Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes
If you stripped out Clash of Heroes' combat, you would be left with a fairly simplistic RPG
- Compelling combat system is straightforward but deep and complex, a novel approach to an established genre
- The visuals don't push the DS, gamers who favour the more classical RPG model may be dissatisfied
A real time strategy title for the DS that's not only good, but serves as a new iteration in a tried and true franchise? I think you can understand if we were sceptical. However Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is a finely crafted and novel venture into the handheld RTS genre.
If there's one gaming area where the DS's technology lends itself well, it's the puzzle genre. Due to Nintendo's touch-sensitive handheld, the genre has seen a massive resurgence, and no longer are gamers exclusively forced to listen to a Russian folk tune while spinning various blocks if they want to puzzle-it-up. However, gamers can only manipulate colored forms for so long before they start craving some action, and it's with that notion that Ubisoft created Clash of Heroes.
Field of Battle
If you stripped out Clash of Heroes' combat, you would be left with a fairly simplistic RPG; the world and exploration portions of this game are pretty minimal and that's putting it mildly. But once you get into the combat portions of the game, you start to understand why the focus has been placed elsewhere.
Clash of Heroes' combat thankfully ditches what has become an RPG cliche (turn-based fights after random encounters), in favor of what is most easily described as a strategic puzzle where you have to maneuver and lineup different varieties of army units to tactically overcome your opponent. The better you match you units up against your enemy's, the better you'll do. This might sound like a total mishmash of concepts but it works incredibly well, and the bare-bones exploration becomes a blessing because it lets you focus on what matters: the battles.
And really, the battles are excellent and are both easy to understand and execute; their complexity also evolves enough for the title to remain engaging throughout. In fact, the story and exploration portions of the game almost feel like a bonus, which just drives the player to be more interested in each ensuing battle.
It's becoming increasingly rare for companies to release new and unproven titles that buck convention and focus on changing the current landscape but Clash of Heroes does so remarkably well, making for a unique and satisfying title that feels totally fresh. I recommend it to any RPG gamer looking for a unique take on the established genre; puzzle fans should take a look as well.
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