Might & Magic X: Legacy Review

Tonight we're going to (assemble an adventuring) party like it's 1999.

You need to have the nostalgia gene to fully appreciate Might & Magic X: Legacy. I do, especially when it comes to role-playing games, so I did. But this is one of those "genre within a genre" retro affairs that self-consciously turns its back on modern conventions and embraces what us old folks were stuck with back in that antediluvian era known as the 1990s. Limbic Entertainment has created an old-fashioned RPG epic that might well have landed on some "best of" lists at the end of 1996. If you're the sort of person who fondly remembers a time before the Might & Magic name meant nothing but turn-based fantasy strategy, this game is for you.

Noting that M&MXL is not for everyone isn't necessarily an insult, either. On the contrary, it's clear from the very first moments of the game that the developers are trying to be as unfashionable as a pair of acid-washed jeans. Everything about this game can be traced back to first-person party-based RPGs from the 1990s, like the original M&M games, the Wizardry series, and even the Eye of the Beholder D&D line. The campaign setting of Ashan is all new for this franchise, however, having been ported over from Might & Magic Heroes right down to the goofy winged helmets. Oddly enough, this approach actually makes M&MXL more of a traditional fantasy game than its forebears, as the original M&M role-players blended spaceships in with their swords and sorcery. Still, the general objective seems to have been to create a new game that picks up right where this style of RPG left off about 15 years ago.

The M&MXL bestiary includes the usual roster of fantasy monsters and mythological creatures, like this manticore, which almost looks like a cute puppy dog about to tear your throat out at this angle.
The M&MXL bestiary includes the usual roster of fantasy monsters and mythological creatures, like this manticore, which almost looks like a cute puppy dog about to tear your throat out at this angle.

And that mission has been accomplished. Well, mostly. Several core components of the game are well done. There is a fair amount of choice when it comes to character creation, with four races and 12 classes (three per race) spread along the might and magic spectrums. Don't expect anything more revolutionary than the likes of dwarven defenders, human freemages, elven bladedancers, and orc barbarians in the beginning, but you have a lot of freedom to specialize once your party starts leveling up and you begin doling out points between attribute stats and skills. You can specialize in everything from maces and bows to a whopping seven schools of magic, allowing for the custom-crafting of almost any sort of heroic adventurer that you can dream up. The sheer amount of liberty even allows for some evolution during gameplay. I started off with an elven ranger who I thought would be good in ranged combat, but I eventually realized that she worked better as a second spellcaster who specialized in healing. A few levels later, and I had an impressive cleric wannabe curing poison and dishing out restoration incantations when she wasn't offing foes with her bow and arrow.

It's clear from the very first moments of the game that the developers are trying to be as unfashionable as a pair of acid-washed jeans.

Managing your party is more involved than in most RPGs, so you can't just storm off looking for adventure. First, you need to take care of business by buying food. Without it, you're not allowed to rest, which soon causes your party to grow tired and drop ability scores. You also need to rest to regain health and mana, because neither regenerates on its own over time. Not much of this is spelled out, and the tooltips offered up at the start of the game don't do much to explain the basics. All becomes clear if you're patient, though, or if you remember doing this stuff many years ago. Nevertheless, the game could use more hand-holding in the beginning.

Battles in M&MXL are spectacularly hard and unforgiving. It took three hours to beat these guys. Well, not really, but it felt that long.
Battles in M&MXL are spectacularly hard and unforgiving. It took three hours to beat these guys. Well, not really, but it felt that long.

Like most RPGs released when grunge was still a thing, M&MXL features a first-person camera and grid-based movement where you move one step at a time. This system works relatively smoothly. Yes, you're stuck with an odd perspective that forces you to view the world as if the party were crammed into a car and looking out through the windshield, and the entire four-person party has to trudge as one through dungeons and forests, like a tank bristling with battle-axes and magic wands. But you soon get used to navigating in such a restricted fashion.

Movement has even been improved from the days of yore. M&MXL features turn-based combat, so you can't gimmick the system. Back in the day, it was common to cheat through real-time battles with tricks like the Eye of the Beholder Two Step, where you would zip forward to hit a monster and then immediately retreat before it could hit you back. Here, you're locked into battle once an enemy closes and the fight begins. So instead of dipsy-doodling back and forth, you're stuck going toe-to-toe with the bad guys. This results in some grueling combat, since you have virtually no range of motion once melee combat has started and no ability at all to choose the better part of valor and run away.

