Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes Hands-On Preview

The latest installment in Ubisoft's fantasy series is coming to the DS, and we had a great time exploring the mysterious world and characters of Ashan.

After appearing in numerous PC and console titles, the Might and Magic universe is being brought to the Nintendo DS by Ubisoft and developer Capybara Games. Clash of Heroes takes place in the fantasy world of Ashan, a land populated by elves, knights, wizards, and necromancers. The game features several playable characters, but you'll learn the ropes as the elven warrior Anwen, and we recently spent some time with him for our first hands-on preview.

The game’s story starts with a bang. A link to the parallel demon world of Sheogh has been opened during a recent lunar eclipse, and it has plunged the peaceful Ashan into darkness. The forces of good once held a powerful weapon known as the Blade of Binding, which bends the will of demons to that of the sword's master. However, in the game's opening sequence the blade is stolen, and it's up to you to find it before it's too late.

Clash of Heroes' turn-based strategy is played on both screens. Your army is presented on the bottom screen, and your opponent's army is on the top. Units are ordered into eight vertical rows, and you need to maximise their effectiveness by grouping similar units together. Vertically lining up three of the same unit type and colour will create an attack formation, whereas a horizontal row will result in a defensive wall that your forces can stand behind. Adding another three units to either formation will combine the two groups to make a more powerful one. The catch, however, is that you can only move units that are at the bottom of the screen, and you have a limited number of moves per turn.

While you have a limited number of units at your command, you can call in reinforcements to fill your population to its capacity. Our forces included elven archers, bears, pixies, deer, and dragons, whereas the enemy forces consisted of demons and evil knights. The type and colour of replacement units are random, making gameplay feel like a puzzle game at times. Deleting miscoloured units in between those of the same colour results in an attack formation, with the added bonus of giving you an extra move. You'll lose health if you unsuccessfully block an attack, but you can do the same to the enemy. You can also create link attacks by forming columns of the same colour and unit, which results in an attack bonus. The more links you create, the higher the attack bonus, and the wealth of tactics at your disposal means that there are plenty of different possibilities for battle.

Our elite units included deer and druids, and they can substantially increase your attacks. Their numbers are limited, however, and if they are depleted you have to purchase more of them at the end of the battle. Combining champion units such as dragons with four regular units of the same colour will unleash a devastating champion attack. Your hero also has a special hero attack, which in Anwen's case is the sniper shot. This powerful arrow can be fired once the champion attack meter has been filled up. You can fill up the meter by successfully attacking or defending.

Each successful battle rewards you with XP and with gold that can be used to buy new items. You encounter artefacts throughout Ashan, which also give you an additional bonus. One such bonus is the Ring of Vitality, which boosts your hero's health by 15 percent. You'll also find the Phoenix Feather, which will revive you once per battle with 25 percent heath. In addition to the main story, you can embark on side quests, such as a bounty hunter's task of eliminating roguish elves.

Pit Ashan's heroes against the hordes of evil.

The world of Ashan is well realised on the DS, and Capybara has put plenty of detail into the heroes, villains, and environments. The main characters all have their own unique personalities and expressions, while the colour palette is vibrant and the graphics are crisp. Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is due out on August 25. For more on the game, check out the just-published trailer and developer diary, and stay tuned to GameSpot for more Might and Magic news over the coming months.

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

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Discussion

44 comments
Dragoran123
Dragoran123

Looks like a good puzzle and RPG. I'll definitely give it a shot.

Marder-I
Marder-I

I'll give this a go I think, looks interesting!! Cheers Tom

VXLbeast
VXLbeast

INteresting, never heard of the franchise.

SuperMGirl
SuperMGirl

Good storyline, but I don't care for the grafics

lozvil
lozvil

Hmmm... Interesting...

