EVERYTHING has changed. Different and might not be for everyone. Will dissapoint many but please others as well.

User Rating: 8.5 | Heroes of Might and Magic IV PC
Like alot of you, I abosolutely adored Heroes 3. When I first played this one, the fourth, I was pretty dissapointing just like the whole lot of you. The first thing that struck out at me was that the towns were absolutely horrible looking. Where did the photorealism of the impressive cities of Heroes 3 go!? The units too were very dissapointing. The different creatures of H3 were incredibly remarkable to look at and were always very intimidating (there is nothing more demoralizing than a having a large stack of Dread Knights gallopping in for what would no doubt be a devastating blow..).Regardless, I tried to play the game and whoa! It struck me. This really IS NOT Heroes 3 anymore. The game in all aspects it seems has taken on a style of its own. To my pleasant suprise, I found myself preffering them to Heroes 3. While the gameplay of the two games shouldn't be compared as to which was better, both have had something fun to offer and quite frankly I am glad they decided not to clone the last games gameplay.

While the graphics have taken a turn for the cartoony, they are nontheless quite charming. Many will say that a great many of the animations are silly looking and yes I will agree that a great number are indeed when compared to the grittiness and brutality that the units seemed to posses in H3. While definately the weakest point of the game in my opinion, the graphics are still pretty decent and enjoyable to watch. The battlefields and nearly everything are no where near as awe inspring and gorgeous looking as in its predecessor but I found that I had to forgive it in the end because it simply felt like it all fitted and worked for what it was.

The music is definately my favourite part about the game. Every place you go has a very memorable track. As in all things, the style here is very different from the last game and the music definately stood out as something that has taken on a completely different tone. Particularly with the regional tracks, the music was much more intimate I just felt it touched at the heart more than in the previous game whose tracks tried to be more atmospheric. The tracks here are atmospheric too but in a very different way. A much less grittier approach and one that makes the world seem more fragile and beautiful whereas in 3 it was about making the world seem more hostile and dangerous (the town music in 3 however was very awe inspiring to say the least however).

I don't want to really talk about the gameplay in this one much more (yes I'll say it once again...it is much different!) but I have to say it is still very enjoyable. I found it very fun having my Hero fight alongside my army (at first your hero will be VERY weak but later you could make it take on forces all by itself potentially!). The battles seem to take a lot longer than in 3 but I do feel they have an extra coating of depth to them despite not having upgradable units.

The last thing I want to say about this one is that I was extremelly pleased with the story!! The stories in 3 were good and very epic at times but personally I never felt sympathetic with the characters at all. Here however, I felt VERY immersed with all the excellent characters introduced and felt like I really did care about them. Despite having virtually no cutscenes to speak of the stories here were all extremelly touching no matter which campaign you played in. If you are not into story and usually skip the lengthly message boxes that appear in missions you will definately be missing a wonderful part of the game with which it did a truly excellent job with. Whether you are the noble Lysander trying to reclaim the throne or a half-dead lich living in isolation in a world that hates you and hunts for you there is always great emotion to be experienced here if you are the type who cares about the events taking place in games like this.