Might & Magic X: Legacy is a throwback to an era long past and tries to put a modern day spin on it. At the end of the day, this ends up being M&M’s biggest strength as well as causing more than it’s fair share of issues. The question is, are the issues worth working through?
For those unfamiliar, Might & Magic is a fantasy style RPG series that has been around for nearly thirty years. The series has spawned the arguably more popular side series “Heroes of Might & Magic,” which has also seen new games on a regular basis. Rights to the series were acquired by Ubisoft following the downfall of 3DO in 2003 and this is the first game in the main series to come out since then. Might & Magic X: Legacy is a PC exclusive addition to the franchise that is an uncompromising look at a style of game not often seen. The first person grid based movement system was originally a development constraint during the late 80’s and 90’s and with the dawn of 3D games has rapidly declined, the most commonly sighted other example is Legend of Grimrock.
Might & Magic X: Legacy shows us some of the nostalgia worthy moments of the past as well as giving us a reminder as to why we’ve moved on to greener pastures.
The first thing I noticed, aside from mandatory U-Play integration; was the incredibly open party creation system. You’re told to assemble a party of four and given 4 different races each with 3 different classes to choose from. They all follow the same Might, Magic, and Hybrid format but it’s nice to have the option to make the party that you really want to. The only thing that you cannot really control if how your character looks, you have two male and two female faces to choose from and no control over anything else aesthetic wise. On my first playthrough I settled for a party with a Dwarf tank, Elf Druid, Elf Archer, And Human Melee. Little did I know, I had already doomed myself to failure.
Herein lies what one of my biggest problems with Might and Magic X: Legacy, the punishing difficulty even on the lowest setting. As someone who had not played much of previous games in the series I set it to adventurer mode which the game describes as a good balance of challenge. Once you’re out of the tutorial you’re told to go restart the local lighthouse which has been invaded by some enemies, sounds simple enough right? The next two hours of your life will be spent in virtual hell if you didn’t make an up to snuff party during creation. Fast forward two hours of getting killed by the same boss and I see online that my party is doomed, multiple forum topics saying that archers are pretty much useless early on because all combat takes place in close range. I create an “Ideal” party to try to make it through the first dungeon and off I go. Admittedly, everything was much easier with a more well balanced party, the boss however was very difficult and I had to potion spam and have some good luck on my side. As I got him to his final sliver of health I encountered something else that I would become quite familiar with.
The Glitches. Doors not appearing, bosses shoving you through solid stone pillars off of buildings, walls and floors not rendering, etc. There’s nothing worse than nearly clearing out a difficult area and having the game crash or getting bugged into dying at the end of an encounter.It’s stuff you really don’t expect when you see a triple A publisher such as Ubisoft standing behind a well established franchise. This is all easily fixed via patches down the road but it’s still rather odd to experience it at all let alone with the frequency I did.
All the said and done, when the game works and the engine doesn’t trip over itself it’s a very enjoyable experience. Balancing the skill point distribution and where you spend your money to improve your party adds a layer of depth and open ended gameplay rarely seen in games today. It makes it far easier to mess things up to an irreparable point as well as making it oh so satisfying when you actually get it right. The feeling when you walk into a dungeon well equipped and fully buffed and waltz through a battalion of bandits is a feeling not often felt in games today.
There’s storyline is the typical fantasy fare. Drama in the kingdom, bandits raiding villages, militant factions raiding areas to spread their message. It’s all the normal stuff but it’s enjoyable and it gives you a reason to venture into the wilderness and stumble upon some humorous easter eggs. The exterior world is very bright and colorful in addition to being well rendered. It’s not going to turn any heads but Might and Magic X: Legacy does a well enough job of crafting a believable fantasy world to spend many hours in. The voice acting is serviceable with your party occasionally chiming in to talk about various conditions they’re suffering from or the area that you’re in.
Might and Magic X: Legacy isn’t going to blow you away with graphical prowess or wow you with an amazing story. Nor, will it hold your hand in the way gamers today are accustomed to. It seems as though Might and Magic X: Legacy was developed to be a AAA title but didn’t have the budget to quite make it to that status. However, if you’re looking for a brutally difficult trip to an era long forgotten and often ill-remembered you could do a lot worse than Might and Magic X: Legacy.