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drfnord
10-04-2015, 09:49 AM
Before buying this game, you have to understand the state it is in. Things not to expect,
- Animated cutscenes
- UI with decent usability
- Character models worthy of 2015
- Character animations worthy of 2015
- Progressive campaign
- Character customization during campaign

What needs improvement
Cutscenes are "animated", but show frozen models, with speech laid on top.

Using the game feels clunky, you will often accidentally stop your hero midstride because you accidentally clicked twice on the target, when you should have clicked once. Or your hero doesn't move, becuase you should have clicked twice when you clicked once.

It doesn't seem that there has been a User Experience designer involved in the development of this game, there are too many basic usability issues. Such as that you can't bring up a town screen by clicking on a town. It took me nearly 10 minutes to figure out that you need to double click the little town name on the bottom left to do that. Ridiculous. That's just one example, expect a lot more like that.

The character models and animations certainly look dated, and many look like they are reused directly from Hereoes VI. Most of the time, you'll notice that Heroes VI had much better character models though. Models are small in battles, so you don't see the details (maybe this is for the best, as the details are not that great). The entire game has a washed, grainy feel to it that takes away from the "Heroes feel". Heroes should be lush, with powerful colors, to immerse you into this fantasy world with its multitude of colorful, odd beings. This is not the case. You get sort of the same feel as when opening a spreadsheet or something. The delightfulness is clearly missing. There's a sparse, somewhat empty feeling to it.

The animations are clearly a step down from Heroes VI. For example, the Centurion will bash his shield at the opponent, then stick his spear in it, and only about half a second after BOTH attacks are completed does the target react and make some kind of motion. Not immmersive.

The campaign is not progressive. I. e., it doesn't build a story for you to follow, but rather it's just a few short stories that you can play through in any order you want. Personally, I would be fine with this, if everything else had been good.

Same with character customization, you start out with predesigned characters, sometimes at level 0, for other scenarios at level 30, which may annoy some people, but would have been fine if the game was otherwise up to snuff. Of course it isn't. At this point, you get the feeling that Heroes is like an abandoned kid, crying in a mall, while his alcoholic uncle, who has custody, is off robbing a liquor store.


Whats good
The good things are: It's a new installment of Heroes! For people like me, who grew up with it and love it, this is great. The maps have depth to them visually, which is fun. Castles can be in valleys and so on (but the washed out, derelect feeling that I mentioned earlier detracts from this). Skills feel slightly more useful than in the last Heroes. They've taken some time to groom the skill set. On the other hand, it's not the glory that was Heroes V.


Bottom line
If you're fine with all this, then this game might be for you. The truth is however, that Ubisoft again is trying to get away with minimum effort. What I don't get is, do these people take no pride in what they do? Does it feel good to crank out one half-assed effort after another? Is it a matter of competence, do they not have the right people? Is everyone working on the game too junior? Or is it a conscious strategy from the management?

Don't they want praise from the fans? Why aren't they creating it with "game of the year" firmly fixed in their minds? I simply don't get how someone could be satisfied with creating something with this level of indifference. That can't be a satisfying way to live your life. If you don't like the series, for ****s sake, sell it to some studio who DOES love it.

It comes down to this: those who grow up with this game now, as I grew up with the original series, are NOT going to love it. It is not loved by its developers, and that transmits through to us, loud and clear.

Wintermist
10-04-2015, 10:02 AM
Going to jump in on the story, which I personally felt was the best one yet. Yeah, it's subjective of course. The story is actually about Ivan and how he is listening to his advisors trying to decide how to handle the war. They all tell their stories from the history of their faction to give Ivan some perspective before deciding how to proceed.

These stories do build up from easy to harder, for each faction, as in every faction starts easier then builds up to harder. This is because you CAN play them in any order, but there IS a timeline you can follow, as shown up top of the campaign table. I remember in the previous title they didn't tell you which chronological order they should be played in, they eventually told you the order in a post.

As he said the talk around that table isn't animated characters, they do change expressions and poses and the camera moves around in a cinematic way, probably the goal was for it to feel artistic. It worked for me well enough.

There will be shorter CGI once you start or end a campaign mission so it's not without those, they're not all that long though for the most part.

I played them all in order and I felt it very coherent and making sense.

So there, that's my take on the storyline.

kerbner
10-04-2015, 10:09 AM
Personally I care less about the campaign.
Yes the frozen characters on cutscenes look very cheap but I really don't care.
The only thing I expect about this game, aside of the obvious stability, is a good editor and RMG for replayablity.
Right now, the game is very unstable (crashes, eats up all memory) and the RMG is pretty bad.
If they could improve both the game would be perfect in my eyes.

PaleAle2012
10-04-2015, 11:24 AM
Don't care for cutscenes & campaigns, & I'm happy with the graphics however it does look washed out & could do with a bit of saturation, install some colour gamut sliders or something Limbic.

SUCKYSUCK_
10-04-2015, 11:33 AM
You forgot smth important. The multiplayer doesnt even work :D

GalaadleHaut
10-04-2015, 11:33 AM
For people like me, who grew up with it and love it, this is great.
I'm sorry but for people like me who grew up with it and love it, this is terrible.

drfnord
10-04-2015, 11:36 AM
I'm sorry but for people like me who grew up with it and love it, this is terrible.

