Hey, hey people! SSeth here. Today, I’ll covering a game from a series that is very special to me. But, much like the nice girl you knew back in high school, she eventually went broke, destitute and sold herself off to the French and now, you barely recognize her. I’m talking about Heroes of Might and Magic V, released in 2006 by Ubisoft. So what happened? How did we get here? Well, 3DO, who had the license for Might and Magic, went bankrupt. So, Ubisoft bought the license, gave it to Nival, a sweatshop developer located in the Siberian gulags, and asked them to make a game as quickly as possible, with no regard for human life. And since Slavs are trained from birth to play Heroes 3 on a competitive level, the developers were a good choice for developing a successor to the series. Unfortunately, the demands of the sweatshop took their toll and by the end of it, most of the development staff were either dead or missing. The lead programmer got mauled by a bear while picking berries in the forest. Two of the artistic leads fell down a well and kept falling, and the designer got kidnapped by a gargoyle.
*sensual gargoyle screech* Now, I know what you’re thinking and, yes, this is entirely true. I even wrote an entire wiki article to prove it. Despite such hardships, Nival did manage to make a beautiful and pretty interesting game. Let’s begin. Story Heroes V takes place in the world of Ashan, which has no connection to Heroes 3, 4, or the rest of the Might and Magic franchise, because we get a much more interesting and non-generic setting instead. Here’s a quick rundown of this compelling story. Ashan is under attack. By demons. Your husband, the king, is killed by demons. You are now queen. You resurrect your dead husband, then you kill your undead husband. You get kidnapped by demons. Then everyone kills the demons. And everyone lives happily ever after in the pony kingdom of Equestria: friendship is magic. You might think I’m lying about that last part, guess what, I’m not. What an engaging, engrossing plot. But what would you expect from the lead writer of such prestigious titles, such as My Horse & Me 2 and the celebrated cult classic, Horsez. Thank you, Jeff Spock. Thank you for your service to humanity. You know what, I’m going to quickly rewrite the story of Heroes V into something much more coherent. *Yu-Gi-Oh theme music* By the way, the new story is now canon. Thank you. Gameplay Everything is turn-based. Pick a map, pick a faction, pick a hero and play. Unlike Heroes 3, your heroes can now attack monsters directly, but unlike Heroes 4, they can’t be murdered on the battlefield. And they get a crazy over-the-top skill wheel progression system as they level up, which is never explained inside the game and you have to use third-party fan software to even know the existence of such a thing. Oh yeah, and you no longer have to micromanage every single neutral dwelling in town. You can now send caravans to the town of your choice and just pick up your troops later. It’s very self-explanatory. There’s 8 different factions to play: 6 in the base game, plus Fortress and Stronghold from the expansions. Everybody gets a massively scaled town which spits out units for them each week. Every town also gets an amazing orchestral theme song. Except Stronghold. Each time I reinstall the game, I have to realize this all over again. Stronghold’s music sounds like some royalty-free ambient background noise. It sounds like elevator music in a fantasy-themed 2-star hotel. So each time, I have to go into my music folders and replace it with something more appropriate. *Ram Ranch by Grant MacDonald plays* As you may have noticed, the town camera pans around on its own. It’s actually one of my favorite things in this game. Especially since the camera tracking syncs up with the music, but I’ll show that off at the end. Every faction gets 7 units from tier 1 to tier 7, all of which can be upgraded. Tribes of the East adds side-grades too, which means there’s now 2 upgrades to choose from. Most of these range from interesting to “What flavor of energy drink do you want your units to look like?”. Let’s talk about the factions. Haven. These are the humans. They’re very standard. Very European and generally quite solid. Some might think the strongest unit in the Haven arsenal is the Angel. However, that’s completely fuckin’ wrong. Yes, a celestial being sent to enact the will of God is pretty good, but, um, can she pay taxes? I don’t think so. No, the strongest unit under Haven’s direct command is the humble Peasant. The real Heroes of Might and Magic are taxpayers. They contribute their monthly wages to provide you with security, social services and, of course, roads. Without Peasants we wouldn’t have much of a country. Yes, it’s only one gold per peasant, per day, but if you let them survive plague, famines and high infant mortality rates, you’ll win the game economically. Because wars aren’t decided by swords, they’re decided by whoever has the most money and that’s a fact. God bless the unwashed masses for sustaining the military industrial complex of the Griffin Empire. Stronghold. They’ve got orcs, centaurs, wyverns and women. They also get a