Heroes of Might and Magic IV
Description official descriptions
As the fourth installment of the series, Heroes of Might and Magic IV brings many new features to the game while retaining the old interface design and gameplay.
The game still is about exploring huge maps with heroes and armies, collecting treasures, building up cities, fighting monsters and defeating foes. There are six new and large campaigns and 24 single scenarios to play, all set in the Axeoth world to which many have escaped after the world-ending disaster in Enroth known as the Reckoning, shortly after the events of Heroes Chronicles: The Sword of Frost.
Towns and interracial alliances have been redone. Units are now split to 4 levels, with each town having two buildable unit types per level; however, after the first level, each town has to decide which dwelling to construct, discarding the other unless another town of the same type is found. Towns now also have caravan buildings, which can transfer units and resources between towns and allied players. Individual units can now traverse the map without heroes (including neutral ones, if such a setting is enabled), and heroes who perish in battle can be resurrected if their body is taken to a friendly town, while those who are defeated by an enemy player can be taken to a prison.
The game is now entirely displayed in an isometric view, and the battlefield is split to small square tiles instead of large hexes. Heroes fight side by side with other units and are used for combat as if they were a standard unit, which restricts their spellcasting only to times when it is their turn. However, multiple heroes can be present in a single unit stack. Heroes no longer have individual specialties, and only differ in town allegiances and whether they specialize in might or magic - towns of similar affinities can hire heroes from neighboring towns in an affinity graph, with the exception of Stronghold (Might) which can hire might heroes of any faction but never magic ones, as they do not have access to a magic guild.
As before, the game can be played in hot seat mode with other players, and comes with a map editor. Post-launch updates have added online multiplayer capabilities.
- Герои Меча и Магии IV - Russian spelling
- 英雄无敌IV - Simplified Chinese spelling
- 魔法門之英雄無敵四 - Traditional Chinese spelling
- Fantasy Creatures: Dragons
- Fantasy Creatures: Dwarves
- Fantasy Creatures: Elves
- Fantasy Creatures: Halflings / Hobbits
- Fantasy Creatures: Orcs
- Fantasy Creatures: Trolls
- Fantasy Creatures: Unicorns
- Gameplay feature: Fog of war
- Games that include map/level editor
- Heroes of Might and Magic series
- Middleware: Bink Video
- Might and Magic universe
- Software Pyramide releases
- Sound engine: AIL/Miles Sound System
- Ubisoft eXclusive releases
- Video games turned into board / card games
Credits (Windows version)
127 People (121 developers, 6 thanks) · View all
|Technical lead artist|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 81% (based on 33 ratings)
Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 79 ratings with 4 reviews)
*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.
Better animation. Although the combat is still turn based, they made the animation a little more realistic, better special effects.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Minor, but worth mentioning. They don't tell you anymore how much experience you get per combat. Have to check it manually. Yeah, right.
Impossible? 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.
Windows · by Indra was here (20633) · 2002
I like innovation. Somehow I get the feeling that most games I play nowadays are just clones of each other. So when I see a franchise try to reinvent itself I have to give it credit. HoMM 4 is a major rehaul of Heores gameplay, making this game unique as even the fifth installment to the series is more closely related to the third game than this one.
While I disagree with the direction the developers took with this game (as you might have gathered from the title), they did have some good ideas:
Probably the best idea was making heroes specialize depending on their skills. Better yet, the advantages from such specialization depend on how difficult it is to get the specialization in the first place. For instance, investing in scouting and chaos magic (which is easy for Chaos heroes) will turn your hero into a Fire Diviner with 20% bonus to all fire spells. However, specializing in three magic schools (a hard task for any hero) will give you a 20% bonus with all spells. Staying on the subject of skills, I liked that you need to acquire certain secondary skills before you could reach a higher level in your main skill. In previous HoMMs you could reach master Wisdom in just a couple of levels, allowing you to learn and cast any spell in the game. Here you need to spend 15 levels (luckily there are locations and objects that can speed up your progress) to master just one school of magic! In the end the forces you to focus your heroes on one or two tasks, and employ a combination of at least two heroes with different specializations in most battles for best results. Such strategy is demanding from the very start (branching off into other skills may give your heroes an immediate advantage, but may harm your goal) and adds much depth to the game.
