For those who have experienced the delight of playing TSR's original Dungeons and Dragons fantasy role-playing game, Might and Magic VI comes closest to reproducing that kind of a gaming atmosphere on the PC. Whether the gamer is interested in building up his party to take advantage of better weaponry or more powerful spells, encountering over 170 different entities in the form of monsters and non-player characters (NPC's), or just romping around the countryside exploring towns, dungeons and caverns, this game has got everything.
To begin, the player must generate a party of four characters to take on this adventure. Character classes including the Knight, Cleric and Sorcerer, along with three hybrid classes of each pair of these classes, must be selected for the party. Each class has its own special skills with base skill values, and the player is given a number of additional points he can distribute among skills as he chooses. As gameplay begins, the first task of the adventurer is to equip his party with weapons and armor by visiting shops in the town of New Sorpigal, the starting point of the game. Along the way, the party will speak with NPC's and will be given quests to complete, which will earn them extra gold pieces and experience.
Gameplay in MM6 occurs in the land of Enroth, on a map divided into 15 sectors. Each sector contains a town, castle or village, along with lairs, caves, shrines, temples, and other locations that must be investigated. As monsters are slain and other activities are accomplished, the party earns experience points that can be converted to Skill Points at a Training Center, which the player can then allocate to the skills of his choosing. In this manner, the party members progress in experience which will give them the opportunity to use better spells, different armor and weapons, and better to-hit probabilities on attacks, among other things.
MM6 does follow a general plotline: the King is missing, the Queen is away attending the funeral of her father, the Prince is too young to manage the realm, and there's this cult that is trying to destroy the bond between the gods above and the earthly rulers of the land. The player's task is to restore this bond, the "Mandate of Heaven", for the well-being of the land.
However, there is so much substance to MM6 that it is easy to get sidetracked by minor quests. This is a huge game, with hundreds upon hundreds of hours of gameplay for the player interested in fulfilling every task that is assigned. Thankfully, it doesn't have the kind of bugs that The Elder Scrolls: Arena had, a problem which rendered that game unplayable.
To put it simply, Might and Magic VI is a classic RPG in the original sense of that term, an accolade to which not even a handful of games are entitled. It could possibly be the best game of 1998.
Graphics: Although not accelerated for 3D, the game takes place on a realistic, 3D playing field. Monsters and NPC's, as well as locations in the game are all rendered in 3D, making this a spectacular-looking piece of work.
Sound: The sound is also excellent, with different themes being played in towns, caverns, and other locations. There are sound effects galore when in battle and when otherwise exploring, creating a rich and varied gaming atmosphere.
Enjoyment: There are very few games which I could not stop playing once I started them: Civilization, Magic: The Gathering and SimCity are a few examples. MM6 ranks right up there with these classics. There is very little else that could be asked of a D&D-type RPG.
Replay Value: Normally, I would think that replay value would be rather low for a game consiting of static maps that are known as soon as they are investigated. However, with the variety of party configurations and skill advancement that can be arranged, this game could conceivably be played again and again - it's that entertaining.
People who downloaded Might and Magic 6: The Mandate of Heaven have also downloaded:
Might and Magic 7: For Blood and Honor, Might and Magic 8: Day of the Destroyer, Might and Magic 9, Might and Magic 2: Gates to Another World, Might and Magic: World of Xeen, Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra, Might and Magic: Book One, Might and Magic: Clouds of Xeen
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