MMX Legacy review

The role-playing games (I-X) that started it all and the various spin-offs (including Dark Messiah).

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MMX Legacy review

Postby Xfing » Jun 6 2017, 20:37

I've finally gotten around to playing MMX: Legacy. As such a big fan of M&M, I just couldn't pass it up after all. My team were a Warmonger, Blademaster, Runemaster and Archmage. Here are my impressions:

Setting: It will probably come as no surprise to anyone when I say that based on this game alone, I think Ashan is a rather bland, generic setting. It is really difficult to see any unique art direction, everything seems derivative as hell. The lore and the creatures instead of standing on their own, looked like a hybrid of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls, without the spirit of either. While I don't know how many of the models and animations were original, and how many recycled from Heroes, all were rather beautifully made, I can say at least that. That unfortunately doesn't detract from the extremely Warcraftish feel of the Orcs and the Elves. As for dwarves, I can't quite put my finger on what franchise has this incarnation of them, but they still felt awfully familiar. The modern trends such as elves running around half-naked and with body tattoos scream generic, though I can understand there is not much that can be done. Darkness in the game instead of being portrayed as something threatening, repulsive and terrifying was instead made pretty and inviting, conveying no feeling of evil. They reminded me of locales from some Japanese RPG where light and darkness aren't good and evil, but opposite sides of a neutral spectrum. I do realize MM6 said the same thing about dark magic, but it still felt way more malignant than it did here. The Tomb of a Thousand Terrors felt more like the Tomb of Dreamlike Contemplation to me. It wasn't terrifying, it was fun to be in and look at - and it would have worked perfectly as some sort of good but night-based city rather than a terrifying tomb. All environments looked really pretty, even though the engine was not the strongest for the time, and I wouldn't complain in the least if I got to play a free movement M&M game with such graphics. The environments were detailed I do realize that most of these complaints would be as valid for MMX as they are for Ashan-based Heroes games, so for what it's worth, Limbic did a great job working under the restraints Ubisoft put on them.

Overall Gameplay: This game emulates the gameplay of MM3 to 5 perfectly, while expanding on it in good directions. The grid-locked system is a definite bummer after experiencing MM6-8, but is quite easy to get used to and doesn't really impact immersion. The addition of the skill level system from the free-3d games really hit the spot, with the four classes I played being real powerful and fun - but the longer I played the more I realized you really need Grandmaster to be any good (though at first it doesn't seem like it), meaning that the skill system is just as unbalanced as in the previous titles (I have heard that complaint, I don't mind it myself). The lack of respawns was regrettable, but necessary if there's to be any talk of replay value. Still, filling up those few remaining skills just to satisfy your OCD is nowhere near as fun as actually having something substantial to do. The magic system is decent and has good balance, with many useful spells, and the skills overall synergize very nicely. It's a shame though that the Magical Focus skill is pretty much a requirement at Master or higher to reliably do crit damage with spells, which is pretty much necessary for the latest portions of the game, especially the DLC. I'm therefore not sure how the hybrid classes perform (I had none in my party), but I would advise against having more than 1 character of this variety in a party.

Difficulty: I played on the Warrior difficulty of course, and did find the game difficult at parts. Some bosses were really though (Caindale most notably), but after reaching a certain level of skill with both might and magic, the game suddenly became much easier. Gold was no issue after a certain point (must have accumulated more than 300k). Still, there were fights that required many, many reloads to conquer. Just the way it should be.

Inventory system: I've noticed that there are roughly 5 levels of quality for most item classes, just like in MM8, but the lack of flavour text on the items is somewhat regrettable. With so much polish put on other aspects of the game, this feels even worse.

Storyline and Quests: Although initially I was tempering my expectations, I found the NPC characters to be quite enjoyable and not entirely flat. I enjoyed reading their dialogue and interacting with many of them. The main story itself though - I wasn't thrilled with it to say the least. The biggest problem was probably the scope - all previous Might and Magic games (except maybe 9) decided the fates of entire planets or at least continents, and this was constrained to just a single peninsula. Also, there was no feeling of threat or urgency at practically any time in the mission - those brigand attacks felt really paltry as a threat. I'll admit, I was terrified for a minute when the Erebos switcheroo twist happened, as it felt downright ominous, but it was squandered, as Erebos proved to be a *****, him being terrifying wasn't convincing at all. The final fight was really difficult, but not because of Erebos himself, but because of the four Faceless ambush. I liked the denouement at the end - a very nice touch. Contrary to the main story, I really liked most of the side quests a lot, be it fetch, promotion or random. Somehow I felt they really captured the spirit of M&M.