The other great addition was creature abilities. HoMM creatures always had abilities, but usually only high level creature had any useful abilities - low level creatures' abilities (with some notable exceptions) were merely bonus perks instead of game changing powers. In HoMM 4 the creature finally reach their full potential: From spellcasters with large repertoire of spells, to battle-mage like monster with one spell but high health and damage, to abilities that work on the adventure map, all creature powers have huge impact on the game. Having such varied creatures allowed the designers to get away with limiting the selection of creatures in each town. Unlike previous games, you now must choose only one creature dwelling out of two for 2nd, 3rd and 4th level creatures. Creature abilities play a huge role in this decision as you try to pick between recruiting mages (pathetic physical abilities, but great magical powers that deplete during the battle) or golems (very powerful, but slow, fighters who are completely immune to magic). Since spellcaster creatures employ the same spells that heroes could learn, having a spellcaster creature is like having an auxiliary hero in your army, but one whose spell points can quickly drain in a long battle.
Other improvements are less significant: Graphics are improved, but the overall effect could be better. Wandering creatures can actually have the option to wander over the adventure map, capturing unprepared heroes off guard. The plot is very detailed - each campaign map starts with several pages of introduction and there are even more story related messages throughout each campaign level.
Unfortunately, all these improvements are for naught. For every good idea there was an abyss of bad implementations and design that made the good ideas irrelevant.
I started with the new hero design in the previous section and so I will do here. In previous HoMM games heroes were an essential part of the game as they were the only ones that could transport armies and perform any action on the adventure map. They were generals - in battles they provided passive benefits with their skills and cast spells, but never took damage. Their success or failure was entirely dependent on the performance of their army as a whole. Not in HoMM 4! Oh no, now heroes are part of your fighting force. Their attributes provide no bonus to their troops (there is skill tree for that) and unless they are very high level, almost any creature stack can kill them by sneezing in their general direction; medusas can turn them to stone with a single hit, any spellcaster unit can kill them with a single spell and even might heroes that invested heavily in combat skills and magic resistance would succumb fairly quickly to a concentrated attack. The game does offer a way to keep your heroes alive (and while they can always be resurrected after combat or rescued from an enemy city after defeat, you must keep your heroes alive if you hope that they'll gain any experience) by drinking immortality potions and hiding behind your troops to break line-of-sight attacks and magics. However, these potion can restore only one life (meaning that two killing attacks in a row will take out the hero anyway) each and all your efforts to defend your heroes will either prove futile against a determined opponent or will cripple your overall battle efforts. And they might as well die because you don't need them.
That's right, in Heroes of Might and Magic 4, the heroes themselves aren't that needed. All creatures can move on their own (strong creatures move faster than any hero unless that hero has Pathfinding), fight on their own and recruit new creatures from dwellings on their own. Heroes are still needed to capture building and towns, as well as provide bonuses in battle. But since it takes so long to level up a hero to a decent skill level, and since a determined opponent (particularly if you;re playing against people and not against the computer) will keep killing off your heroes before they can level up significantly, you won't see much use out of your heroes unless you play the campaigns. And even there keeping your main character alive will be frustrating in larger battles.
If that wasn't enough, the battles themselves have been ruined by bad battlefield design. Whoever made this game forgot why most turn-based strategy games (from chess to Civilization 5) employ a board (or a board-like grid) and decided to place the battles on an isometric open field. This field has no clear markings and even after finishing all the campaigns I can't understand how much an enemy unit can advance, where to place my units to break the line-of-sight of ranged units, and when my creatures are positioned close enough to be attacked by dragon's breath (hits one unit and the one behind it) or a hydra's multiheaded strike (hits all nearby units). This basically ends any real tactical considerations that made the previous (and the next) games so good. With no tactical thought the game cannot be considered a good strategy.
