With nothing to upload, download, input or purchase Ubisoft are taking the World of Might and Magic into a whole new realm as they expand the franchises empire with this latest online browser-based free to play title, Heroes of Might and Magic Kingdom’s
To say we were a little dubious of the motives at first is putting it mildly, as we all know how these types of ‘Free to Play’ titles usually operate. The initial installation may be free but once you get ever deeper embroiled into the game’s plot you soon discover that if you are to progress in the title with any modicum of proficiency and ability, then you must ‘upgrade’ your armies, cities, buildings and everything else that you come into contact with. The only drawback being that to do this requires that you have to use your credit card with which to supply the funds to make the necessary enhancements to your realm. These types of titles are described as ‘Free to Play,’ however the reality usually entails the hidden costs and surcharges placed upon the player for everything else other than the actual gameplay.
It is therefore with happy hearts and our faith in the online MMO system restored, that we can bring to you the news that with Ubisoft’s Might and Magic Kingdom’s that when they advertise their browser-based fantasy world RTS title as ‘Free to Play’ that with this title at least, that is exactly what you get. Don’t misunderstand us, there is the option to play with a small token fee, as yet this figure remains unconfirmed but we understand it to be around the £3.99 pcm, £7.95 for two months play or the fair better alternative of £9.99 per quarter. What the additional fee gives you, is complete unbridled access to the full experience, without the constraints of time and capacity limits being place upon your cities and Heroes. With the ‘Free-to-Play’ accounts you may only set off on your campaign with three heroes fighting out of three cities. With the option of increasing your Heroes and cities by one each every 8 weeks. This may seem like tying your hands, but when you remember that this is a ‘real-time’ strategy game, you will soon come to appreciate that the decisions, tasks and objectives that you set yourself in Might and Magic Kingdom all take time to come to fruition, and as such time will pass relatively quickly if you concentrate on completing all that is available to you within the three starting cities of your domination level.
We ourselves have accomplished much in our first 5 weeks of play within our realm and have only just taken on our third city. There is much to be done, many plan’s to be hatched and many battles to be fought all within the free-play game. Those that choose to pay the paltry sum for the full open experience, without the limit’s place upon on your armies and Heroes, will still be playing the same game at the same pace, only they will have the option to recruit more Heroes and conquer more cities should they choose to do so? What speaks well for the content of the free-play game, is that we have not chosen to access our fourth hero or city and we have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the action that we have experienced in Might and Magic Kingdom’s. In no way and at no time have we felt that we have been penalised for playing on the free account, nor has it detracted from our genuine enjoyment of Ubisoft’s cracking RTS title.
Might and Magic Kingdom’s is available as a Beta in the UK and EU and as such the date for its release for gamers in the US has not been confirmed, as yet. The game begins with you creating your Ubisoft account, if you do not have one? However you are also able to sign into the game using your Facebook log-in details. Once your account has been created you are then transported to the magical realm where you find yourself trapped inside the walls of your city. Besieged all around by enemy troops and monsters as you fight to regain control of your lands and your assets from the invading hordes.
Depending on which race you chose at the creation of your Might and Magic account affects the nature of your city and the troops with which you are supplied to bring about the turn of events that requires you to recapture your embattled mines and mill’s. We opted to fight as human’s, however other races are available to the player such as the demonic characters, but seeing as most of the staff here at GamesMediaPro Towers are fairly humanoid in make up and design we decided to stick with our own species and fly the flag for the good old Human Race instead.
The objective in Heroes Might and Magic Kingdom’s is a familiar one for online strategy players everywhere, in that you must strive to free your region first from the baying monsters and demons at your door and then rebuild your city and expand, thanks to campaigns of combat and diplomacy as you strive for Empirical dominion in your realm.
It is worth noticing that even though the rewards for charging headlong into warfare every time you come across any species not resembling your own, and some who do, may be great. There is also something to be said for taking up with other players and forming alliances and pacts. Sometimes the pen can truly be mightier than the sword, and instead of just ploughing into battle against your neighbour it may well be worth taking the time to compose a message offering the hand of friendship to him or her as an alternative? Not only will you find that you have an ally to call on in times of need, should another questing tyrant come knocking on your door for a round of fisticuffs? But also you are then able to form trade routes and assist each other in the all important tasks of building, maintaining and upgrading your city and its surrounding region.
There is so much to do and so much to be aware of in Might and Magic Kingdom’s that if you are like us, and have your PC on throughout most of the day? Then it is well worth just opening up another tab and leaving your world to get on with the tasks that you have set it as you go about your daily work, checking back occasionally to watch over troop movements, recruiting events, caravan imports and exports, building upgrades, battles and so on and the like. The list of things to do is almost as long as the possibilities themselves in Might and Magic Kingdom’s and for that we commend the developers’ attention to detail for making the game so rich in content.
