Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Game Review - Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

Game Review - Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

Score +7/-5

In Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, you play as Sareth, an orphan destined to decide the fate of the world -- you will either keep demons locked away from the world, or free them to ravage it. Some of the backstory was told in the related turn-based strategy game Heroes of Might and Magic V, but left unresolved there.
This concept of demons held back by mystical forces is remarkably similar to the games Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

+ Combat is fast and furious, with hand-to-hand combat especially intense. First person games often have adversaries that have ridiculous staying power in the mid- to late- to provide a challenge for the player. Not so here. The mechanics available keep combat fast paced from start to finish. Special cinematic animations add to the visceral feel when you chop off limbs or grab someone from behind and stab them in the neck for an instant kill.
+ Stealth and fighting cleverly is supported as a mostly viable choice. You are at times practically encouraged to use cheap tactics against your opponents -- if you can discover them. Things which you expect to instantly kill someone -- like shooting them in the head and stabbing them in the neck typically work.
+ The artwork ranges from good to very good, especially if you can use hardware settings to exceed what the game is normally capable of.
+ The game is objective focussed and Skill Points are awarded for objectives completed. Killing everything doesn't help you, so Stealth is equally rewarded if you want to sneak past opponents.
+ The range of places you can run, jump, climb, crawl, and swim to is impressive. The level design encourages and rewards exploration. The ability to interact with objects in a reasonable way with practical results -- e.g., throwing barrels or making shelves collapse -- is also a nice feature to play with.
+ There are some very spectacular environments to see.
+ The story includes a compelling if simple reason if choose the "evil" route. More than simply hoping you will explore that, the story includes interactions and situations that evoke a range of emotional responses nudging you toward the "evil outcome" for reasons other than simply wanting to be "evil".

- The story / plot is itself quite short and straightforward. You unfortunately spend an unreasonable bulk of your time doing things completely unrelated to it except for the fact that you are looking for the exit to get from A to B.
- There are many skills you can develop, but they are not particulary well thought out. Many skills do very little or are practically useless compared to their cost and the availability of Skill Points in the game.
- Magic combat / playing a wizard is advertised in trailers but not really doable in-game due to how weak and restricted it is.
- The environment is implausibly stocked and dangerous. There are, for example, an extraordinary number of oil flasks with which to set foes alight, and racks of spikes you can kick or push an opponent into for an instant kill.
- In the late game, there are many potent magical treasures that are implausibly strewn about to make sure you are well-stocked.

No comments:

Post a Comment