Majin_Melzas
Majin_Melzas

Gonna get this one. Miss a good turn-based rpg. This might just be it :)

Jhraxlin
Jhraxlin

I've been reading up a bit more on this and it looks even more amazing, I really hope this does well. =)

Mo_food
Mo_food

poopinpat it's not the same series but it was originally made by the same company that made heroes of might and magic, new world computing.

poopinpat
poopinpat

nevermind after looking at the screenshots im not sure if this is the same series...is it the same series as heroes of might and magic 2 for the PC?

poopinpat
poopinpat

if u havent heard of this series its probably because its been around longer than you.

score89
score89

I have never herd of this series, i dont know if it is new or not, but it look like somethig diferent and entretaning,but still i need to know more about it

Jhraxlin
Jhraxlin

I'll keep my eye on this game. Hopefully it will be a very long and engaging game. Ubisoft is Midas of the gaming world so this should be good.

Lazule
Lazule

This looks like a good game but throws away the side view that MaM was so distinguished for. I still have MaM 1 and plan on adding this to my collection. Looks like a winner!

beavergod
beavergod

amazing!! must keep my eye on this one!! ;)

Renaissance7
Renaissance7

I'm looking forward to this game. The trailer looks beyond incredible and I hope that an animated television series will be created based on this game and that it will air on Cartoon Network. Hopefully there will also be a series of comics that tie-in with this game just as Warcraft has comics as well. I also hope that this marks the beginning of new Might and Magic games on the Nintendo DS.

Leonagard
Leonagard

mmmmmmmmmmmmmm marvelous!! cant wait to see it!! looks authentic fresh new gameplay style!! thats is what i need from a console DS is still my favorite one!! up to next gen boom graphics... the gameplay experiences are even better than Wii...

gatekeeper6838
gatekeeper6838

Yeah, might be worth looking into, but not as a Might and Magic game. The modern takes on King's Bounty and Heroes of Might and Magic at least kept the mechanics of the original games... it felt like you were playing a game from the Might and Magic series. This may be fun, but it's no M&M game.

d98603b
d98603b

Looks promising, i hope the touch screen controls are smooth enough.

joeythemachine
joeythemachine

What happened to the western illustration style? It looks like it could be good, but why does everything have to be homogenized into canned anime?

gandaf007
gandaf007

Looks cool, might have to pre-order it.

skunknuts
skunknuts

apolloooo, you have nothing to worry about. This isn't recognizable as a Might & Magic game in any way. They should have just dropped it from the title (except that the brand recognition might help them sell a few more units).

apolloooo
apolloooo

meh...never like this series!

kittenmanger
kittenmanger

looks kinda kiddish hope it turns out different than what it looks like

Arkady_16
Arkady_16

looks great, glad I got a ds now :)

theR34p3R
theR34p3R

Looks like a swell game. Different then the other M&M games, but will give it a try :D

SilentCard
SilentCard

Hehe, I'll give this game a shot if Sareth or Leanna have cameos! :D

WAIW
WAIW

Sleeper hit confirmed.

No_SuRReNDeR
No_SuRReNDeR

This game looks dope....large scale combat ....unique weapons....great characters and great visual style for ds-- i really think this game will be a smash hit! -- note to self--pre-order this game....

foxfire0666
foxfire0666

Im still waiting for homm6 but this looks pretty interesting, hope they dont mess it up

Bakutakamine
Bakutakamine

I wonder why they don't make new M&M games from the original series, the last few games in it... sucked, but none the less if anyone wanted to actually make it a RPG instead of a FPS they could

peachka2
peachka2

lol, I'm actually playing HOMM5:ToE right now. I don't have a DS, but I'm really glad Ubisoft is keeping this series alive, since it's one of my favourites.

froggyisland
froggyisland

wow im so happy to see a might & magic game on DS! ;) well..im a HOMM fan at least

kris1975
kris1975

THis will be great!!!! Its about time this franchise came to the DS.

androstrb
androstrb

looks very promising! Fun, yet complex ... Hope it brings back the former fame of M&M games

ChidoriBoyU
ChidoriBoyU

never played a might and magic game before,this one seems good but why did they make the graphics like old school games >.

ChidoriBoyU
ChidoriBoyU

never played a might and magic game before,this one seems good though why did they make the graphics like old school i hate those

CamiKitten
CamiKitten

I didn't know they were still making these games Q_Q