Managing your party is more involved than in most RPGs, so you can't just storm off looking for adventure.

In some ways, the game goes too far. Not only does it take away the exploits common to first-person RPGs in the '90s, but it hammers away at you relentlessly (even at the lower "adventurer" setting). Combat is unforgiving right from the opening tutorial quest to clean spiders out of an underground lair. Monsters flank and surround you in almost every other fight, frequently spawning in out of nowhere to your rear. Just when you've got your hands full with that minotaur in your face, along come two more to hassle you from behind. Most monsters also have devastating special abilities. Almost every enemy has the ability to stun you, poison you, enfeeble you, petrify you, hit you with extra attacks, and more. Wolves and goblins can insta-kill party members if they get lucky. I don't recall an easy battle in the entire campaign. That sounds sort of fun and intense, but really, I could have done without titanic half-hour struggles to best the likes of two goblins, a couple of cavemen, and a pack of panthers.

Balance can be an issue in spots. You can easily run into enemies that will slice you to ribbons for not being at a high-enough level, like these nasty spectres.
Balance can be an issue in spots. You can easily run into enemies that will slice you to ribbons for not being at a high-enough level, like these nasty spectres.

M&MXL isn't impossibly hard, but the punishing difficulty can lead to tedium. You can (eventually) beat any monster, group of monsters, or even the game's collection of brutally tough bosses by thinking about what you're doing when it comes to strategizing and spellcasting. The extreme challenge is a natural fit for a revamped classic, but that doesn't make the occasional bitter pill of a battle easier to swallow. When actually playing the game, I was too busy cursing out the nagas or spiders gooning me from all sides to appreciate the retro character of the battle difficulty.

How dated M&MXL is in other areas is harder to appreciate. The story isn't particularly well developed. The opening preamble is about as exciting as listening to someone recite a tax return, and there isn't much of a tale told during the game itself. Your party consists of a bunch of heroes, oddly called "raiders," who are out to do good things for the human empire in a time of unrest. There isn't much role-playing to be had here; the game is a dry tactical affair where combat is the first order of the day, followed up by the odd puzzle.

Monster stock is limited. Areas and dungeons are populated by just a few specific types of creatures or human thugs, and the pace can drag because fighting the same fight over and over again. Loot isn't varied or particularly imaginative, either when it's dropped or when you check out what's available in shops. It gets better as you go, but there isn't a lot of memorable "gotta have it" gear. As a result, you can go for hours with few serious upgrades of weapons and armor. How items are doled out is also strange. Monsters don't tend to drop much when they're slain, but chests loaded with goodies and gold are strewn all over the wilderness like some kind of medieval take on geocaching.

Minotaurs aren't too hellish in a labyrinth, but you don't want to be surrounded by three or four of them in a forest.
Minotaurs aren't too hellish in a labyrinth, but you don't want to be surrounded by three or four of them in a forest.

The throwback production values are as traditional as the adventure itself, though these elements have not aged all that tastefully. Animations can be choppy, especially in forests, and slowdown is a common occurrence in the wilderness and when there are multiple lighting effects on the screen at the same time. Sound is also sparse, with what seems like a handful of weapon and monster effects. Hero battle boasts like the orc warrior's "I kill you!" are repeated constantly. Even worse, your heroes shout their cries of sadness about being knocked out or killed a few seconds before the blow is actually delivered, so you get advance warning when somebody is about to be taken down. This makes battles a teensy bit anticlimactic.

Might & Magic X: Legacy is a somewhat successful trip back in time to an era when RPGs were both simpler and more complicated than they are today, and a lot more demanding of players when it came to combat. If nostalgia drives you to visit this particular kingdom, you'll not likely regret the time spend there. If your good old days weren't brimming with games of this nature, it's more difficult to appreciate the take-no-prisoners challenge and overlook the limitations.

