The other real cost of it all is the other real allowance: your time. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Clash of Heroes is almost alarming in the amount of content that it offers. The RPG-esque campaign mode is split up into five chapters and follows one of the generals through a standard high fantasy adventure. Each different subsection can last anywhere from three to seven hours apiece, though, and even though the campaigns offer variation on the actual battles (more puzzle-like bouts where the amount of turns is limited and battles with bosses that are moving targets, for example), going all the way through can make things a little tedious.
While it is fun (at least, at first), everything about the campaign seems to point you toward playing competitively online. Finishing each section of the story unlocks various artifacts with different, battle-changing abilities, new generals with their own unique special attacks, and a unique high-level troop to take online and play in 1v1 or 2v2 dominance. During the story sections, each character – as they would in any RPG – starts at a low level with a minimal amount of troops to call into battle and very little when it comes to unit variation. The online modes do away with that altogether by starting both generals and their units at their level cap with the option of bringing in what they are rewarded with by toughing through the campaign.
For the most part, finding online matches is a painless process. Standard hosting, searching, and quick matches are all there, but lobbies are noticeably absent as are spectator options. Since this isn’t really the kind of game that necessarily demands those, we can give Capybara a pass on this one. Still, players won’t have any trouble finding some fitting (and stable) competition on whatever console they choose to play it on.
This online matchmaking mode is also the main difference between the new HD remake and its handheld predecessor, but you may not even know it. The graphics looks great in high definition: monsters and knights alike animate fluidly and look crisp, and the widescreen format brings out subtle nuances like flowing scarves and waiving hair that would be tough to see in the palm of your hand. Compared to the audio, though, the graphics are just a minor upgrade. The music in this downloadable version of the game showcases rousing battle themes and even moving character motifs that the DS couldn’t come close to matching. Trust us: the music is worth the fifteen bones alone. Certain minor tweaks were also made to some units’ attack and defense properties. While most of these are nerfs, it doesn’t curb the fun of the game in any way.
Load times are also somewhat frequent and can feel a bit lengthy. While this is kind of a small potatoes complaint given the greatness of the overall package, it isn’t so uncommon that you’ll click on your next battle and wander off to grab a drink while it does its thing.
So far, this has been a pretty darn good year for games in general, and especially for downloadable ones. Stuff like Stacking, Beyond Good and Evil HD, and Torchlight for XBLA are setting pretty high standards for what’s available electronically for consoles. Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes stands proudly in that lineup. Not only does it stack up to its handheld counterpart, the online multiplayer and upgraded audio/visuals help exceed it.
Apr 26, 2011