Lastly, I have to take issue with the days system in this game. In all other HoMM games weeks are crucial for your creature growth as all dwellings replenish on the first day of the week. In HoMM they decided to abandon that and have creatures grow continuously with different rate for different creatures. And yet the weeks/months system wasn't completely abandoned: It was kept exclusively to annoy the player at the end of each month when the adventure map is filled to the brim with random hostile creatures that disrupt your supply lines. This was done in previous games too, but then only weak units appeared and even they were in small numbers (perfect for necromancers to stock up on skeletons or new heroes to gain a couple of early levels), In HoMM 4 even very strong creatures are seeded all over the map, and the groups are strong enough to require a force of medium strength to destroy them without casualties on your side. It's hard to see what does this decision add to game, beside annoying the player every 30 days.
Additional grievances include bad AI that tends to go on suicidal attacks against much stronger neutral enemies, a lack of cutscenes and a plot that isn't nearly as epic or interesting as the one in HoMM 3, despite being more detailed. Even the graphics aren't enough to warrant a glance at this game.
The Bottom Line
This game was an experiment, but the result was a lurching monstrosity that is an embarrassment to the whole HoMM family. There is absolutely no reason to buy this game, other than complete devotion to HoMM franchise. If you want better graphics and gameplay go for HoMM 5, if you want excellent gameplay and slightly worse graphics go for HoMM 3, but avoid this game like the plague it is.
Windows · by Alex Z (1852) · 2011
It's pretty simple : I liked almost everything in this game. But clearly, there are three things that makes HoMM IV a so incredible game : the gameplay, the graphics, and the music. The gameplay : Some changes have been made since Heroes III, and some fans will probably be disappointed, but in my opinion, it changed for the best. It's nice to have heroes fighting on battlefields (even if it can transform the game into some kind of turn-based Diablo-like in some cases), and there are many little improvements that makes the gameplay more and more enjoyable. The graphics : even if it is not "true" 3d, the isometric view is really beautiful, with many details and nice design. The only flaw is the animation of some creatures during combat (mainly the "human-shaped" ones), especially their "walking" animation. The music : I can only say a thing : the music in HoMM IV is one of the best I ever heard in a video game. It is simply wonderful.
Well, there ARE actually a few things... First, many creatures from Heroes III disappeared. It is partly explained by the story (because, you know, they blow Enroth up in the intro movie), but... And it is no more possible to upgrade the creatures. And when you build your castle you must choose between two creatures for each level (for instance, Nagas or Genies). It is not really important, but when you played Heroes III for hours like me, you feel... restrained. Then, the AI. It's not exactly bad, but the computer players are, well, a bit stupid. It is more easy to play in "hard" mode because the computer will kill himself attacking the most powerful monsters from the start. Finally, there is one last thing. The campaigns. Six campaigns, each telling a different story. Some of them are actually pretty interesting, but it lacks of a global storyline like in Heroes III. You will play two or three of the campaigns, and no more, because there is no story to catch you. It's really sad. Oh yes, there's one more thing : the story-telling texts. They're just too long. You end having the feeling to be reading a book on your computer screen.
The Bottom Line
If you liked the other Heroes, just give a try to this fourth episode. And if you didn't like them... well give it a try anyway ! You won't regret it !
Windows · by Pirou Julien (2963) · 2004
- Computer Gaming World
- April 2003 (Issue #225) – Coaster of the Year (together with Might and Magic IX)
Related Sites +
Tons of informations and dozens of additional maps & campaigns
Heroes of Might and Magic IV Resource Center
Everything you need to know about Heroes of Might and Magic IV.
New Heroes for a New World
An Apple Games article about the Mac version of <em>Heroes of Might and Magic IV</em>, with commentary being provided by Brand Manager Chaz Fitzhugh (November, 2002).
Official site for Heroes of Might and Magic IV
Torre de Marfil
Spanish fansite of the saga
- MobyGames ID: 6105
- Wikipedia (en)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by phlux.
Macintosh added by Kabushi.
Game added April 2nd, 2002. Last modified December 2nd, 2023.