Tuesday 18 July 2006
After being charmed by the lively goblin bashing action of its single-player mode, it was with beard trembling excitement that we sat down recently for a hands-on with Dark Messiah of Might and Magic's multiplayer to discover what this fantasy action treat has tucked up its mage's sleeve for gamers who like to play in force.
First up, the basics: up to 32 players can opt to side with either human or undead factions and can fight as one of five character classes - archer, mage, assassin, warrior or priestess. There are five maps that can be occupied while slogging it out in deathmatch, team deathmatch or - the mode we sampled - Crusade.
M and M's big multiplayer party trick, Crusade is best described as a game of territorial tug-o-war. Linking all five maps together and always staging the first battle on the middle map (Border Keep), teams must push the opposing faction back to its last line of defence (two maps away from Border Keep) and defeat it in order to win the overall campaign.
Maps are won by taking capture points and teamwork is definitely the name of the game - a well balanced, well organised faction will quickly gain the upper hand. Of course, character classes provide the usual selection of long range (archer, mage) and short range (warrior, assassin) attack options, while the fantasy-theme is well served by an abundance of magical jiggery-pokery.