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    Might & Magic Heroes VII: A fresh and familiar take on turn-based fare

    The Heroes of Might & Magic series has undergone big changes since it started making many waves on the PC scene with classics like Heroes of Might & Magic 2 and 3 many years ago. After getting some hands-on time with the upcoming Might & Magic Heroes VII, I’m happy to say that the much-lauded third entry is a significant source of inspiration for the game, and could give this turn-based strategy series a much-needed boost in the modern age.

    Many of the classic factions like Haven, Academy, Necropolis, Stronghold, Sylvan, and Dungeon factions are available to play in the base game. As with other titles in the series, your heroes are generally might or magic focused. Players must build up armies of minions and explore the map, picking up resources and engaging in battle with various NPCs and other players.

    My Haven vs. Haven multiplayer matchup gave me a good sense of what Limbic is trying to do in terms of competitive multiplayer. With smaller maps driving more intimate encounters, games take significantly less time to play out. This is a major boon for the series and is a stark contrast to the hefty maps that could take days to finish in previous entries. Not all the multiplayer maps are constructed in this fashion, but those that are should allow players looking for fast matches to punch out games in a reasonable chunk of time, especially in one-on-one battles.

    Structure building should be familiar to series vets, following the well-worn template of building up city halls for additional income and creating/upgrading troop-spawning buildings. The wide selection here allows players not only to focus on building up mage guilds for new spells and resource-producing buildings, but allowing for “one-of-two” choices delving down specific upgrade paths to boost and amplify the units of their choosing. Might & Magic Heroes VII also introduces a new feature called the caravan, which is a godsend for players like me that like to focus on a single hero while roaming around the map. The caravan allows you to taxi units to and from your cities, so you don’t need to make a “hero mule” to bring your active/main hero units and supplies. This is a welcome addition.

    The game features a single-player campaign mode as well. Players have the opportunity to tackle campaigns for each faction, leading up to a final campaign where they can use the resources, heroes, and other perks acquired in the other campaign modules. You can access the final campaign after completing just two campaigns, but if you’re looking to get extra advantages to take the edge off the challenging final confrontation, you should complete all the various faction campaigns first.

    As a huge fan of older Heroes of Might & Magic titles, I’m eager to see if Might & Magic Heroes VII can reinvigorate my love for the franchise when it hits later this year. So far, the improvements seem promising.

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