The Good

  • Variety of classes and races allows for a lot of customization in party composition
  • Very challenging, both when creating and developing a party and during tactical combat

The Bad

  • Heavily dated production values
  • Spectacular difficulty occasionally leads to lengthy, tedious battles

About the Author

Veteran role player Brett Todd spent about 15 hours on might and another 15 hours on magic in the course of reviewing Might & Magic X: Legacy.
111 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Sixmoons

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Personally I really enjoyed MMXL and don't think it deserves so much criticism. Yes I agree the graphics are a tad dated, and yes I agree there could have been more 'epicness' to the game; but the fact is it's a really good game and adventure. One thing that annoys me is the negative view because it's too hard and the battles are too difficult. Well that's just pathetic. God forbid a game actually makes you think for a change, or doesn't hold your baby hand, or makes you earn your victories.

A solid 7 for sure.

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RawDeal_basic

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"...when grunge was still a thing."

People need to seriously stop saying that. It's fucking annoying as shit. It's an incredibly lame and trendy attempt at being ironic and sarcastic. You're neither.

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Ker01

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In my opinion is the worst game of the series . Elements copied from MM7 but without success, movement is difficile ( using the map you move better than fielding ).

They have no excuse that they did in 2014, a game so bad , worse than the one made 15 years ago. The old atmosphere is one thing, masochism is something else.I laughing when I think of MM7 and I see MM Legacy.
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lokar82

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Edited By lokar82

I agree with khorrhxe, I just started playing this game last week and am loving the combat challenge, I am playing on the hard difficulty level. Just beat the Earth Elemental boss and that was a tough fight. I haven't thought and planned this much about combat in an RPG since the mage battles of Baldur's Gate 2. Most games today are really dumbed down.


That being said, a lot of the bad of what this reviewer says is true. Graphics are not very good, your adventurers repeat the same comments while exploring a lot, it seems like the loading times are a lot longer than they ought to be and a lot of paths are closed off at the beginning for no apparent reason and how to get past the blocks isn't clear either. I would disagree that the loot isn't interesting, you get some great loot when killing a boss but it is true that you can go for hours without a significant loot upgrade.

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Khorrhxe

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Edited By Khorrhxe

Here I am playing Might & Magic X. Why? Well, combat in M&M is varied, strategical and bizarrely oblique. I love it. It's super cheesy and wildly fun to play, especially on the harder difficult mode. Combat has always defined M&M as a vaguely interesting RPG franchise. Anything else in the game is pretty much bull. Yet the graphics and music in this newest incarnation are darn awesome for an M&M game. It has beauty. An awesome game for RPG lovers.

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thingta42

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I probably would have bought this game if it wasn't for the grid system, oh well, back to playing M&M7 for me it is.

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ImKrisJulio

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Found this game on facebook and searched it to google. This looks awesome and this game is on sale now.. Will try this one .. https://www.g2a.com/r/mightandmagicsale

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Zilched

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Edited By Zilched

I have played the game for sometime now, regardless of all that's been said here, I am enjoying the game, the exploration, the old school feel and the combat.

I've found you can move away from enemies if not attacked on multiple sides, the lighthouse boss fight requires you move, other battles you can position yourself by moving on your turn, once you use any characters ability you are locked in place for that turn.

I have no idea if someone who never played this style of game would enjoy it, if might shock some at first, but for me, a veteran of Dungeon Master on the Atari 1040ST, the game was throw-back heaven.

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skhirloloemr

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Very clunky. Unity amateur project. Frequent loading screens even on well specd machine.

If you havent played 6-8 do that.


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Djiel

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Edited By Djiel

Why oh why didn't they make it more like MM6?! In fact a proper HD remake of #6 would've been epic.

Besides the free movement, #6 had a lot of nice little details like the portraits (they got worse with every new installment, especially bad in #9 and they are boring static pics in here too).

I read a lot of times this was developed for the fans, yet I'm positive many people prefer #6 over any other game in the series and this game appears to be nothing like #6. Shame.

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Vambran

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Cons

- 30 Hours Main Quest ( 40 Hours All side quests )

- Killed everything in game with 10% EXP buff and only got to level 33.

- Did not get a single Epic weapon any of my party could use. And since nothing respawns and shops don't sell them....

- About 3 hard crashes ( once every 10 hours )

- Quest items are bugged ( can get duplicates and they spam the screen with updates even after you turn them in)


Pros

- Addicting combat

- Party management

- Graphics

Overall i liked it. Better then MM9 but not as good as MM6-8. Older games i never played.


