Warriors of Might and Magic Hands-On

3DO granted us an exclusive playable build of its upcoming adventure RPG, Warriors of Might and Magic.

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3DO's upcoming Warriors of Might and Magic seems to be taking a rather combat-heavy form for its upcoming release. The build we recently received from the company - while still a little buggy - allowed us to get a decent feel for the game.

Warriors of Might and Magic puts you in the role of Alleron, a warrior native to the land of Ardon. Alleron has been falsely accused of practicing the heinous discipline of necromancy - a crime punishable by banishment, or worse, in his native land. Thus is the catalyst for the adventure: Decreed guilty by the powers that be, Alleron is cast into his native city's monster-ridden sewer system. Forced into wearing the cursed Mask of Shadows, Alleron must find his way out of the creature-infested sewers, in hopes of eventually clearing his name. Needless to say, greater causes will present themselves as the game progresses.

In-game, the sewer-system seems enormous and expansive, and quite pleasantly detailed. Right off the bat, the game thrusts you into action; as Alleron is initially unarmed, the game's initial phases consist of your finding improvised gear with which to equip Alleron. As you traverse the circular chamber, you eventually find a bone (which functions as a makeshift club), a small shield, and a book that grants you access to a fireball spell. Once equipped, you're made to battle the abominations that dwell amongst the slime and refuse. D&D players will note that the creatures bear a striking resemblance to the otyugh, one of the TSR's more infamous - not to mention filthy - creations.

Warriors' control scheme seems quite functional. Both the X and the circle buttons let you attack, though each button's outputs differ slightly. Attacking with the X button results in a vertical lunge, while the circle button yields a horizontal slash. Hitting each button repeatedly lets you perform various combo attacks, but mixing the attack buttons yields different results. The triangle button lets Alleron jump, while the square button is reserved for magical effects - the fireball spell we were allowed to sample produced a small, local explosion, which damaged all creatures in its area. Lastly, the shoulder buttons serve to activate your shield-parry, and they serve as a standard action command, which you'll use to interact with the environment.

While the version we played was a fairly early build, some gameplay issues were still present. Many of the combat features that 3DO had spoken to us about earlier haven't been implemented yet. Regardless, Warriors of Might and Magic leaves one with the impression that the final product could definitely be compelling, provided enough time is spent perfecting its systems.

Graphically, Warriors seems functional. The game's environments boast decent textures, and the character models are definitely interesting in design. Many of the graphical effects - such as spell, lighting, and shadow effects - are present in early form, and they look to be taking decent shape. The game's level architecture is most interesting, as many of the otherwise wide, dull chambers are peppered with all sorts of random elements, which give them much character and style. Jutting beams of junk, sporadic mounds of debris, and all manner of other obstacles are found in the game's rank sewers, adding much variety to their layout.

All told, it definitely seems as if Warriors of Might and Magic is coming along as planned. Though the build exhibited a healthy share of bugs, we're sure that enough time in the shop will yield an impressive product. We sincerely hope that 3DO will spend enough time polishing the game, as the systems in play could potentially make for a great game. Warriors of Might and Magic is currently scheduled for a late December release.

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