Jahanzeb Khan
15 Feb, 2010

Might & Magic Clash of Heroes Review

DS Review | Might & Magic goes to Japan.
Dragon Quest, Phantasy Star, Shin Megami Tensei and Final Fantasy are some of the longest running RPG series of all time, and they all made their debut in the 1980s. It’s interesting to note that it’s mainly these Japanese RPGs that have survived this long. In the Western RPG world, you have one such example: Might & Magic. The series has been around for a very long time and has made its way on the Nintendo DS, in the form of Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes.

The first thing that is going to strike gamers about Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is the new look. Gone is the traditional Western RPG art style that emphasised realism and manly looking warriors. Instead the game features Japanese anime style art and character designs. The anime art isn’t particularly well done but it does give the game a strong Japanese RPG vibe.

The game's story is not really compelling or epic, but it deserves kudos for being nicely delivered with some decent characters. The plot of the game revolves around demons trying to take over the world of Ashan. These Demons are under the influence of a dark lord, who wishes to acquire a powerful weapon called the ‘Blade of Binding’. All the kingdoms and nations of Ashan get caught up in this act, either by being attacked by demons or being manipulated to fight among themselves. Now, it is up to five young heroes to take action and determine the fate of their world.

Might & Magic: The Anime.

Might & Magic: The Anime.

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes features five playable heroes, with each having their own unique campaign taking place at unique locations and featuring a different set of troops and enemies. You will progress from one hero to the next, with each bringing something a little different to the plate, in terms of the unit types and special skills.

The game features a simple but serviceable RPG-style world in which you travel from one node to the next. It’s not the most detailed and immersive in-game world you will venture into, but it still covers all the essential elements such as puzzles, side quests, surprise enemy encounters and normal town folk to chat with. Overall, the RPG world serves as a decent vessel for what the game is really about - the battle system.

The battle system of Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes features a mix of colour matching puzzle mechanics and turn-based RPG systems. The action takes place on both screens of the DS; your troops occupy the bottom screen while the enemy troops occupy the top screen. The main idea is to line up units of the same colour and class in order to launch a proper defence and/or offensive. Lining up units vertically will initiate an attack, while doing so horizontally will create a shield/wall. This colour puzzle aspect adds the dimension of creating chains, mergers and combos of the same colour. Furthermore, there is a turn-based aspect, as you are restricted to a limited number of actions per turn. These actions include moving units around, summoning units and even removing units.

An addictive puzzle RPG.

An addictive puzzle RPG.

There are three main types of units; core units which are unlimited in supply, and champion and elite units that are limited. The champion and elite units are your major trump card, but if they fall in battle, you’ll then need to purchase more. When it comes to their attacks, it can take several turn cycles before they can actually launch successfully.

The main objective of a standard battle is to successfully send an attack to the very end of your opponent's screen, thereby inflicting damage on their commander. Speaking of commanders, played by your heroes, they too have abilities that can be used in battle. Each of the five heroes has their own unique spell and wall ability. For example, Anwen’s spell is a powerful arrow, while Aidan can create inferno walls that can damage charging foes. Heroes can also equip artifacts that grant them enhancements such as additional strength.

The game’s battle system is as immensely fun and addictive as a good puzzle game, and the RPG mechanics do a great job of adding strategy and depth. Luck plays a major role in battles, as you never know what combination of troops you are going to start out with and summon later. This brings in the challenge of making the best of what you have. The game has a lot of strategic elements, as the right combination and selection of units, as well as knowing how long it takes for them to launch an attack, can really help execute a successful battle plan. There is also a trade-off between offence and defence, forcing players to sacrifice powerful units for the sake of creating a stronger defensive front. Hours pass like minutes, because the game is really intoxicating as each battle presents a new puzzle challenge.

Each hero offers an unique experience.

Each hero offers an unique experience.

The game isn’t just a series of story-based battles, as there are plenty of other cool gimmick battles, which include solving puzzles, taking out a switch and protecting an object. Then there are the major boss battles at the end of each hero’s campaign, which behave like proper RPG bosses. These battles are quite challenging, creative and clever.

With such a fun and creative battle system, it’s a blessing that the game has a fully functioning multiplayer mode, adding even more life to the game. In the single player side of things, there are plenty of things to do, because each hero’s campaign can take around 10 hours to complete. This means, in addition to the multiplayer, there is a total game length of around 50 hours. Graphically, the game is really simplistic, but it certainly has a retro Japanese RPG look to it. Musically, Might & Magic Clash of Heroes is weak, as the main score sounds really generic and depressing.

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is no role-playing epic, but it is certainly an entertaining and addictive game. The story is nothing compelling, the graphics and visuals aren’t really appealing and the anime style art is nothing to get excited about. However, what matters most is that the battle system is immensely enjoyable and diverse. Furthermore, the RPG elements have been nicely implemented and they really add a lot of substance to the game without it feeling artificial. From a single player stand point, there is enough content to keep you entertained for 50 hours, and the multiplayer options makes the package that much sweeter.
The Score
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is no RPG epic, but it certainly offers hours of addictive and entertaining gameplay. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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4 years ago
I will declare my interest up front - I love this game and while I think this review is right on the money, there are 2 things I take issue with:
I think criticising the art style and character design is an extremely subjective call. I love the streamlined anime stylings and the designs are easy to 'read' on the DS screen. Anyway there are plenty of screenshots for people to make their minds up. The story although not epic is extremely well crafted. The creators know not to hold you up and keep you from the addictive gameplay.
4 years ago
While most of the game is great, some of the boss fights are just too damned hard. Maybe it just hasn't clicked with me but I end up just repeating these fights until I win out of sheer luck.
4 years ago
Agreed. The random fall of the units cetainly has an impact on the battles. This effect is particularly pronounced in the boss fights tipping them from strategy to luck.
4 years ago
I was keen to get this game, but the question is not whether I'm going to get it or not, but when. I always thought that it looked like it could be quite an addictive concept, and really, who goes into a puzzle/rpg expecting the most amazing story in the world? It seems everything else is right, though, and I hope some more people buy this game.

Thanks for the review, Jahanzeb!
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    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  01/08/2009 (Provisional)
Year Made:

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