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thorn3000

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Edited By thorn3000

@Vambran did I not used to have a comment here, which had no swearing or such?...

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kos_tek

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Edited By kos_tek

@Vambran I dont know what party You have but ive found at least couple of weapons of each type (sadly only one dagger). 1 Heavy armor, 2 mediums 1 cloth ant at least 2 boots and bracers. Also, you can buy one relic in slums. About Your lvl - i think game was designed to end at 30-33. Ive done every single quest in the game and have problem with just one - Jissad Bestiary - i think its a good thing in newly released game.

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jelake

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I too wish it would have been a free movement type of game like VI-IX, but I still love the M&M character advancement system of Novice, Expert, Master, and Grandmaster levels of skills. They really give you a sense of advancement in your character's power.


The graphics are fine too. I'm an old school gamer, I don't always need to have Skyrim-quality graphics.

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thorn3000

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@jelake don't know what everybody complains about the graphics, they were fine, when combat, story or atmosphere (any of those 3) suck you in you don't care about graphics anyway, they are just a touch above

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jbattja

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I would have preferred they would have chosen the style of M&M VI, VII, VIII, instead of the older versions. I liked the "free" movement of those versions much better than the grid-based movement of the older versions.


Also, I can't really imagine these kind of games without those cheap exploits we all used back then. Some monsters were nearly undefeatable without such an exploit.

Still appreciate the M&M love, though! As a kid I've spend nearly a full life time on these games.

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tempertress

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tempertress  Staff

@jbattja Like flying above all the gorgons in Ravage Roaming and knocking them off when they couldn't touch you? Good times.

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wrednajasobaka

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@tempertress @jbattja Was it one of the M&M games where you could have just kept casting earthquake spell and all monsters on the map, even ones not visible to you would take damage?

I remember friend of mine just kept resting and casting that spell and finally walk the map to collect loot.

Right, good ol' times. :)

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Torquille

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@wrednajasobaka @tempertress @jbattja Ravage Roaming, that is Might and Magic VIII. I always liked VII and VI more, but in VIII, you could have dragons in the party, which was quite cool of itself (or is in my case, as I am still playing them) ;)

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invinyourfuture

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@jbattja Meh all monsters were defeatable. Its just that, just like with Wizardry and Shin Megami Tensei - you needed to grind a lot and make smart decisions at every turn, which, I personally miss in games.

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wrednajasobaka

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Edited By wrednajasobaka

@invinyourfuture @jbattja That's the part that really ticks me off about M&M X. Not only grinding/ constant saving and loading part, but also bestiality system is pretty stupid. When you need the information the most you know nothing, and after you defeat few monsters of that type and you know resistances and etc. chances are you have leveled enough so that that information is less useful.


I wouldn't mind if it was forcing you to make smart decisions but I feel in this game it's more about trial and error and getting lucky.

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thorn3000

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@wrednajasobaka @invinyourfuture @jbattja honestly most resists can be predicted very easily....

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kevlarcardhouse

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Edited By kevlarcardhouse

I love how about 75% of the people complaining in the comments also make it astoundingly clear they only read the "+" and "-" parts at the end and made assumptions on what it means without reading the review.

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Doomerang

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What if the tax return was recited by Morgan Freeman?

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Erebus

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Edited By Erebus

@everyone: in response to the review and many comments:


Inferring that one needs rose-tinted goggles to enjoy Might and Magic X: Legacy is quite misleading.

This game is quite good, maybe even great! It's not nostalgia that makes it good, but a well designed game for the sub-genre in which it resides. It's similar to "old-school" M&M games in many respects, but Legacy stands on its own.

After having spent no more than 25 hours with the final release, I already find the review heavily biased, and even false.

First, the editor implies this game would appeal only to old-school dungeon crawler fans. That really doesn't even make sense. Have you played World of Xeen lately? That game is truly a relic of the past. If you weren't writing notebooks of logs, maps, and data, you had literally no chance of success. I lack the patience for such endeavors, and so I never got into the old-school M&M or Wizardry games. That's right; I don't like old-school dungeon crawlers.

