The progress of time has seen gaming mechanics of old pass into history. The grid based system of moving around a dungeon fell by the wayside in favour of smooth movement thanks to the arrival of Ultima Underworld.
For 20 years this became the default method of controlling characters in RPGs when viewed from first person perspective, that is until Legend of Grimrock
arrived in 2012 and everyone remembered why grid based movement was a valid method of control. Provided of course it was handled correctly.Might & Magic 5 & 6
followed this principle of grid based movement while controlling multiple party members at the same time. Like the rest of the RPG genre, the creators of the Might & Magic
series fell in line with the rest of the scene by mimicking the movement of Ultima Underworld
for subsequent titles and it never quite fitted into this mode.
Now, 20 years after Might & Magic V
was released, Ubisoft has gone back to the grid movement of old to create Might & Magic X: Legacy (M&MX:L)
An RPG in the classic sense, it takes on the mechanics of the previous titles in the series and grafts on top of more modern tropes such as updated graphics and refined combat system. With the improved visuals comes a more compact world; its size being 1.5x that of the one in Might & Magic IV
The developers did not want to make Skyrim
as they were of the opinion that such a game had already been made and that they wanted to return to the core of the Might & Magic
franchise, that being dungeon crawling.
The developer was also inspired by Legend of Grimrock
and its influence was shown during the demo I played at PAX East.
When viewing static screen shots, it's easy to assume that the game is similar to Skyrim with its first person view. This perception evaporates once you start to play the game however, as the movement is far from fluid, instead taking a block by block approach, just like Legend of Grimrock
and Dungeon Master before it.
Not only does the player move in a grid like pattern, but also monsters do too. They shift from one block to another and the player can either fire off spells and arrows from range or attack them face to face by being adjacent to them. Combat is done in real time, but is ultimately turn based with all combat actions having a cool down before being able to be used again.
When strikes are hit, red splodges of blood appear with numbers plastered over them to indicate how much damage has been done. The player controls four characters and they all have their own stats including health and mana levels. They can cast healing and buff spells on one another as well as take potions to fortify themselves during battle.
I found the game to be very intuitive to play and even in the Alpha build I experienced at PAX East, it was clear the developers had taken a lot on board from recent advances in game creation while maintaining the spirit of Might & Magic 5 & 6
The game will be downloadable only but will not be free to play. Initially it will be for the PC, but I can quite easily see the game appearing on console platforms as well as tablets. Ubisoft, however, refused to confirm whether or not M&MX:L
would be appearing on any other platforms.
What I took from the time I had from the game was a feeling of nostalgia as well as a bit of concern as those not exposed to the older forms of RPG may mistake this game as being more like Skyrim and not a party control based game, which it very much is.M&MX:L
is due to appear in September 2013 on the PC.