Heroes of Might and Magic IV: The Gathering Storm (2002)

Video Game  -  Action | Adventure | Fantasy  -  15 January 2002 (USA)
7.1
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Title: Heroes of Might and Magic IV: The Gathering Storm (Video Game 2002)

Heroes of Might and Magic IV: The Gathering Storm (Video Game 2002) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Melique Berger ...
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Mari Devon ...
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Evidently, when it rains, it doesn't always pour
29 June 2009 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

I base this review on the version of this that comes with the Complete release. This is the first of two expansion packs, the other being Winds of War. It starts with a CGI cut-scene(yeah, finally, neither of the ones for the third one had any!), introducing us to it. Sadly, that is still the only one(…oh… well, it's still cool, because it's pretty wicked looking). The tone is immediately set as being bleaker and darker than IV, if the colors beyond the menu are still bright and cheery-seeming. This holds six new campaigns, all connected to one another, one for each of the five new Heroes, and in the last one, only unlocked when the others are completed, much like in Shadow of Death, the second EP for The Restoration of Erathia. Face the Barbarian Gurt, and no, thus far it is unclear what reaction, if any, is triggered by calling out his name, followed by the words "klaatu barada nikto". Find yourself in the city of Elton, famous for its flashy sunglasses and the Tavern alive with a song about Bennie and something referred to as "the Jets". You are out to stop the mad wizard(hey, this genre and time period didn't have scientists, OK?) Hexis Huthoris(…OK, I made the surname up), whose evil deeds are perverting nature(!), which you get some visual of in this. Whether or not they are as big and/or as long as the others, I can't offhand say, but the levels sure aren't plentiful in this… there are 5 at the most per portion, and some only have three. In fact, that's kind of the thing about this one… it really adds the very bare minimum. Apart from almost two dozen scenarios, 3 of which(!) can be used for multi-player, as well as sixteen artifacts and combinations thereof(those are certainly always nice, thank you again, SoD), there's next to nothing fresh in this. Seven adventure objects, which sounds like more than it is, because it's just two types, both with variations. Four creatures. That's it. They're not even really that mythological or ones that make you go "oh, hey, I always hoped they'd put that in, sometime!". This time, there must really not have been an awful lot to add, which I can see being true. And this doesn't mess with what works. It would have been nice if this entirely fixed the minor stuff left undone. Well, you can't have it all. The Editor is updated with the things, and thankfully, the changes apply to the material already there, so you aren't entirely out of play time with this once you've beaten and explored what I've mentioned. Hey, at least this one stays entirely on one side, that of Good, I guess they were getting tired of the going back and forth. They've sure used it enough. There aren't particularly twists. Interestingly enough, this is the first to have little text at the beginning of the levels since III, since which it has seemed to grow, at times exponentially, with each entry. It also lacks the wisdom, and fortunately, with it went the cheese, of the original. The modern language is almost entirely devoid from this, meanwhile, when it's there, it sticks out like a sore thumb that is pointing at something or other. "Spiffy"? Seriously? The plot may very well be a sequel to #4, though I wouldn't necessarily say that it's necessary to know what happens in that to follow this. At all. There is now only voice briefings at the start and end of campaigns. That does leave little room for poor acting, of which there genuinely isn't really any. This is limited to only one story-teller, an all-knowing narrator, and absolutely nothing memorable or special is done with it, in stark contrast to what this is an add-on to. Frankly, this could almost have been a mission pack, and, let's be brutally honest, the reason it wasn't was probably that they might not be able to charge for it, or not as much. While I don't know what this retailed for, I can imagine many being disappointed if purchasing this full-price, and not on sale, in the set that I got(see the first line). This doesn't really adjust what was already there, which might be the best way to go. It didn't seem to need any such thing. Combat is still like a nice, dynamic match of chess, with items and potions being added since the first three, as well as the Heroes being right there in the action. This still has far more role playing elements than before in the franchise, with countless choices, including in what soldiers you will be able to recruit, and structures you can build, at the specific Castles and Towns, and the Advanced Class System. The freedom of moving armies independent of Heroes add to that, as does it, as do many other things, give more tactical opportunities. Anyone can still adjust the difficulty setting, as well as decide if guards get to patrol or not, before each portion, though not after that point. The graphics remain the same, including the smooth, detailed animations. All of the music continues to be beautifully composed, fully orchestral score. The magic is still tons of fun, and the units are still distinguished and all have abilities. The Fog of War again makes it matter how far you can see, not only how far you've moved, like the shroud, which is also maintained, does. Little left to say. This is rather mild, and can be tried by anyone, at any age. The sexuality goes no further than risqué costumes, and there's… pretty much only one I can think of. I recommend this to anyone who loves turn-based RPG and strategy game-play, and mainly the biggest fans of Heroes of Might and Magic IV, who don't mind the price or can find it on sale, and *really* want more time, and something more, out of the game. 7/10


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