This game, however, lavishes you with an annotatable auto-map, automatic quest logs, full item stats with easy comparisons, an intuitive and easy interface, and many more modern amenities. On the other hand, Legacy and older M&M games do have open-world, turn-based, dungeon crawls with grid movement and less hand-holding. That does not mean this game is old-school, rather it's an alternate progression from old-school. There is a difference.

Now we approach the elephant in the room: challenge. This game is not hard. I'm not gloating or chest-thumping, this game is actually quite perfect in its challenge. If it were any easier, my occasional failure would turn into a mindless enemy mow-down. In fact, Legacy's challenge is probably its most gripping element. If you choose to ignore a sign that reads: Do not go in this cave because a Cyclops will eat you, you will learn very quickly this game isn't messing around.

Finally, we look at the inevitable comparison between M&M: Legacy and The Legend of Grimrock. While I enjoyed Grimrock to a point, Legacy has it beat in practically every respect. Combat is more balanced, exploration is more vast and rewarding, characters have more customization potential, the story and setting is deeper, the graphics and music don't even compare, the map and level design is better, the combat is more rich, and I could literally go on and on.... You can only argue a matter of taste so much here. Yet, Grimrock is hailed as a "great" game by Gamespot's standards while Legacy is only "fair." More like unfair. Review scores aside, the tone of these reviews read like "fun game" vs "not fun game."

This is a rather toxic review whose author failed to see the actual evolution found in Legacy. Most importantly, he missed the fun. Whatever occurred in the editor's past, he clearly dislikes this sub-genre of RPG. M&M Legacy isn't the "way-back machine," it's an alternate path taken from it.... It's not without its flaws, but it's at the very least a good game, maybe even a great one.

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thorn3000

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@Erebus you are right, I enjoyed Grimrock a great deal, but, when I take it overall I enjoy MMX more because of the vastness of the world compared to Grimrock (I know, it is not vast, but compared to Grimrock it is) and the different areas and outdoor elements....I gave Grimrock an 8.5 for being great, I honestly can't see this game anything less, it would be unfair...same goes for GS, how could they have given Grimrock a high score and this a low one? perhaps it something to do with expectation, nobody expected Grimrock to be anything so it made it look great the way it was, but a lot of people expected MMX to be something so when it turned out only good a lot of people might rate it lower...however this poison of comparison to older titles which are 10+ years older is not good, compare it to recent games and you get a pretty good RPG...

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wrednajasobaka

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@Erebus As somebody who loved playing M&M 3 and later, I strongly disagree. At times M&M X feels old school, but most of the times it's just poorly optimized, buggy, resource hogging mess. I'm getting ready to review this game after playing over 30 hours (a lot of that time loading and saving) and in all honesty I cannot give it more than 4/10. Even with graphics down to 90's level this game requires so much memory that it keeps crashing to desktop.


When it comes to the content, to me it feels like they didn't have enough time to design proper dungeons with enough monsters for you to level, so they opted for less but harder to defeat monsters. What they did focus on, it seems, is making sure that you have nicely rendered blades of grass. Which in the game likes this, on the grid movement throw back to 90's, seems like complete insanity.

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lindallison

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Edited By lindallison

@Erebus

Yeah Grimrock was fun, but I've never warmed to the real-time subgenre of the first person dungeon crawler, precisely because combat turns into this weird side-stepping meta game.

Todd thinks its peculiar to have all your characters maneuvering as one unit grid by grid, but at least in the turn based context party movement can be understood as an abstraction that's inapplicable to actual combat strategy.

In a real-time title its both essential and quite ridiculous to be dancing around like some kind of synchronized school of fish.

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Leykis

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Edited By Leykis

Maybe Brett Todd shouldn't have been the guy to review this game. Sounds like he wasn't even alive in the 90's to experience these type of role-playing games.

As someone who loved the early Might & Magic and Wizardry series, I'm having a blast with the game so far. The soundtrack is well done and the story draws you in. So far the gameplay offers a pretty deep and challenging experience, something that's been missing in most RPG's of the last decade.

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Setho10

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@Leykis Did you actually read this review or just look at the score and judge? You only have to read the very first sentence to know that Brett was not only alive in the 90's but a fan of the early games.

