First impressions

This topic contains 18 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Keng 3 years, 1 month ago.

Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
  • Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1002

    I’ve yet to dive into Heroes of Might & Magic myself, but I have been playing tons of HOMM2 lately. The games are quite similar, I think.

    The first thing that struck me when I first played these games was that exploring the map is really great. There are so many cool things to discover and all the details and explanations make it really interesting to check out.

    The UI inside the towns is a bit weird maybe, as you have to hover over different parts of what looks like a seamless bitmap to interact with different parts. I think this sort of UI was more common at the time than it is now maybe.

    Also, we have to talk about the animations during the battles, because… hahaha, those are just hilarious. I really love the little sound effects that go with them as well, haha.

    But I think the true strength of this games is not on the surface at all. When the first impressions are behind you and you’ve played for a while, that’s when it really gets interesting. I think the strategy part of the game is quite well executed and the AI isn’t too terrible either, so it’s really a nice challenge and something you can easily spend a weekend with. And believe me, I’ve spent more than a few weekends playing this πŸ˜€

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1017

    I’ve played a lot over the past few days. The game is extremely similar to HOMM2 (which I’ve played a lot before), but there are some key differences.

    The AI seems to be pretty aggressive and most of the maps allow fairly access to your starting city, which means that leaving it unguarded is quite dangerous. This means you can’t grow too quickly, or you will spread your resources too thin and you’ll end up unable to defend your kingdom.

    The battle field is a lot smaller than later games and it’s a bit unclear how the underlying grid works exactly. You just have to move your cursor around and guess where you can go, which is not the greatest UX. I did get used to it however and it works reasonably well.

    What’s really different is how magic works. There is no mana and instead the magic towers produce spells each week which your hero can collect when he visits town. So instead of running out of mana, you actually run out of certain spells. This makes me quite hesitant to use magic at all, because depending on a spell means I can’t use that spell in the future. It really becomes more of a last resort for me.

    There are no monster upgrades, but there are more monsters types than there are slots, so you have to decide which units to bring along, just like in later games.

    All in all this games has all the basic foundation in place on which the later games are based and it all works reasonably well. The game never crashed on me and I didn’t encounter any bugs or anything. It’s not as polished or feature rich as I’m used to, but still very very enjoyable to play!

    kdrnic
    kdrnic
    Participant
    #1022

    With the town UI, I wish there was an option to automatically recruit certain units as they are ready. It would help the late game

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1024

    Yeah, I think they improved this in later editions, where you can recruit all available units more easily.

    But to be honest, I rarely have enough money to buy large amounts of units anyway.

    rnlf
    rnlf
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1026

    Played for the first time now and after I started understanding the game, it got really good!

    It’s way less micromanagement than some other 4X style games I played (and love). The exploration is real fun and there are lots of things to discover, though I imagine the stuff you discover will get old relatively quickly.

    I think the graphics work pretty well, except for one or two unit sprites in the battle screen, which are horrible. Also, what’s going on with unit walking backwards in battle πŸ˜€

    At the moment I’m missing the depth of games like MoO a bit, but it also means there’s more action.

    As I mentioned in chat, the game feels older than it actually is. Comparing how smooth other games from 1995 play, this feels a bit less sophisticated. But it might just be caused by the turn based nature which makes stuff feel less dynamic.

    kdrnic
    kdrnic
    Participant
    #1030

    This blogger talks about his memories of HoMM, throughout games I to IV. He touches the topic of the art style well.

    IMO the apogee of the art seems to be II, which improves over I. The graphics in III seem to look great in the world map, but in the battle screen they look copy-pasted together, and the background doesn’t really fit. Plus, the shading was softer in I and II, meanwhile in III it is clear that the left side army has shadows in one direction and the other side has shadows in the other.

    It seems HoMM II has the same art director, but different artists.

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1031

    Yeah, I like HOMM2 the most as well. Some of the graphics are copied over from 1, but they’ve replaced the worst ones with new, crisp, good looking images. And from HOMM2 on, the hero is on the battlefield, instead of that weird tent. What’s up with the tent? Are they carrying the tent at all times? Is that where they sleep?

    rnlf
    rnlf
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1032

    Why don’t the heroes intervene in the battle at all?
    What’s the point of having a Knight Hero if said Knight doesn’t knight?

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1033

    He’s err… managing the situation.

    DavidN
    DavidN
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #1037

    The project manager, with the underlings doing the actual work πŸ™‚

    I knew roughly what this game was going to be like because I’d played Heroes of Might and Magic 3 many years ago, from a CD borrowed from someone. My overall impression was that I hated it – my primary memory is of fumbling around, entering combat, the computer declaring I had no morale and skipping all my turns, and then having its units slaughter me instantly!