cyclops. Eventually. Unfortunately, they also have goblins. I have mixed feelings about these little shits. To help you understand, let me read you one of their abilities. Treachery. When the number of these creatures falls below 30 percent of their original numbers, they change sides. Luckily, the rest of the faction more or less acknowledges that goblins are subhuman trash. Which is great since you can sacrifice them directly to your shaman girls, use them as a tasty snack or even as improvised living ammunition for your cyclops. It’s an OK faction, a bit barren and of course their music is terrible. But that’s OK because I replaced all of Stronghold’s music. *Ram Ranch 7 by Grant MacDonald plays* Much more immersive, I think you’ll agree. Academy are the wizards. Their city is essentially just Dubai, except in the sky. Floating at an altitude just high enough to be legally recognized as an independent state. As such, Academies are regarded as offshore tax havens. What do they do with all this money? Well, they do what everybody with infinite power and knowledge of the arcane does. They summon catgirls and construct tin cans to murder anybody they don’t like. They’re great to play, and they’ve got amazing visuals. It’s like a fusion of Indian and Arabic aesthetics. I love it. Sylvans are furries, sodomites and probably zoophiles. Critics are rather divided on this town. On the one hand, its objectively the best choice to upgrade your Applejacks into Fluttershy. Yet, many might be blindsided by Princess Celestia’s better synergy with light magic. Personally, I-I-I don’t care. They do have really nice music, though. Dungeon are furries, sodomites and definitely zoophiles. If you like femdom, BDSM or matriarchy, you’ll feel right at home in the dungeon. They’re fun to play. My only criticism is that it’s kind of hard to tell if your units are upgraded or not. Since the only difference between a normal dark elf and the upgraded version is whether or not they have this Queen of Spades tattoo on their backside. I don’t know what that’s about. Necropolis gets skeletons, spelly skellies, and big bone skellies. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but each time I play Necropolis, I do get a very strong inexplicable craving to consume Monster Energy. As expected, they can raise the dead. Originally, after sitting around in their castle and smacking the End Turn button for a few months, Necropolis would automatically win. Of course, this was incredibly fun. And since the Heroes community hates fun, it was nerfed into the ground. You now need gamer juice to raise the dead, a limited resource that only replenishes at the start of each week. Fortress is the manlet faction. Which might not sound very intimidating, but they also get runes, which allow the dwarves to, among other things, cover the entire length of the battlefield, resurrect their dead stacks and temporarily become a ghost. If that wasn’t enough, 3 of their strongest units might also be completely immune to Armageddon. And based off what you’ve just heard, yes, they are incredibly balanced. Inferno can do this. They can also do this. They’re red, they’re demons, they can summon more demons, they all look the same and they’re extremely boring to play. But wait! That’s not all. This is a good time to mention that every faction gets a special racially-exclusive ability. Academy gets body modification, Sylvans are good at poaching, Dungeon benefits from bestiality, Dwarves get runes, Stronghold gets angry, Haven can turn living units into better units, Necropolis can turn living units into undead units. But Inferno has the most powerful and strategically significant of all. Inferno can turn living units into dead units. Now, that is amazing design. So, while other brainlet factions are focused on pressing the advantage, adapting to the enemy and increasing their forces, the galaxy brain Inferno player spends all of his money on troops, only to sacrifice them so he can level up once or twice. His objective completed, his goals met, he hits alt+F4 and ejects himself from the multiplayer match. And that’s why Inferno is the most powerful faction. Because its players can’t be reasoned with. They’re nihilists with motives above human understanding. Combat plays out like the previous titles except there are some changes. 1. Everyone has gained weight since Heroes 3 and 4. The battlefield is no longer hexagonal. It is now quadragonal. Yes, everything and everyone is a square now. It’s easier to body-block, but it’s also easier to get completely blocked out of a fight, depending on the unfortunate geometry of twigs and small stones in your path. 2. There’s now two things that determine how quickly you move: Speed and Initiative. Speed is how far your units can move. Initiative is how quickly they decide to do something. 