Never usually being the one for any kind of strategy based game, whether it be real-time or any other format? I was not to enamoured at the prospect of reviewing Might and Magic Kingdom’s if the truth be told? So if you want to know just how much this game has got under my skin and how good it is? Take a look at the game yourself and you will find the GiMP Empire still standing strong and making more friends than enemies. Which is another point that I wanted to bring up. Unlike other online games which just lump you all together in a team and force you to act as a unit, Might and Magic actually encourages you to seek out other like-minded individuals and to form long-lasting online friendships as the game time for this title is limitless. So genuine friendships can be forged here in Might and Magic due to the nature of the games construction by the developers at Ubisoft. It is one area that we see overlooked by most, however we just wanted to point out the genius of the concept if you are to form long-lasting alliances in a game that is based on you making far-reaching decisions that will affect your game for weeks if not months into the future.
Of course there are also going to be times when diplomacy just will not cut the mustard, and it is at times like these that it is best to have upgraded your cities and mines to their optimum performance, so that you will have recruited the most amount of infantry, conscripts, marksmen, archers, squires and every other kind of troop you can imagine from Griffin’s to Priest’s and Dark Wizard’s. All of which form the basis of your attacking or defending force. There are also different troop selections for those players who elected to take on the role of a more demonic main character. Everything from Cerberus and hell-hound’s are at your disposal with quite a few other choice selection’s being included to boost your ranks also.
Troop’s and building themselves can be upgraded, as can the heroes too. You will learn that after constructing your city tavern that it is from here that you can recruit the services of heroes to command your troops. It is these same heroes who form the backbone of your armies as they carry the upgrades with which all the difference can be made between getting severely trounced by your adversary, or walking away from the battlefield unscathed and having not only taking the rival’s scalp, but most of his troop’s in bounty as well.
There are also plenty of opportunities to go scouting your surrounding area and even to go spying on your neighbours troop movements and defences in preparation for a spot of pillaging if that be your wont? However be aware that ‘newbie’s‘ and the like cannot be taken advantage of by a far superior force for a quick gain of assets and XP as they are protected by the ‘Newbie‘ shield that makes it impossible to launch an assault on newcomers to the game.
There are also in-game objectives to be considered in the form of bonus zones that house such delights as the Dwarven Treasury, a building that will increase your Empires income by 5%,. There are also Learning Stones that give XP bonuses and many other hidden area’s and zones for the player to explore and conquer.
The quality of the graphics make it easy on the eye without the title being bathed in garish colours and nightmarish hues designed by a fantasy world novice. Ubisoft have created a pleasant environment that sees even the it’s World Map being beautifully presented. No squinting of the eyes here to see insignificant dot’s on a luminous background of Goblin-bothering insignificance. The title offers quality images on all its pages and screens that have beautifully crafted stills and load screens.
Bearing in mind also that this is a title that is still in development is made even more impressive by the fact that we have been playing this title for well over a month now and have had not one single solitary issue with crashes, freezes, servers or anything else that you could care to think of?
So to the nay-sayers and whingers who clamour for any excuse to pull a title to pieces to make their review look appealing? Well, I’m sorry to say but your point is rendered moot. Magic and Might Kingdom’s is a fine example of online RTS strategy based gameplay. Add to that the fact that it plays as well as most of the other RTS titles out there, but that this game is ‘free’, and you kind of have the ideal situation if RTS games are your ‘thing?’
Graphics: Solid renders that make for easy viewing on even the most detailed of maps and screens that leave you without the thumping headaches and eye strain of other titles in the genre. The load screens are pleasant with nicely depicted scenes and characters from the game, and the region’s themselves are brought to life by the hand of the Ubisoft designers. 7
Gameplay: Take it from one who is most definitely not your regular RTS player that if Might and Magic Kingdom’s can keep me playing it for over a month now, and to the point where it is always on in the background as I’m working? Then I think that you have the answer to your question right there? 8
RePlay Value: Quite simply put? Not applicable. Might and Magic Kingdom’s is so immense a title that quite possibly you will be leaving your hardrive to your children in your will. 8
Presentation: Just imagine for a moment that you are an RTS gamer who loves nothing more than planning the far-reaching kind of strategies that are on offer to you in Might and Magic Kingdom’s. Then add to that everything I have just said to you in the review. Now mix in the fact that this title is ‘Free!’ What more could you ask for in a quality RTS title? Being that I have only ever played 3 RTS titles and this one is still on even as I type this review, which one do you think I would endorse? Ubisoft have managed to bring to the table, a top quality strategy game with gameplay so in-depth and compulsive that can highly recommend the title to anyone who wishes to take up the controls of an RTS for the first time. A really cracking game. 8