Allow me to start this party by saying that me and Heroes of Might & Magic III have a history. We dated for a bit back in 1999, were hot and heavy for a spell, and then I left her for her ‘upgraded’ models (yes plural) over the years thus leaving her alone by the wayside. Think of me what you will, I wouldn’t say I’m proud of my actions back then. I was only 16, I was young and inexperienced; that’s no excuse though.
This was a time before LAN-parties. This meant me and my friends would start up a single game and switch after each of our turns (the dating analogy is over now you sickoes). This process would make a single venture take up to an entire day to finish. Barred no one complexly folded , in the first say 20 rounds, it would be officially on. For this reason, 16 year old Andrew played a tons of this game. This when an HD edition fell out of the sky and landed on my Steam lap, I absolutely had to revisit one of my first crushes.
Does the name Queen Catherine Ironfist trigger ancient childhood memories? You know, the human ruler with the long curly reddish hair and needlessly tight war pants? She’s on a quest to reunite her torn up homeland to re-conquer her rightful lands of the Kingdom of Erathia. This Heroes of Might & Magic III HD Edition has all seven of the campaigns from the original. Not a campaign person? There are also over 50 skirmish maps, local multiplayer, and a map editor – you know, to make completely unfair maps where you control armies of ghosts. Tell me that wasn’t just me?
When you start up scenario, you’re going to pick one a faction. This determines your initial heroes, castle, and creatures. I say initial because if you conquer another base, you’re going to gain access to whatever type that is. Do you keep your armies segregated or mix and match them? Angels and demons working together – mass hysteria! You have your base building, over world movement, and combat aspects. These three aspects make up your turn in this turn based game. You’ll only ever do something on someone else’s turn if they are attacking you. Each scenario will have different win conditions, but most the time it’s annihilating all your foes.
In the world map is where you’ll move your hero and creatures around to snag objectives, resources, defeat neutral monster camps, and bully your opponents. Combat is a hexagonal battlefield mixed with walking, flying, teleporting, melee, and ranged creatures. Find a faction that fits your playstyle and beat down those who stand in your path. The icon of a creature represents anywhere from 1 to hundreds of them. The larger the number, the stronger that unit is; then again, one dragon is going to be stronger than a few dozen peasants. This is all stuff you’ll pick up after your first few games. With multiple difficulty options, pick and choose where you stand.
Over all, the game has the same vibe as the 15 year-younger version. That said, it looks and plays way better due to the optimization, high definition, and the mere fact that we jumped in a time machine and are over a decade in the future. Since it’s HD, the graphics of the towns and creatures look tremendous, better than my nostalgic memory can even comprehend. The widescreen compatibility makes for just a better and more modern experience. Widescreen optimization is absolutely necessary feature that betters this edition as a whole. The fact that this game came out before the year 2000, modern computers crush the requirements and the game plays so incredibly smooth and fast.
For being HD though, the graphics during battles for instance didn’t blow me away. The world map still has the old look to it too. For those nostalgic players, this could be taken with a grain of salt and could even been seen as alluring. For those expecting a full on beautiful HD remake though, I could see this as a disappointment. Similarly, the main menu screen is a bare bone port of the earlier version. Its simplicity may downright shock you – a very similar experience to the Age of Mythology: Extended Edition if you’re familiar with that.
In every way, the Heroes of Might & Magic III HD Edition is better than its 15 year old predecessor. I foresee this game only really appealing to those who actually played the original though. Since there have been three games in the franchise released since Heroes of Might & Magic III’s original release in 1999, with another coming out this year, there are newer options available. Heroes of Might & Magic III HD Edition plays and looks exactly like a re-release of an older game, with some much needed optimizations. While that is a pretty obvious statement, it’s important as far as expectations go; it’s either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your desires. Sort of how there is a mix of regret and liberation after seeing an ex you haven’t seen in years.
Heroes of Might & Magic III HD Edition will be available on PC, iOS, and Android on January 29th.