"
You need to have the nostalgia gene to fully appreciate Might & Magic X: Legacy. I do, especially when it comes to role-playing games, so I did. But this is one of those "genre within a genre" retro affairs that self-consciously turns its back on modern conventions and embraces what us old folks were stuck with back in that antediluvian era known as the 1990s."

It's almost like he was trying to be an impartial critic and judge a game based on its quality compared to its modern contemporaries and give a recommendation that would be applicable to the vast number of readers who didn't play these games like both he, you, and I did. He sums up the review by saying,


"If nostalgia drives you to visit this particular kingdom, you'll not likely regret the time spend there. If your good old days weren't brimming with games of this nature, it's more difficult to appreciate the take-no-prisoners challenge and overlook the limitations."

But, hey, just glance at the score and start insulting people instead of reading the actual review.

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Gelugon_baat

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Edited By Gelugon_baat

@Leykis

He was. His reviews, not just for GameSpot, go way back.

He just doesn't have rose-tinted glasses.

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Leykis

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Edited By Leykis

@Gelugon_baat No, he just doesn't know how to properly review old school games.

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Leykis

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@thorn3000 @Gelugon_baat What do you expect from an idiot who only looks at things through "rose-tinted" glasses.

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thorn3000

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@Gelugon_baat well, aren't you the one who can avoid answering a simple question, was interested to know if you think it is better than Grimrock or if it worse...

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Gelugon_baat

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@thorn3000

Well, aren't you one to fuss over numbers?

In case you don't realize already, Metacritic's aggregate score is not one that is clean of bias - in fact, all it did was lump all that bias together.

With that said, there will be one day when you find yourself an outlier, railing against a Metacritic aggregate that you find "unfair" and "illogical".

Then we will see whether you would still go to Metacritic.

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thorn3000

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Edited By thorn3000

@Gelugon_baat did not answer my question, do you think Grimrock was better or not? if you think it was not better, what have you rated Grimrock? if you rated Grimrock a certain number and you think this is better you must logically rate this higher, otherwise you are biased on expectations, same goes for reviewer...frankly I never go by GS, I rather go by metacritic as it pools reviewers instead of just basing your opinion on 1 reviewer, and if you look there, the GS review is actually the lowest...

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Gelugon_baat

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@thorn3000

With clarity or with rose-tinted glasses? You may think that there could not possibly be any bias on the part of an experienced reviewer, but I am not that naïve.

Also, Legend of Grimrock was reviewed by a different freelancer, who may well have different preferences.

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thorn3000

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@Gelugon_baat honestly do you think this game is worse than Grimrock? bear in mind that Grimrock got an 8.5 and I want to hear that this game is worse than Grimrock...which it is not...so why did it receive a lower rating? expectations? I though experienced reviewers would be able to shove those aside to look at thing with clarity...

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Gelugon_baat

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Edited By Gelugon_baat

@stan_hg

Yet there you have it: you already have mentioned something about the irony of your complaint - "a matter of taste".

Opinions vary, if you want a simpler statement of the point that I am trying to say.

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stan_hg

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@Gelugon_baat Example: You dont use word "dated", because this is a matter of taste, nothing is dated if iy works fine

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Gelugon_baat

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@Leykis

How does one "properly review" old games? I suppose that it has to be a way that you approve then?

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Dumachum

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Wtf is "Heavily dated production values"?

Was the author trying to say "game mechanics" and just didn't know what they were talking about?


Not that there is such a thing as "dated game mechanics" either. Something is only dated when it is obsolete and no longer offers ANY form of superior function. Turn based tactical like this has more depth and options than the real time phased combat of M&M6-8 and other games so it cannot be considered "obsolete or out of date".

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thorn3000

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@Dumachum correct sir, Wizardry 8 with it's turn-based goodness was for me the best RPG ever

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bigruss51

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@Dumachum The best rpgs for me where turn based. I wish FF13 was turn based.

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Might & Magic X: Legacy

First Released Jan 23, 2014
released
  • Macintosh
  • PC

Might & Magic X Legacy has you play in a party of four adventurers entangled in intrigue and political machinations unfolding in and around Karthal.

6
Fair

Average Rating

91 Rating(s)

6.7

Published by:

Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating. Appears only in advertising, marketing and promotional materials related to a game that is expected to carry an ESRB rating, and should be replaced by a game's rating once it has been assigned.
Rating Pending