    So I started HOMAM1 up this evening and to be frank my first impression was “Oh my god what on earth is going on”. The art style is very, very busy, with a veritable avalanche of things going on on-screen even when you start a scenario (the grainy look of the terrain contributes to that, along with the bold lines of the sprites) – the view and lack of labelling on the buttons contribute to make something that looks incomprehensible.

    Fortunately the manual is generous enough to provide a tutorial, although it cuts off just when you’re about to find your feet – http://replacementdocs.com/download.php?view.538 . With its help, I was able to just about understand what I was meant to be doing – there definitely seems to be a lot to discover, and even the combat doesn’t seem as insurmountable as it once was. I think that one of the major things that it explained was to get into the habit of holding down the right mouse button on things to get more information – in a modern UI, this would just be done by hovering, and that action hadn’t occurred to me.

    I definitely agree with a few comments above – the combat grid is very vague and it’s unclear where units are standing, partly due to their different sizes… on that subject, the unit graphics are just all over the place and look like they’ve been drawn by at least two separate artists without fully agreeing on a style. That, along with the odd collection of sound effects, reminds me of early independent games which just used whatever sprites and WAV files they found lying around πŸ™‚

    I think tonight I’ll do something very nostalgic, and read the manual in bed – I used to do that with all my DOS games in the early 90s, because reading them was so vital to discovering things that weren’t made obvious by the game itself!

    DavidN
    DavidN
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #1038

    Additional note regarding the sound – I honestly wandered around my house trying to work out why the heating was making a distressing noise until I realized it was the bizarre “wind” sound effect in the background of the game! It’s so repetitive and mechanical…

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1039

    Haha, yeah the noise that’s added to the background for “ambience” is very odd indeed. There’s some talk about that subject in the music thread as well.

    I really like the idea of reading such a manual in bed by the way!

    toasty
    toasty
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #1063

    I’m a bit late to the party but heck I love this game! There have been plenty of highlights so far but the most striking at first was the combat system: part chess, part RTS and part some other magical ingredient, it obviously allows some really deep strategy and I can’t wait for more.
    The art and music haven’t bothered me at all: I actually think both are very nice. On reflection I think both are reminiscent of Colonization; in particular the style of town UI will be familiar to anyone who has played that game, even down to the troop arrangement at the bottom.

    Overall I’m happily impressed (and slightly addicted). Great choice! πŸ™‚

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1064

    Everyone’s a fan \o/

    dollarone
    dollarone
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #1068

    OK I’m addicted now. Found some cool stuff on the Internet(TM):

    Different garbs depending on colour: http://www.heroesofmightandmagic.com/heroes1/garbs.shtml

    Stats and explanation of gameplay elements:
    http://www.h1.acidcave.net/heroes.html

    Tijn
    Tijn
    Keymaster
    Podcaster
    #1070

    Woah, seriously? There’s a different banner for each colour/class combo? Damn!

    dr_st
    dr_st
    Participant
    #1077

    I think that in the first 3 games in the HoM&M series, it really makes sense to start playing them in order. Each game introduces extra complexity to the elements it takes from the previous one. Starting with HoM&M 3 would overwhelm a lot of players (unless they already have experience with similar games).

    Heck, I’ve played the first two games a lot, and HoM&M 3 still overwhelmed me. I never grew as fond of it as most seem to be. I think it’s because in my nature I prefer games that are somewhat confined, rather than those that seem infinitely expandable.

    The first game is a bit too confined. There really is only so much you can do. The second adds a lot more things, which increase depth and the number of available strategies, and the third takes it a little bit too far, in my opinion.

    DavidN
    DavidN
    Participant
    Podcaster
    #1081

    That Acidcave site is incredibly informative! (I was hoping for more detailed campaign strategies, but the conversations are cute too πŸ™‚ ) I love reading about the in-depth quirks of games like this – the battle system has more nuances than “move and stab” the more I look at it, with some units being less mobile because they’re large and cumbersome, and ranged units being unable to fire if there’s an enemy next to them – it makes positioning and the order of your units on the map all the more important.

    And it’s great when makers of a game go above and beyond what’s necessary – there’s no reason at all to have drawn a separate banner for every single combination like that, but it gives a lot of flavour πŸ™‚ (I’d also have liked more distinct looks for the heroes rather than just one per class, but often the amount of memory you take up with extra sprites is a concern for DOS games of this era).


    Keng
    Participant
    #1101

    The Heroes of Might and Magic series is one of my favorites. I just found this forum, but coincidently I played the Original HOMM over the Holidays. I am part way through HOMM2, but have taken a break and am playing the first Might and Magic game. Having played the newer HOMMs, I found the first somewhat limited, but still enjoyable. HOMM2 is MUCH bigger and more difficult. My favorite of the series was HOMM4. I remember playing and replaying that for a long time.

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