Dark Messiah Might and Magic

Although the title might make you think of the song made popular by Linkin Park it is also a very simple explanation of what Ubisoft wanted to do with the game we are reviewing today – Dark Messiah Might and Magic. The Might and Magic saga is as old as anyone can remember and it all started with Jon Van Caneghem and his fantasy title called King’s Bounty. Although the game didn’t get the attention it deserved it eventually led to something that cannot be denied by anyone who has played a strategy or RPG title bearing the Might and Magic name.

Throughout the series, Enroth and Erathia have always been split and in the same time united by the two defining genres that made up the Might and Magic universe. This left Ubisoft wondering as to there should they go after acquiring the franchise in August 2003. One decision was set to appeal to the old fans while the latter was set to bring a new twist to the franchise. With Dark Messiah Might and Magic Ubisoft decided to break the habit and now this offspring is here to show the world what it can do.

Find out whether the Might and Magic name can establish itself as an action-RPG or simply falls short when it comes to breaking new ground. Page 2 up next!
Ubisoft wanted Dark Messiah to be as massive as possible in the players’ eye and one of the first things showing it is the actual size of the game. With today’s games ranging from 1.5 to about 5 (F.E.A.R. anyone?) GB the new Might and Magic child protégé eats up as much as 7 GB, not a small number no matter what hard drive resides in the gamers’ computer. All right, delete a couple of movies, burn a few CDs or DVDs and that’s it; but what about the rest of the system requirements? The game is built upon an improved version of the very popular Source engine from Valve also used on games like Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike Source and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines which might lead to the belief that Dark Messiah is a is very scalable and will be able to run on a wide variety of hardware. Unfortunately this isn’t the case here.

Although its requirements don’t go thru the roof a smooth experience will either mean a fast computer or a lot of compromises to the games’ graphics. Overall, 1 GB of RAM can really do wonders (and it’s still quite minimal) of course if it’s backed up by a current generation mid-range graphics card and a decent CPU. With all that out of the way we can finally enjoy the beautiful world of Ashan. The game world is certainly a delight for the player’s eye with a good polygon count, detailed characters (and creatures) and lots of sweet HDR (high dynamic range) spots to stare at. Taking a break from the quest to admire the scenery will happen often and lots of small but lovely details can be observed at a closer inspection. The Arkane team has literary pushed Source to its limits and the result is on par with anything offered in 2006. To be the devil’s advocate, there are a few glitches here and there that can either be attributed to a rush in development or simply the brick wall of Source’s possibilities but overall the game doesn’t at all disappoint when it comes to graphics.

For those who like to listen to the games’ soundtrack instead of the usual mp3 playlist while playing, Dark Messiah just clicks in place. The soundtrack is the work of Sascha Dikiciyan and Cris Velasco and it manages to fuse the two major components of gameplay in a great way. A smooth and classic sound is used throughout the course of the players’ travels while a brutal and primitive tone is unleashed when the character finds himself in battle. Of course, the score is sometimes interrupted by the creatures and characters in Ashan but without ruining it. Their comments (and growls) are great to listen to and aren’t at all annoying and repetitive as the quest moves forward. We came, we saw, we heard and now we conquer.