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Game Info:

Heroes of Might & Magic III HD
Developed By: DotEmu
Published By: Ubisoft
Released: January 29th, 2015
Available On: Windows (reviewed), iOS and Android
Genre: Turn-based Strategy
ESRB Rating: Teen, Violence, Blood, Suggestive Themes
Number of Players: Single player and multiplayer
Price: $14.99 for PC, $9.99 for Android and iOS.  
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Thank you Ubisoft for sending us a copy of this game to review!

When I saw that Heroes of Might & Magic III (HOMM 3) was getting an HD remake I jumped at the chance to play it. I spent countless hours on the original game when I was younger. For months in middle school I would go over to my friend's house after school every day and play HOMM 3 co-op. We spent many hours wandering the map, capturing cities, building up cities, and trying to escape laughably large hordes of Naga. I hadn't seriously played the game since those middle school days and wanted to relive the glory with the HD edition! What I found was the same game I remembered, with slightly sharper visuals but missing content. 

When a game get's a "HD" version that abbreviation usually means "high definition." In the case of Heroes of Might & Magic III HD it really means "(slightly) higher definition." All of the sprites and backgrounds were enhanced and touched up for this game, so the visuals are definitely improved. There's an option in-game to change the graphics back to the original on the fly. This really shows just how muddy the old graphics are. The wonderfully dated CGI videos are still there, untouched. The HD edition also allows for 16:9 resolutions whereas the original only went up to 4:3. This is much better than the unofficial HD mod that exists for HOMM 3. That too allows for 16:9 but it just makes the windows in the game smaller. While the sprites are all new, little effort was put into enhancing their animations. Creatures still have the same herky-jerky movement from the original. Even still, this is the best looking incarnation of HOMM 3. 

Heroes of Might & Magic III HD
Highlights:

Strong Points: Nicely redone sprites, modern resolution settings, Steam integration
Weak Points: Missing two expansion packs worth of content
Moral Warnings: Large amounts of magic and fantasy violence, several usable undead and demon creatures

The gameplay is exactly the same as I remembered. The game starts with one hero and one town and the overall objectives are to explore the map, level up heroes, and capture other towns. There are a variety of other objectives in campaign modes. Heroes travel via horse or sometimes by boat and then switch to a grid system when fighting in turn based combat. The new developers managed not to mess up the gameplay nor introduce any new bugs that I've found. While this is hardly something that should be praised it is worth a note considering all the buggy games that have been released recently. Everything remains intact, even the somewhat limited options menu. What is new in the HD version is full Steam integration which is where the online multiplayer is found. I played a couple rounds of the online multiplayer and was not impressed. The delay between turns felt much longer than it needed to and with so many turns per game, that's a big issue. I started up a game of local multiplayer, just to see if it would work, and it does, so thankfully it can still be enjoyed the way I used to play. I'm not sure what multiplayer is like for the Android and iOS versions or if there is any kind of crossplay. 

The biggest dock against Heroes of Might & Magic III HD is that it's not Heroes of Might & Magic III Complete. Neither of the two expansion packs (Armageddon's Blade and The Shadow of Death) are included in the HD edition. That means that the 13 campaigns, Conflux faction, random map generator, creatures, heroes, structures, and artifacts that were added in these expansions aren't present. The Complete edition, which includes both expansions, was released over 14 years ago. It's reasonable to expect this content in a new "HD edition." According to Rock Paper Shotgun the reason that these were left out is because the source code has been lost. This isn't the fault of the current developers; however the end product will likely leave fans of the series feeling somewhat ripped off.

Heroes of Might & Magic III HD
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 70%
Gameplay - 10/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 64%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 8.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 0/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

As the name implies there is a lot of might and a lot of magic involved in the game.  The core of the game revolves around fantasy violence. Most of the heroes in the game wield magic, but they don't have to use it. The Necropolis is an entire faction of undead and several heroes can use necromancy to automatically raise slain creatures as skeletons. A few of the CGI videos feature a female hero in revealing armor. There is some blood when certain enemies die but not much. There are both angel and demon creatures in the game. The Inferno faction a large variety of devilish creatures that the player can fight, build or recruit. In some maps it's possible for a hero to upgrade an Inferno town to have a Deity of Fire, which is a large structure that resembles a demon and has a pentagram on it's chest. 

Heroes of Might & Magic III HD is not a bad game. It's same game from 1999, it just looks better on modern computers. However I cannot recommend the PC version to anyone who is a fan of the series. Heroes of Might & Magic III Complete exists, runs just fine and is easily available for less money than HOMM 3 HD. The only reason to buy HOMM 3 HD is for iOS or Android. I do not have a copy of either tablet version but assuming these run as well as the PC version they would be perfect games for those platforms. I find most tablet, and phone, games to be extremely shallow attempts at milking money out of the players. HOMM 3 HD would be perfect for on-the-go because of how easy it is to pick up and put down. The controls also lend themselves well to touch devices. My experience with this game was bittersweet; I enjoyed playing the game again, I just always had a nagging sense I was missing out. 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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