by Marko Susimetsä
previewed on PC
Return to the Roots
RPGs have been around almost as long as computer games have been around, but they have also morphed more than most other established genres. Some critics would argue that today’s RPGs have deviated too far from the original idea and that the whole genre has been washed down to make it more approachable to casual gamers. Perhaps there is a reason why the titles of old, such as Ultima and The Bard’s Tale are still remembered where newer RPGs are quickly forgotten.
Might and Magic is one of those well remembered RPG series that started out during the near-mythical age of 1980’s. Like many other games of that time, Might and Magic is simultaneously coming back, and returning to its roots. Might & Magic X Legacy promises to bring back the gameplay elements of the original games while still giving players a fresh, new gaming experience. But while most other classics are brought back through Kickstarters and independent developers, Might & Magic X Legacy is being worked on by Ubisoft, a major player in the industry and long-time defender of PC gaming.
The story follows from the events of Might & Magic’s turn-based strategy spin-off, Might & Magic Heroes VI. The city of Karthal is on the verge of secession and the player will need to delve deep into the political machinations of the of the rich and powerful to, eventually, make or break the future of the entire region, the Agyn Peninsula.
As proof that Ubisoft intends to take Might & Magic back to its roots, Legacy will use a tile-based movement system that older gamers will be very familiar with. The only recent RPG to use this system was Legend of Grimrock, and if you have played that you will have an idea of how you will interact with the world in Legacy . Unlike Grimrock, the new Might & Magic – which classic dungeon environs - Legacy plays out mostly above ground and allows its players to explore towns, forests and mountainous areas.
Also like the RPGs from yesteryear, you will be leading a party of four in a first-person perspective through long-forgotten (and arthritis-friendly) turn-based combat sequences. You get to choose your party members from Humans, Orcs, Elves and Dwarves and select familiar classes, such as a Rangers and Fighters to suit your playing style. A newly announced class called Freemage may be taking over the role of the Cleric as the stalwart healer class but other classes remain almost unchanged. Rangers, for instance, are light-armour wearing master archers with limited magic spells. In these aspects, at least, Legacy is keeping to the series’ tradition than attempting anything new.
Another for the List
For anyone reminiscing about the good old days of gaming, Might & Magic X Legacy needs to be put on the growing list of upcoming retro-styled games to play. However, given that the creators of Legend of Grimrock are also making a sequel that will bring the party to the surface and Richard Garriott is collecting Kickstarter funds for Shroud of the Avarar, it seems that Legacy will have at least two competitors for the souls of retro RPG fans.