Agreed. What I meant is, for someone who grew up with Heroes, it's great that they're releasing a new Heroes. The state of it is not great. Also, the punchline at the bottom of the review should clarify what I meant.

GalaadleHaut
10-04-2015, 11:56 AM
Oh ok I misunderstood. Well even so, I don't know man, I was one of the more hyped when the game was first being advertised last year, then I was part of the most vocal ones, pointing out mistakes, suggesting ways to make it right, promoting suggestions done by others I found to be insightful. Fully ignored, dismissed, they wouldn't even postpone the release date. I consider this game to be broke at its core, the whole design philosophy and approach from the Team is VERY wrong IMO. I think Ubisoft has been butchering this series for too long. I'm sad, really. It has come to the point I'm not sure it's good a new "Heroes" game is being released when it disgraces the series so much. Again IMO.

PaleAle2012
10-04-2015, 11:59 AM
Don't want to derail but out of 5 & 6 which one plays more like HoMM3

drfnord
10-04-2015, 01:31 PM
Oh ok I misunderstood. Well even so, I don't know man, I was one of the more hyped when the game was first being advertised last year, then I was part of the most vocal ones, pointing out mistakes, suggesting ways to make it right, promoting suggestions done by others I found to be insightful. Fully ignored, dismissed, they wouldn't even postpone the release date. I consider this game to be broke at its core, the whole design philosophy and approach from the Team is VERY wrong IMO. I think Ubisoft has been butchering this series for too long. I'm sad, really. It has come to the point I'm not sure it's good a new "Heroes" game is being released when it disgraces the series so much. Again IMO.
No I agree, I'm very disappointed as well. I hope that someone, somewhere starts to understand that the way they are treating this franchise is a huge disservice to everyone, including themselves. I can't imagine that they are happy with the response. It's impossible to know what's really going on for them as well, they're simply not transparent enough for me to understand whether this is a huge miscalculation on their part, whether it's due to lack of resources or funding, lack of skill on part of the developers, or somehow a conscious strategy to position Ubisoft as a brand that gamers associate with indifference and mediocrity. All in all, it doesn't make sense.

DocMcJansen1
10-04-2015, 01:40 PM
You forgot smth important. The multiplayer doesnt even work :D


THIS!

This is one of the major letdowns for me...I veeeery rarely play those games (HOMM, AoW, Disciples etc...) alone...I ONLY bought it for the multiplayer part...so along with all the obvious gamebreaking bugs this annoys me the most! And the more because HOMM 6 already had problems with multiplayer...as Anno..why is it always with ubisoft games?!

KaynaCrous
10-04-2015, 01:43 PM
.why is it always with ubisoft games?!

Indeed, multiplayer is also what interests me the most. Ubisoft is a really cheap company. Simple. What amazes me the most is that multiplayer is WHERE THE $ IS AT! A good multiplayer means more people will buy it, and less people will torrent it! And yet, Ubisoft still doesn't pay a good enough technical team to fix it. Ubisoft always put the money on graphic and not on programmers.

drfnord
10-04-2015, 01:43 PM
Don't want to derail but out of 5 & 6 which one plays more like HoMM3
I'd probably say 5.

While we're off topic, I'd like to give a shout-out to Endless Legend (http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/endless-legend) for anyone who hasn't discovered it. It doesn't play like HoMM exactly, but it's a great strategy game in roughly the same category, and it's polished in every way that this game isn't.

drfnord
10-04-2015, 01:46 PM
Indeed, multiplayer is also what interests me the most. Ubisoft is a really cheap company. Simple. What amazes me the most is that multiplayer is WHERE THE $ IS AT! A good multiplayer means more people will buy it, and less people will torrent it! And yet, Ubisoft still doesn't pay a good enough technical team to fix it. Ubisoft always put the money on graphic and not on programmers.
I understand that the multiplayer issue is very important to many, and it sure is. For me, I want a solid single-player experience to start with. I won't be doing multiplayer if the base game isn't good enough to begin with.

kohzh
10-05-2015, 03:18 AM
Re:

It doesn't seem that there has been a User Experience designer involved in the development of this game, there are too many basic usability issues. Such as that you can't bring up a town screen by clicking on a town. It took me nearly 10 minutes to figure out that you need to double click the little town name on the bottom left to do that. Ridiculous. That's just one example, expect a lot more like that.

You can open the town screen immediately by clicking on the building icon at the right of each town entry in the list of town... (whereas clicking on the title centers the map on the town).

drfnord
10-05-2015, 11:19 AM
You can open the town screen immediately by clicking on the building icon at the right of each town entry in the list of town... (whereas clicking on the title centers the map on the town).
Thanks :-) Yes, I figured it out after a while. This is one of those things that changed from all previous games, so I was quite baffled for a bit.

sobaka770
10-05-2015, 11:25 AM
Thanks :-) Yes, I figured it out after a while. This is one of those things that changed from all previous games, so I was quite baffled for a bit.

Pro-tip: Actually, you can double click on the FLAG above the town. (I only know from dev stream where they said it as too difficult to implement clicking on castle to enter and clicking on castle to route the hero - figures...)