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SummaryEverything went better than expected.
The GoodFirst and most important thing: IT IS still a Might and Magic RPG, so if you are familiar with the game mechanics, you will be overwhelmed by the game in no time. There is a small change in character build, but skills and mastery levels are almost unchanged. I used the latest TELP patch and haven't encountered a single bug (apart from occasional crash exit, which was more likely caused by Win7 than the game itself). I also only bought the game recently, so prize is no longer a problem. Graphics are not as appealing as more recent games, but still a huge improvement over previous games in the series. OK, the graphics really sucks sometimes, but polygons still work better than sprites and this is an RPG, not FPS, strong emphasis is on character development, not pretty graphics. Dungeon design is great - every dungeon has its own unique look and many has some architectonic "wonders" (unlike generic dungeons in Oblivion, for example - when in Chasm of the Dead, you will know what I mean). Apart from dungeon layout, maps are not much of a brainteaser, just your standard dungeon crawling experience - but hey, you don't get stuck and frustrated by missing some unimportant hint, and who does build a tower or a lab as a maze anyway.. Story may not seem like much, but is on par with other open-world RPGs and has some interesting and even funny twists. This of course is not something you will see in first five hours of game, but near the end story climaxes rather swiftly. Or from different perspective - MM6 had better background story (but ingame story was nigh null), MM7 had better ingame story (with more and faster twists and with background story "provided" in Heroes of M&M3), but MM9 story is on par with them and much better than that in MM8.
The BadGUI is a mess. Spellbook is really wrong - with added spell older spells move on next page. Finding anything quickly is hard. I didn't like the drawn graphics in MM8 and I do not like it here either. Even worse is the map - you cannot zoom it, you can not move it and you are not allowed to make notes in it(!). Game also doesn't show you many important statistics - for example I was unable to find what day of week it is unless I looked at save game dialog. Also active spells that are not party-targeted are not shown, so you have no control whether they already dissipated or not. You cannot change the resolution of the game and if you do, GUI is even more messed up. Some promotional quests are unreachable until later in the game, and even then they can be incredibly hard and somewhat unrewarding. This also makes some spells and skills hard to learn or use properly and spoils the fun. While dungeon maps are great, outside areas are just "connected corridors with open sky instead of the ceiling". One thing I missed was the exploring of the whole region and finding secret stashes and shrines.