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Heroes of Might and Magic V review

Cut loose with a cadre of wild creatures and conquer the world

The Adventure mode is turn-based as well, but as alive and awash in motion as any action game. Finely detailed trees sway in the breezy countryside, oceans churn angrily and lava belches forth from magma-filled crags. Each campaign also receives an extremely stirring orchestral soundtrack that sticks in your head much longer than the cheddar-riffic dialogue does (thankfully).

If you discover and capture a city in the Adventure mode, you can build up its castle. As you add towers and structures to the castle, you'll gain access to ever more powerful creatures, and the ability to hire additional Heroes. Every new structure and building morphs onto the castle itself, and eventually transforms it into a majestic and towering monolith. Each faction has a wildly different style, and flying around fully decked-out castles are the coolest, most wallpaper-worthy moments in the game.

Fans of the series will welcome the returning favorite multiplayer modes like the Hotseat and Ghost battles. Hotseat allows two players' armies to duke it out on a single computer by taking turns. Ghost mode keeps players busy even when they are waiting for their opponent to move - by attacking them with "ghosts" and meddling with enemy movement and spells. New players will get sucked into the Heroes world with the easygoing Duel Mode, which hands each side a pre-packaged army and a powered-up Hero for quick one-vs-one online battles.

We had better luck playing multiplayer over a local area network (LAN) than we did online, however. Different versions and a buggy interface plagued multiplayer at launch, but an early patch is planned. This didn't bother us much; we are still trying to claw ourselves out from under the mountain of single-player content.

More Info

DescriptionThe Heroes world, a spell-hurling, swashbuckling, dragon-fire drenched arena battle, gets a splendiferous fantasy treatment in 3D.
US censor ratingTeen
Alternative namesHeroes of Might and Magic 5, HoMM V, HoMM V
Release date23 May 2006 (US), (UK)