Dark Messiah of Might & Magic

Wednesday 12 July 2006
You should have already seen just how exciting Dark Messiah of Might & Magic's action-packed combat is - just check out some of the footage on our movies tab - but now we've finally had a chance to thrash about in one of the game's single-player levels. And we're pleased to tell you that the orc-bashing feels fantastic.

Dark Messiah has a pleasing grittiness to skirmishes that highlights the game's differences to fellow first-person fantasy game, Oblivion. This is a brutally physical experience, where your primary concern is bashing the daylights out of your ugly-faced enemies, and it's a more focused adventure than Oblivion's monolithic rambling.

You've an incredible number of options for violence at your armoured fingertips. One-on-one fights can be exhausting, or clinically quick, depending on how you use your varied arsenal of weapons, spells and the environment that surrounds you. And scraps with gangs of opponents regularly feel like scenes from a Bruckheimer-produced summer blockbuster.

Above: Enemies will hurl you around if you don't protect yourself

Take our experiences for example. Alerting a band of cleaver-wielding orcs, we climb to a higher platform and attack with our bow. But these meat-heads aren't totally brainless, jinking left and right to dodge our arrows. While we're distracted, one of the four orcs has found a nearby ledge and leaps across to our platform, crashing his blade down as he lands.

Fortunately there's a neat kick attack that boots anything and anyone at close range. So, as the orc charges we let loose with a hefty punt and send him sprawling backwards on to a wooden platform - which is where your terrific interaction with the environment comes in. We slash out and cut a rope nearby, releasing a weighty lantern that crashes into the platform and demolishes it. Bye, bye Mr orc.

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.