3. I have no idea what they did with the spells. Sure, there’s destructive magic, which still includes the classic nuclear option, and there’s Vampirism, which, by the way, is really funny to put on a vampire. But what about the rest? Haste doesn’t actually make you quicker. Slow doesn’t actually make you slow. They just make you act quicker, or slower respectively. Hello? What happened to my goddamn magic? But I’m willing to forgive all that, because Heroes V added the best goddamn spell in the game. Probably the best spell in the entire Heroes series. Summon Bee Hive. I love the spell so much I even made my own campaign around it. It’s called Beekeeper. It’s a piece of shit, don’t actually play it. If you kill the last monster, you win the game, but I made it so that about a thousand textboxes will pop up when you do, which, uh, consist of the entire Bee Movie script. Multiplayer. Multiplayer is dead. Ubisoft doesn’t maintain anything. But you can still use Virtual LAN to play with friends. There’s Simultaneous Turns, to make normal games faster and a Duel option for instant combat. So, most of the time, you’re gonna be up against the AI, which is AI in name alone. Computer players may be artificial, but they’re definitely not intelligent. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have Chessmaster-level programming behind them. The AI takes about 10 seconds of raw processing power each turn to carry out their master plan of leaving their base undefended when your army is right at their doorstep. This only gets worse with more AI, because each one must independently take 10 seconds of your lifespan to calculate their next move. It actually got so ridiculous that I had to use Cheat Engine to speedhack the game about 5-6 times. “What a convoluted solution SSeth. Why didn’t you just alt+tab and do something else?” Well, because alt+tabbing makes this game freeze. That’s right, Heroes V pauses itself so you don’t have to miss a second of watching that turn timer fill up. For that reason, I recommend trying Heroes 5.5, a mod that drastically rewrites the AI to be more intelligent and to take turns lightning fast. By the way, the base game hates my graphics card. So if your game looks like this, then I also recommend Heroes 5.5. Finally, there’s a map editor included with this game. You can make some pretty good maps with it. Mainly, however, I use it to make trash like this. Final Score I’ve received a lot of feedback that my review scores are poorly defined and hardly objective. Let’s fix that up right now. The final score will be composed of a single industry standard metric by which all games are professionally judged. The Main Menu. I’m going to be assessing these per expansion. Base Game Very solid, very cool anime fight sequence. Ten out of ten. Hammers of Fate Just some dark elves trying and failing to illegally cross the border. Five out of ten. Tribes of the East An amazing high-impact sequence where a cyclops lays siege to a castle, whacking and smacking every human in his path. But just then, a crossbowman bravely runs out and shoots the cyclops. Now, I’m gonna ask the audience, “What do you think he does next?” Logically, there’s only two options. He can: A. Chill at the back, reload and take a second shot in relative safety, or B. He can charge the cyclops with a butter knife. If you voted B, good news. You’re correct. Our brave warrior follows the most reasonable course of action and charges the cyclops. Let’s see how well he does. *About the sound you would expect a large wooden club to make upon hitting flesh* *And again* *x3 Combo* He… didn’t fly so good. Zero out of ten. Based on these scores, I conclusively give Heroes V a *trapped soul* out of ten. Heroes V is a fantastic addition to the series, and probably the last good game it will ever have. Since I’m fully convinced that Heroes 6 and 7 don’t actually exist. I’m just having a bad dream. One that I can’t seem to wake up from. The big question is: Is it as good as Heroes 3? Probably not. But it’s a solid game in its own right and does justice to the source material. And if you don’t believe me, believe the genuine words of other reviewers, such as Stephanie here, who wrote, “love”. 5 stars. “My neighbor’s mother-in-law makes 61 dollars every hour on the internet. She has been without a job for seven months but last month her pay was fourteen thousand three hundred and twenty-four dollars just working on the internet for a few hours. Read this post here. Equal equal equal and gt semicolon”- who are definitely real people and not spam bots trying to take your money. I recommend buying the whole collection on GOG, since, unlike the Uplay copy, it comes with the full soundtrack and no DRM. Plus, it ensures that less of your money is going towards Ubisoft, who massacred my favorite series, turned it into someone’s deviantArt gallery and turned me into a bitter shell of my former self. As always, more content to come next year. We’re done for now. But, not entirely. Earlier, I concluded my streaming contract with dlive. And, as a man of my word, I went back to the Merchants and asked them to vote on “What kind of smut would you like commissioned?” Our budget? About twelve hundred dollars. Here are the results of democracy. You can find them on my site and spread across the less reputable dens of evil. A warm thanks to the many members of the Merchants’ Guild, generously funding and bankrolling these videos. Please enjoy your Christmas, Hanukkah and have a Happy New Year. Stay warm, stay cozy, and have a good one. Roll the credits.