Touches: One thing I have to praise Limbic for is how much reverence towards the previous parts of the game they included in Legacy. I haven't played any of Ubisoft's Heroes, but many people seem to think they have little respect for previous titles in the context of the lore - in MMX: Legacy this couldn't be further from the truth. Every nod towards the previous continuity put a huge smile on my face, and they're probably the best thing about this game. I feel that with all of these things Limbic either slipped crap past Ubisoft's radar or got their grudging-at-best consent.
- Edwin the Astronomer and his observations of the nacelle worlds prove that Ashan is just another planet in the old universe
- Jassad Attqua, who's blatantly a person from outer space and knowledgeable of advanced technology, even referenced in the denouement as having a spaceship further reinforces this
- The Forbidden Saga of poems and the context of the quest - you're supposed to return them to a librarian who wants to preserve them for all time, while the Inquisition would rather have them destroyed. This screams reverence towards the original universe games, and the Inquisition here might symbolize Ubisoft's new direction, which would rather see the old setting forgotten.
- The Limbo and the Ubimancers - while the Ubi employees probably can take a joke and laugh at themselves, this might have been a subtle hint of Limbic's quiet inner resistance to the policies and decisions made by the parent company.

Overall, I will not be replaying this game in a while, but I didn't feel like doing that for 3 to 5 either - they are too big and impactful adventures to just want to do them all over again immediately, at least for me. But it's definitely worth playing at least once. You'll enjoy the first playthrough at the very least. Despite the low budget, it definitely is a quality product all things considered.




Overall:

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Re: MMX Legacy review

Postby Anubis » Jun 26 2017, 23:15

i enjoyed reading your review. You and I have the same impression of this game.

If you played this through uPlay, you may have noticed that there were four achievements to unlock. Some were really unbalanced. I didn't really like the "Level 40" achievement. Was possible, but damn ridiculous to do. The "336 days" of in-game time achievement was retarded too.

Btw, most of your end-game gear was found from saving/reloading shops. That's unfortunate, as the best gear should have been found dungeon-crawling w/ respawns.

Also, I see you mentioned "hints" in MMX that referred to previous games. Did you ever look at the map in...that one ruin with the ghosts? Crow...something. One part of the map had the words, "Sandro".

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Re: MMX Legacy review

Postby Xfing » Jul 10 2017, 14:24

Anubis wrote:If you played this through uPlay, you may have noticed that there were four achievements to unlock. Some were really unbalanced. I didn't really like the "Level 40" achievement. Was possible, but damn ridiculous to do. The "336 days" of in-game time achievement was retarded too.


Think I made it to level 38 tops, having an exp-boosting NPC on me at all times. Impossible's what I'd say. The in-game time achievement would just require sleeping in taverns for days when you were done with the game, so I agree it's retarded. Didn't play through uPlay though, so these didn't really concern me.

Btw, most of your end-game gear was found from saving/reloading shops. That's unfortunate, as the best gear should have been found dungeon-crawling w/ respawns.


Well, in my case it was actually found throughout dungeons almost exclusively. I used relics like crazy.

Also, I see you mentioned "hints" in MMX that referred to previous games. Did you ever look at the map in...that one ruin with the ghosts? Crow...something. One part of the map had the words, "Sandro".


Yeah, well that's only a subtle homage to both the "Sheltem" map puzzle in V and the character of Sandro, who in all honesty was mentioned in newer continuity Heroes games anyway.

Overall I think I liked the character development the most about this game. The hybrid classes did feel more powerful than in titles such as 7 or 8, but then again, if you think about it a while longer, those also did have some Grandmaster skills. In the end the effect is the same, though the game kind of tricks you into believeing otherwise - just because in MMX the Crusader has GM in both Sword and Light Magic, still doesn't mean they're going to be any good at Sword (since you need to synergize it with dual wield or two-handed to be any good anyway), nor at light magic (since you need magical focus for synergy in much the same fashion).

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Re: MMX Legacy review

Postby Anubis » Jul 11 2017, 15:09

The way I did it, I hired the scholar asap by skipping monsters/quests. That helped me hit 40. I'll probably be playing MMX again soon. I'll try to give myself a challenge...like...4x mercenaries or whatever they're called. Can't recall if there are enemies that are immune to physical dmg tho.
Last edited by Anubis on Jul 11 2017, 15:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: MMX Legacy review

Postby Xfing » Jul 13 2017, 11:31

Can't remember - there might be only one type or something, or perhaps even none.


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