A century after the tragic events of Might & Magic Heroes VI, that determined the heroic fate of a dynasty, Shades of Darkness recounts, in two original campaigns, pivotal moments in Ashan’s darker history that will define the future of a decadent underground people and decide the survival of the dying cult of the Spider Queen. Determine the fates of two legendary factions; the Dark Elves of Dungeon and the Necromancers of Necropolis.
Might & Magic Heroes VI Shades of Darkness and why you should play – text version:
Today we’re taking a look at Ubisoft’s latest addition to the rather massive Might & Magic Heroes VI which is already available to pre-order via steam and will doubt be the talking point amongst fans as the expansion has taken quite a while to surface. We’re specifically talking about the Shades of Darkness expansion which is set to offer a new storyline based on the Dark Elf linage.
Just a bit of back story, the might and Magic series started out as an FPS way back in the late 80s and was nurtured by 3do, but in 2003 Ubisoft bought the rights to the franchise and created their own vision of the game and its universe with the rise of Ashen which enabled the french based team Virtous to keep fans happy by not messing with the established lore, but to create their own mythology in keeping with the rest of the franchise. Shades of Darkness is just one of several expansions which have been expected of the series and continue the turn based strategic formula fans know and love.
Right, that’s the back story so what about the game itself. Well having little to no prior knowledge of the Might and Magic universe it’s perhaps difficult to talk about story specifics but what I can say as a gamer is that the fantasy styled turn based antics are pretty cool and quite welcoming for newcomers like myself. Having played games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Advance Wars, Vandal Hearts and such like – whilst different – it was easy to get the basics of the gameplay nailed fairly easily. naturally the game begins with an opening setting of the scene where the dark elves have some tough decisions to make before players embark on the opening tutorial missions.
This is actually quite a cool addition because it’s not taking for granted that players will be familiar with how the game works. So in this regard players can begin their adventures with this expansion if they so choose.
Playing the game is pretty simple to begin with, in fact the opening area strips away any of resource management found in other parts of the game, and simply allows players to roam the opening area taking on enemies and partaking in few quest objectives. I didn’t get too deeply into the story where no doubt my over powerful characters would be suitably challenge so in this regard the game doesn’t throw you into the deep end and let’s players get all comfortable first.
Please take a look at the opening 10 minute gameplay video to get a greater idea of how to play the game.
Naturally fans of the series will be chomping at the bit over this latest addition, although why should players not familiar jump in right now. Well as previously mentioned, the game is pretty easy to get into and works well with keyboard and mouse or just a mouse. There’s not loads of clutter and access to the various menu based facets is easy enough to navigate. Sure, there is a bit of learning involved, but as proven by myself, with little knowledge one can dive in fairly easily without becoming too embroiled in the lore or politics of the game.
As a turn based strategy game it’s got some depth to it to keep fans on their toes, but also is accessible enough to not become frustrating. Naturally beyond what I played, no doubt the games difficulty will ramp up especially considering this is not even the first expansion. Quite frankly, the game and its style is addictive, and whilst perhaps a bit repetitive does encourage players to invest time in leveling up characters to gain more skills and abilities.The expansion boasts two campaigns and a wealth of additions to keep fans sweet and new players equally engaged as I found the dialogue interesting and well performed and the graphics fine and dandy. Imagine as you will a game of chess but with excellently animated pieces and you get the idea of the game. As always there’s a multiplayer component on offer including a “Hot seat” mode which allows local players the chance to duke it out on one system, and a skirmish mode which players can replay to their hearts content whilst setting new parameters and trying different tactics.
Having spent some time with the game I can say that I’m eagerly looking forwards to Shades of Darkness and all its trimmings, and of course learning more about the Might & Magic universe. The expansion is available to pre-order via steam and will cost £19.99 in the UK and releases on May the 2nd.
Now venture forth with your wallets and prepare for the next fine adventure of Might & Magic Heroes VI.