An ambitious attempt to enhance the HMM predecessors, a treat for HMM fans!
*3rd Update. Last update, Thursday May. 30, 2002.
Thank you very much.
Wow, finally they made a difference that really counts. If your a fan of HMM, you notice that since King's Bounty, HMM I-III the gameplay is much less the same. In HMM IV, they changed the whole thing! (well almost). Still familiar, with a touch of isometric style. You play this game, you'll get the feel of Lord of the Rings. Seriously.
The good stuff:
1. Better graphics, better view.
Yes, where in HMM I-III it's the same old, same old. They gave a isometric point of view that makes the 3D point of view very amusing. The graphic details are getting better.
2. Better animation.
Although the combat is still turn based, they made the animation a little more realistic, better special effects.
3. Better Heroes, No favorites.
Well, good and bad. Now you can only choose your favorite face, haha. No longer picking favorites from the basic skills they have (e.g. Basic Intelligence). Which means no hero is better than the other, no more restarting the game to find that "perfect hero".
4. Higher levels, more skills, more spells, more everything.
Experienced players are advised to play the highest level (Champion), feel the difference. Anything less is a SIN! Hahahhaha.
5. Combating Heroes
This is a major surprise! The heroes are considered individual units that can fight, cast magic, etc. And to my personal opinion their stats vs normal creatures are pretty reasonable, meaning that your characters still can easily be cut down when fighting 100 Minotaurs.
6. More creatures per town
Well, unlike the prior HMM III, you can upgrade your creatures. They eliminated that (sigh), but now there are no 5 level creatures, max level 4. This is because the 2nd to the 4th level creatures consists of 2 types, of which you have to choose which creature you want to breed. Choosing one type will automatically cancel the opportunity of the other. Eg. If you build a building that creates Knights, this will cancel your ability to breed Angels.
7. There are other surprises that I shouldn't say (or else it'll spoil the fun), but basically, they (programmers) have tried very hard to make this version less irritating, more strategical, etc. I commend their effort!
The Bad Stuff:
1. The map movement isn't as smooth as it used to be, but it doesn't effect the gameplay that much, I also experienced that combats taking place in swampy areas are kinda slow.
2. I was a little disapointed about the cinematics, where usually in each campaign there are cinematics to watch. I have passed a couple of campaigns and guess what, no cinematics. Imagine playing Diablo without those cinematics, boring.
3. Oh, I still consider the spell book in combat could use a lot of major fixing, it takes a while to find the spell you want. I prefer the previous classification in the spell book, where it's divided into the spell levels, not just spell type.
4. Minor, but worth mentioning. They don't tell you anymore how much experience you get per combat. Have to check it manually. Yeah, right.
For the champion level, I experienced some campaigns on the first level are almost impossible to pass. Almost impossible? If not extremely irritating, you will notice that in the champion level, the greatest threat is not the enemy player, but the neutral enemies. Try the Barbarian campaign for instance: Level 1 character, no magic, and you have to face around 300 guys in a single combat. Yeah, you could hire creatures, but by the time you get 100 Berserkers, the enemy has reach 500. Sigh. This would be one of those days you would like to cheat. But that's against my religion! hahahah.
The Bottom Line
Oh, a must. Yes please, wouldn't think otherwise.
My overview of the game:
Graphics & animation: B+
I've seen better, but it's still better than most.
Gameplay & Addiction: B+
Got to play it to believe it.
Overall Score: B+
See the above.