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Might and Magic 7 - Retroview

Kiss or Kill

By: Michael Beckett


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 7
   Music/Sound 3
   Originality 5
   Plot 6
   Localization NA
   Replay Value 8
   Visuals 5
   Difficulty Average to Very Hard
   Time to Complete

30+ Hours

 
Overall
7
Criteria

Might and Magic 7
 

   The Might and Magic series is one of the most venerable in the whole of gaming. It was one of the first RPGs, and helped pave the way for modern RPGs. Even as one of the later titles in the series, Might and Magic 7 is feeling its age, yet it still delivers a satisfying experience.

   Combat in M&M 7 is a multi-faceted business, with the ability to fight in both real-time and turn-based modes. This lends an element of choice that is felt throughout the game, not only in combat, but in the plot and in the general texture of the game. The combat system is perhaps not the most complex or original one, but it fits the tone of the game very well.

   As for the interface, well, I hate the control on almost all computer games. I just don't like having a controller that's larger than my screen with a quarter million buttons plus mouse. M&M 7 does it's best to keep things simple - grouping important and related keys together, allowing you to use the mouse or the keyboard or the two in some combination - yet the end result is the same as with most all PC RPGs, that of too many buttons.


Party Creation is a highly detailed affair. Characters can become literally whatever you want.
Party Creation is a highly detailed affair. Characters can become literally whatever you want.  

   Music on M&M7 is far from horrible, but it never quite fits its surroundings (a creepy dungeon theme in a city? Huh?). The other problem is that the music never goes on long enough. You get one loop of the music, and then silence descends with all the levity of a fart in the Vatican. The sound effects don't help much, either. The voice acting is reminiscent of Stonekeep, for those of you who recall it. For those of you too young to recall the MS-DOS RPG, just think of it like this: Take an American dub of an old Kung-fu flick. Now stick the actors on drugs or something. Delay the replay maybe one-tenth of a second. Now plug one ear with cotton. There, now you've got it.

   As with any seven in a series, M&M7 is a bit tired, and M&M is certainly not a series that deals with change well. The character races, classes and equipment have all been done before. They're done well in M&M7; they're just not anything we haven't seen before.

   Plot is one of the best parts of this game. As with many American-Designed games, M&M7 is fairly light on plot; the story is largely mission based (go here and do this), and the series has always been prone to mix Fantasy with Sci-Fi, but the best part of the plot is the element of choice. You can choose good or evil, and how to direct the growth and political stature of the village you govern. You can choose almost any path you want, and THAT is what makes M&M7 a good game. The sheer number of things that are possible with the game is Might and Magic's biggest draw.

   The replay value is, therefore, pretty damn amazing. So far I have played through it no less than five times, an amazing feat for me, and I have yet to see everything. The gripe that I have with the game is thus - that there are too many classes that are very similar, and not enough races to choose from. The game has Humans, Dwarves, Elves and Goblins. All very nice, but I want more. I want something new, and unfortunately, M&M isn't the best place to ask for it.


Who decided we wanted to fight in the small intestine?
Who decided we wanted to fight in the small intestine?  

   Another place where M&M7 feels dated is in the visuals. Even a good computer and a 3D accelerator can't change the fact that the visuals are all painfully polygonal. The character models all look fine, yet far too flat, like a 2D illustration pasted onto a 3D background. Well, that is pretty much what they are.

The difficulty for M&M7 is variable - medium to very hard, depending on what party you choose and what skills you give to them. Time to complete is variable, too, because certain parties will progress through the game faster than others. Add to this the fact that the game continues well after the ending, and you've got a game that could potentially go on forever.

Overall, Might and Magic 7 is an above-average game that could have used a bit more work to make is great. The element of free will was a great addition to the game, but (as is often the case) it was not taken far enough. Kiss or kill seem to be the only two choices here, where true free will (kiss, kill, or some combination of the two) would have made M&M7 a more complex, and, ultimately, more enjoyable game.




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