Dark Messiah of Might and Magic review

  • Fast-paced multiplayer action
  • Matches of Coliseum
  • Superb AI
  • Short single player campaign
  • Getting stomped by veteran players
  • New skills often arrive too quickly

Dark Messiah is built around the same game engine that powers Half-Life 2 - called Source - and while the visuals don't quite live up to the resplendent details of HL2, Dark Messiah borrows liberally from its visual palette. Thanks to Source, DM offers plenty of realistic effects like light bloom and High Dynamic Range (HDR) lighting. HDR lighting approximates the blinding effect when your iris closes as you look at very bright areas. These special effects layered on thick drama when we slipped out of shadowy areas and crossed into bright ones too quickly. Springing out of a cargo ship's gloomy hold had us stumbling blindly about on the deck and straight into the arms of four necromancer guards - and scrambling for the reload key.

Once the bodies and limbs start flying about (and they do, with exaggerated effect), Half-Life veterans will smile inwardly with fond familiarity for the grim game mechanics - despite the fantasy setting. Spells and weapons feel uncannily similar to projectile-based ones, making the fantasy transition intuitive and fun. We also had a devilishly good time creating workplace accidents for guards and creepy enemies. DM is absolutely lousy with rickety platforms, unstable overhead storage, loose chandeliers - you get the idea.

As for role-playing, Dark Messiah has a skill tree that is well-developed and full of divergent paths. You'll receive 'skill points' that can be applied to one of three areas: magic spells, fighting abilities and overall stat boosts like increased stamina and trap detection. However, new skills and spells arrived a little too quickly once the middle arc of the story really got rolling. Just when we thought we’d gotten the hang of a new ability or spell, we needed to manage two or three more. Leapfrogging through the skill tree was a nice counterpoint to the grind-y plod through Oblivion, but the quick progression made the short story feel even more crammed.

All in all, this was a fun romp that we wish was longer. However, the short single player game may turn into a silver lining if players try and extend their Dark Messiah experience and fill up the multiplayer servers. Multiplayer Messiah is literally an entirely different experience - complete with a separate developer -  layered on top of the single player adventure. Matches are made over Valve's Steam network, and this fantasy multiplayer component will push your preconceptions of what class-based team multiplayer can be.

More Info

Release date: Oct 24 2006 - PC (US)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Arkane Studios, Kuju Entertainment
Franchise: Might and Magic
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Partial Nudity


  • grimhipper - August 22, 2014 12:14 a.m.

    Request for a revival of multiplayer [Dark Messiah of Might & Magic] First of all I would like to apologize that I make a mess on your forums by posting non-related content, but I am really desperated. I know that dead multiplayer is very common among non-popular games, but it happens only due to low promotion and no developer support. I would like to mention that Dark Messiah Multiplayer experienced all of these bad thing from developer (Ubisoft) support or even worse. No updates, no developer support, bug users, exploits, cheaters and active crashers community, which love to ruin servers by dosing/ddosing/flooding them. Furthermore, Ubisoft turned off stupidly master server browser and now no servers show up, but servers are still online! (more info below). Even our asks for some fixes directly sent in petition form didn't change anything. Most of you might not give a shit about my butthurt, but I wrote here and in many other places to gather players, old, new to bring old good times from Dark Messiah. My request was also put there just because official Dark Messiah Multiplayer community is dead. Lets do something positive and bring together old good times for Dark Messiah! Sorry for self-promotion, but that guide is new and I would like to show other dark messiah players that servers still exist. If you are interested, click on the thumbnail below. [url][/url] Best wishes. GRIM
  • hullonotna - June 6, 2011 10:59 p.m.

    Thank you so much for this review. I picked up this game as sort of a bored pass the time game and I am glad I did. The only true game (aside from the actual heroes of might ad magic series) that I played for a long time. It is truly a great game with enough scares and shocks to thrill anyone. The campaign was great and I found myself thinking over every move I made and enemy I killed. Loved the fact that enemies don't give you exp when they die, so killing is optional and can be avoided. Then there is the multiplayer. Honeslty some of the funnest multiplayer I had on PC is a while. It is a shame that not a lot of people play but when they do 2 hours go by like they don't exist. Overall it truly is a great game that should not be missed by any gamer. Shame it isn't very popular. Thank you gamesradar for actualy writing a review that this game deserves.

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