GAME REVIEW: HEROES OF MIGHT AND MAGIC III – HD EDITION / DEVELOPER: DOTEMU / PUBLISHER: UBISOFT ENTERTAINMENT / PLATFORM: PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The main point of any HD remake is to refine an old idea. This often means taking an old but beloved title and upgrading it for a new generation, graphically or even going so far as to tighten the gameplay. While there have been many successes and failures, Heroes of Might & Magic III – HD Edition accomplishes a truly catastrophic misunderstanding of what an HD Edition should truly be. Not only does it completely fail to improve anything, but this version actually detracts from the experience of playing this classic.
Of all the releases in this long running series, III is often considered the sweet spot. It was the point where the original developer truly hit the pinnacle of what Heroes of Might & Magic was before IV and V made some serious changes to the mechanics. While relatively solid in of itself, the chief problem was that half the reason it’s so fondly remembered is thanks to its expansions. These were added in subsequent re-releases, yet are completely absent here entirely.
Armageddon’s Blade and Shadow of Death added a vast amount to the game. As such, along with a vast number of units, entire factions, thirteen campaigns and multiple neutral monsters, it’s a fraction of the length of the last release. To make matters worse, the game lacks any kind of random map generator because of this, with only a multiplayer lobby and Steamworks to try and make up for this. Of course, even that’s overshadowed by the fact that this updated version offers no support to any of the existing mods, such as the outstanding In the Wake of the Gods.
Even the graphical upgrades are minimal at best. The sprites were redrawn for each unit and you can now play the game at a resolution of 16 by 9, and nothing else. The actual “HD” part of this game is a misnomer, as there is no general graphical overhaul of any kind and any improvements are barely noticeable at the best of times.
Even after all of this, there might have still been some justification for this HD Edition being published, some small reason if the game were so old it could not operate on modern systems. The sad truth is that’s not the case, as GoG.com offers the original complete version for a fraction of this game’s price.
There is nothing of worth here. It’s still Heroes of Might and Magic III at the end of the day but, judging it as an HD re-release, this is downright shoddy at best. The only way Ubisoft could have screwed up worse is by giving it the Assassin’s Creed Unity treatment.
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