First off, a rant from a seasoned Might & Magic player.
Might & Magic - Massive Frustration would be a better title for this game. The amount of saves and reloads you will need to do to progress by an inch is absolutely insane. I am playing at Adventurer difficulty which in classic M&M is supposed to be "Normal"... well I have played every single MM from 1 to 9 and I have _NEVER_ had to die and wipe and reload SO many times like in this one. Spellcasters are so useless they become a liability, since for some reason every single mob in the game will always and systematically target them first (oh, your "tank" class got the Challenge skill to distract mobs? Well sucks to be you, because a lot of mobs are either immune to it, or the skill gets resisted or misses).
Okay, enough complaining for now.
So. I'm looking at this game in the eyes of someone who loved MM3-4-5 (I am actually quite amused by all the people that complain about the tile movement, it's what was games were all about :)), so I was expecting a game somewhat "in tribute" to that.
First off, graphics. It's a modern "tile movement" title, actually they quite cleverly built a world that looks smooth but where movement is tile based. On the other hand, sometimes it's a bit tricky to understand where do you need to go, so you will often end up checking the minimap. This is not too bad to be honest, since in the old games you ended up having Wizard Eye cast most of the time and that's what you would be looking at.
Side note on this, there is a bug that prevents you from changing your texture quality if you open the menu from inside the menu. You need to do it from the main menu of the game!
On the Storyline I'm not commenting. We all know that it's no longer the original M&M world from NWC. I don't like most of the changes they made, nor I like the fact that it looks like Heroes of M&M is suddendly the "story-driver" of the game. All Sci-fi elements from the classics removed (they were the core of the story, so how can you remove them? Mah.), now it's just a bread and butter fantasy game. This specific title is decorated with a cartload of references to the old games (like Maximus the Knight, Crag Hack the Pirate - yeah no comment on this one -, the Forbidden Saga quest, just to name a few) but that's not enough to build a story you might care about. There is not going to be Sheltem at the end or anything anyway.
The Game System is where the entire game is played and that's where things become frustrating, annoying, confusing and misterious. There are four playable races, each with a variety of defensive melee, offensive melee and spellcaster. Each class can further specialize in a prestige class later on. Most of the traditional class names from M&M are completely gone. The base attributes of the characters are no longer the classics either and now we have things like Destiny and Perception (which increases "all attack values by x") and this is where the prime confusing quality of the game shines: it's really hard to understand what each value does. You get 4 attribute points to distribute at each level up, but if you knew better what was the impact of everything, choices would be easier.
From the beginning of the game, melee classes will shine outright, while you will be left very much puzzled over the effectiveness of spells which get resisted systematically. As you move onward, your mages will become a total liability and die repeatedly (making them lose XP in the process, apparently even if you are unconscious you don't get XP, what kind of bizarre design is that?), causing you to enter a tragicly boring loop of eternal save and reload. Gone is the whole hatred system from the old M&M days where mobs would prioritize attacks based on race/class hatred, simply accept the fact that all mobs will always automatically attack and kill your weakest character all the time and you will not be able to do anything about it most of the time. If you add to this the incredibly lazy design choice of making mobs appear out of nowhere all the time (pretty much any meaningful encounter is like that), making strategic placement impossible (since you will always be flanked), you are in an incredibly rough, frustrating ride.
And that's the main issue. Making a tribute game to the old days does not mean "make a game stupidly hard". This game is not hard, it's just extremely badly balanced. You need to cross zones with incredibly tough mobs to access areas defended by extremely easy mobs. You need to clear dungeons inhabited on one level by very easy minions and on the next by nigh-impossible elites. It's this constant schizofrenic design that leads to a completely unfun experience, for the mere fact that the immense amount of trial and error required to get anything done will bore you to death. It's a shame really, but unless they release some kind of magical patch that fixes all this, MMX becomes quickly a chore you do not want to play.
Posted: February 2nd, 2014