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Prestige For DM Not Nearly As Good As Original Franchise
Published on July 30, 2007 By iTZKooPA In PC Gaming
Get this, I actually finished a game that came out in the last year, this one I didn't even buy! No, I didn't pirate it, well, okay I guess in a way I bought the game, it came with my 8800 GTS that I got a few months ago and after finishing F.E.A.R.: Extraction Point I figured I might as well take down Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. I have followed the Might and Magic franchise for years, in fact some random number of HoMM was one of the first game I played on the PC and I even created a little campaign to get the Starforce copy protection scheme off of Heroes of Might and Magic V. Nevertheless Dark Messiah is a large deviation from the franchise and many wondered if the new franchise owner Ubisoft could pull off such a daring maneuver.

As you would expect from a Steam-based title the graphics, sound and physics are all quite solid. Now knowing that the developers had a good starting point with Steam I figured I would see some really cool stuff added, especially since this is a fantasy title and not a standard shooter. Unfortunately the gameplay didn't really hold up to my expectations and the story was standard, run-of-the-mill, predictable, fantasy garbage.

A nice landscape shot.

I won't blow off this game's review like I did to Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team because it wasn't anywhere near that bad. It did have SOME aspects that I liked. First off, when I first jumped into the game I thought the combat was pretty cool, a mix of spell-based combat or warrior style combat with deep physics. Blast someone with a spell, they can fly off the ledge from the impact, charge with sword-and-shield, and well, they fly off the bridge. It was something that I haven't experienced before, such a cool mix, and to top it off there's the RPG aspect, leveling up certain abilities such as 'Power Strike' or just raising your HP pool. Unfortunately, after playing for 3 hours, which managed to place me exactly ½ way thru the game (chapter wise), I just felt like I was playing The Adventures of Sir Kicks-a-Lot on the Island of Conspicuously Placed Spike Racks. Although I got ½ way thru the game in a measly 3 hours, the next half of the game took longer than that, so it wasn't as incredibly short as I had feared.

Cyclops has a boo-boo. No Whining!

After the initial tutorial it just didn't feel like anything new happened in the game until the last 2 hours. A handful of mini-boss fights, only one of them being of any interest, and all of them fairly easy. The ending was all that brought something new to the game's repertoire, adding in some juicy traps and plot choices. As you may gather from the title, you actually are a bad guy, quickly inhabited by a demon, naturally an incredibly busty demon who also happens to be really hot, that gives you additional powers. The fact that I mentioned plot choices, and predictable should lead many to figure out just where the story goes.

My nice Lightning Daggers prepped for battle.

I played thru on hard difficulty, and yes I definitely died a bit, so at least it was challenging to progress. I don't think I died on any of the mini-bosses, in actuality the main problem was getting swarmed by the standard soldiers of the game. Once that happened, no amount of kicking could save me. Another hiccup is that the game and its items aren't balanced at all, a HUGE no-no for RPG titles. As I mentioned, kicking into spikes seems to be a past time of the Dark Messiah, its a 1-hit kill to anything. Aside from that some of the shields offered a HUGE advantage. Developer Arkane Studios also included a crafting skill set, but it was only used twice throughout the game, causing the title's weapon and armor set to be very minimalistic, again not something that RPGs are known for. My last beef I have with the gameplay is the balance for caster versus warrior versus archer. First off, there is no chance to do some sort of combination, it is just a bad idea to try and be a weak tank with casting powers. It can be done, that is the type of build I completed the game with, but it makes certain fights almost endless. Worse still is that if you do go all out in one tree that doesn't make it much easier, pure casters or pure warriors would also have an incredibly hard time winning certain fights, one example would be killing a dragon who never lands.

Giant poison-breathing worm that you don't even get to fight.

All in all I didn't like the title. I finished it in under 8 hours, which maybe be seen as good or bad, oddly enough at least an hour of that was just playing with the Steam engine and doing stupid things like cutting ropes to watch logs plow thru a group of goblins (but if you stood there nothing would happen, go figure). Upon its release last October there was a cry for a quick patch due to an overwhelming amount of bugs, two patches later and the game still has its fair share of bugs but nothing as earth shattering as the initial release. I wouldn't have paid more than $10 Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, it just didn't bring anything new to the table aside from the combat. Even that quickly became stale because nothing was brought in to mix it up, such as items or a slue of ways to kill enemies. Avoid and please Ubisoft, no sequel.

on Jul 31, 2007
Yep I bought it, played it about half way through, got bored. Love your synopsis "The Adventures of Sir Kicks-a-Lot on the Island of Conspicuously Placed Spike Racks." - spot on!