With the release of Might and Magic: Heroes VI, I thought now would be a good time for us to take a look at what may be the best turn based strategy game of all time: Heroes of Might and Magic 3. Coming out in 1999, with two expansions: Armageddon’s Blade, and Shadow of Death both coming out within the next year.
Heroes 3 prettymuch uses the same formula as most turn based strategy games use: Build Town, Build Army, Collect resource nodes, attack enemy. However, the diversity of factions within Heroes 3, the unique styles of each town type’s specialized heroes, and the distinct styles with which one could build a hero made the game truly fantastic – in fact I still to this day go back and play it every so often. The game, and each expansion, include several campaigns – each of which contains hours of content and a pretty good, if fairly slow-paced, story.
The graphics are of course a bit out of date, but since it’s 12 years old, that is expected. But even in their own day, they weren’t top-notch, but nobody really cared about graphics all that much in these genres so it, of course, took second place to the core of the game: the single player campaign, the multiplayer modes, and the map editor. The Heroes 3 map editor was both very simple and very intricate, containing the ability to set up scenarios from single-hero almost adventure-style games to maps that would give you the biggest armies you could imagine and everything in between. By today’s standards it’s a pretty basic map editor, but some of the things people made with that are incredible. You can actually find zipfiles online that contain hundreds of Heroes of Might and Magic 3 maps, if you look for them.
The single-player contained near-endless replayability through maps created by the developers and fans, and through a ‘random map generator’ that they implemented in one of the expansions. However, it also had a multiplayer featuring both competetive and cooperative map options – but don’t step into the multiplayer unless you have days to spend on it, and something else to do – each person does their turn in sequence, and the turns can take 10-15 minutes each; so you’ll be waiting while your allies and opponents do their turns – computer players take much much less than that to do their turns, so it’s not as noticable in the single player.
All told, this game is widely considered to be the greatest game in the Heroes series – pre-Heroes 6, the verdict’s still out on that one – and one of the most well-made and fantastic Turn Based Strategy games ever made, so if you’ve an interest in the genre, and an interest in seeing a true classic, here’s one to take the time for.
Written By: Sean