-based format isn’t anything new, the only thing different here is that players have to play Connect Three on a grid of random units instead of strategically planning out unit and attack movements. Only the last unit of any vertical ‘stack’ can be moved (sounds similar, doesn’t it), and a pile of three similar units needs to be made to conduct an “attack”.
Similarly, by making a horizontal ‘stack’ of three similar units, a wall is made which blocks enemy attacks. Both heroes have a health total at the start of battle, the aim is to reduce this health total to zero with successive attacks. If an attack is obstructed by enemy units, then the damage caused by the attack is reduced and the damaged units are removed from the board. It’s an alternating cycle of attacking defending and screaming at the board because your units were not aligned properly.
I had played many Heroes of Might and Magic, including the 5th iteration when the series was at its peak. Never was I so disappointed with the game’s mechanics as I was with Clash of Heroes. The board is almost always randomly filled, and the puzzle-like format is not something I like. I am a fan of all things strategy – where you have control over a majority of the things. The sheer randomness with which the board is populated (or repopulated after units disappear from the board following an attack or defense) is something that constantly got on my nerves while playing this game. Then again, this seemed to be targeted at a more casual audience – so if this does allow Ubisoft to bring in more players for the franchise I am cool with it. If I were given the opportunity to play an unpatched beta version of Might and Magic Heroes: VI and Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, I would still choose to play the former.
Balancing games with different factions is always difficult, and this game just shows how. Each faction has three types of units – Core, Elite, and Champion units. Balancing is done at each level (or at least assumed to be so – because that is exactly how I would have approached the problem). Necropolis (the undead faction) is ridiculously strong, packing decent stats with both Zombies and Skeletons – the Core units packing the bulk of the undead army. The Vampire is one of my favorite (yet annoying) Elite units – draining life from the enemy allows for games to be stalled until the Death Knight comes in for the final push.
At the same time, the faction which was thematically my favorite – the Academy (basically the Illuminati from the world of Ashan) – is possibly one of the weakest. With the exception of Gremlins, all other Core units are useless. None of the Champion units for the magical overlords come close to being remotely good. Behind the undead forces lie the demonic forces of Inferno from Sheogh. Sorcerers are probably one of the strongest anti-defensive Elite units in the game – they destroy enemy attack formations like anything. Hounds and Imps are quite the combo partners for demolishing the enemy’s board while ensuring your attacks hit the opponent.
The music for one of the best strategy franchises in the history of strategy games has been dumbed down to levels I have never even thought possible. I had a hard time recognizing the themes of the game. For most other people, it’s “just a dumbed down tone”, but for the players of the original games, it deals emotional damage to our fickle hearts.
The game’s graphics resemble other traditional mobile games in its sprite design. This seems to be done to keep the design as simplistic as possible to appeal to Android and iOS users, but this does make it unappealing to the older players. The overall graphics overhaul does make the sprites look slightly better – but that is it. I found little change in the overall design of the game – in fact, too little to pass off as a “remaster”.
Clash of Blunders
Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes is a black sheep for the franchise, choosing to elope with the genre of puzzles instead of being a part of the strategy genre like its many brothers and sisters. With that being said, the remaster does not add anything of value to the old game that you would be missing by not purchasing the game.
If you have an avid interest in puzzle games, and like something to kill some time in the office or when you’re sitting at home bored, this is definitely the way to go. Also, this looks and plays way better on a portable device like the Nintendo Switch or the Steam Deck – so that’s definitely one way to spice up the experience if you want to try out the game! For most other gamers who do not like the concept of “puzzles” in a video game, I’d ask them to steer clear of this release.
Final Rating: 40/100