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Heroes of Might and Magic V

We aren't quite sure what makes Heroes of Might and Magic V - a turn-based strategy game set in a splendorous world - peg the needle so high on our hype detector. Perhaps it's the incredibly deep lore stemming from its roots as a tabletop role-playing game. Maybe it’s the fanatical fan base that is rabidly following the resurrection of a franchise long thought dead to the video game universe. Or, it could be the massive, gorgeous 3D world that replaces the 2D look of past games in the series. We can't quite put our finger on what it is, be we got our mitts on a preview version of Heroes of Might and Magic V that showed us despite Heroes ' great new looks, it remains accessible and fun.

We entered the Heroes world as Queen Isabel, who must face a demonic invasion by raising an army from scratch. This gave us ample opportunity to play in Adventure mode and travel the countryside, taking in the shockingly beautiful  Might and Magic world. The Adventure mode is like a board game, in which you'll collect resources for your army while admiring your hero from all sides. Controls were nicely mouse-focused, and after learning a couple of keyboard shortcuts, we were off to start some trouble.

When you do get in a scrap, you'll go to the battle screen, which is a mixed bag as far as strategic depth goes. While full of lush, graphical splendor and easy on the eyes, it's also a bit too easy on the brain, at least early in the campaign.

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