Heroes V Deconstructed #1

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Heroes V Deconstructed #1

Postby Angelspit » May 23 2007, 16:22

While Qurqurish Dragon explores Heroes of Might and Magic IV for the first time (<a href="http://www.celestialheavens.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6266">story</a>), Corribus went through a major computer upgrade to try Heroes V, a year after its release. His experience gave him the inspiration for a new special feature called <a href="http://www.celestialheavens.com/688">Heroes V, Deconstructed</a>. The first part combines an introduction and first impressions of the graphics, still a hot topic after all that time. Additional entries will be published during the next couple of days, and comments are welcome, as always.

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Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby Darmani » May 23 2007, 16:42

"You can have the best, deepest strategy game of all time, but if it doesn’t have the eye-candy, it will probably flop."

Empire Earth, a game with deep and complicated strategy, didn't flop, despite having graphics and sound that make me wish I was Hellen Keller. That's a pretty strong counterexample to challenge your statement.

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Re: Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby Corribus » May 23 2007, 16:56

Darmani wrote:"Empire Earth, a game with deep and complicated strategy, didn't flop, despite having graphics and sound that make me wish I was Hellen Keller. That's a pretty strong counterexample to challenge your statement."


Haven't played it but I don't contest your example. There may be several examples of games which sell well with sub-par visuals. There are always exceptions, particularly in the strategy game market which is geared towards generally older audiences who probably care less about style and more about substance. Nevertheless, it is no secret that graphics sell games. If they didn't, software companies wouldn't be pushing hardware to develop games that have the most stunning visuals. New consoles are all about better graphics. No other reason to buy a new console other than to get games with better graphics. And I'll admit to being drawn in by fancy visuals myself. Why did I just buy a new computer with an ultra high res screen and fancy video card? I want to play new games, new games that have good graphics, good graphics displayed on the highest settings. Humans are visual creatures. It's in our DNA.

So, software companies would be crazy in such a competitive market, especially a new developer making a big-budget game bearing a damaged brand name, to create a game with ugly visuals. Yeah you might get lucky and people would buy it anyway, if it had unbelievable gameplay that was lauded by reviewers everywhere. But if a 15 year old wanders in EB and looks at the back of the box, which is more likely to get him to plunk down 50 dollars: screenshots showing lifelike 3D graphics, or two vague sentences about great gameplay?
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Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby smith-b-d » May 23 2007, 17:14

@Darmani, empire earth was on of the very first top down strategy games in full 3d it had exceptional gfx for when it was released(2001) not to mention in comparison to other strategy games it did flop... out of the top 200 strategy games it is in position 101 (www.gamerankings.com). To put it in comparison activisions battlezone released 1999(2 years prior) is ranked 23 & its gameplay is years ahead of empire earth as well as SM:AC(7), homeworld(17), civ3(19). Empire earth was simply not worth playing with how many better games were released prior.

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Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby Elvin » May 23 2007, 19:38

You know, you reminded me how I first felt when I played the demo :) I am still finding myself rotating and zooming the screen after so long to enjoy the battles and the adventure map, it is just beautiful. Agreed on your observations and awaiting for the next part!
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Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby Veldrynus » May 23 2007, 19:39

"You can have the best, deepest strategy game of all time, but if it doesn’t have the eye-candy, it will probably flop. And this game has some great eye candy."

But, nothing more.
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Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby Monteniger » May 23 2007, 20:11

"I am still finding myself rotating and zooming the screen after so long to enjoy the battles and the adventure map"

Me too :P I also letting the town screen to turn a couple of times still...

But seriously does anyone of you know how well did H5 sell? Since ubi went for the € I'm just curious... I remember that it was (not so sure) on #17 place in the UK when it went out... And don't have a clue about HoF
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Re: Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby Qurqirish Dragon » May 23 2007, 21:20

Corribus wrote:
Darmani wrote:"Empire Earth, a game with deep and complicated strategy, didn't flop, despite having graphics and sound that make me wish I was Hellen Keller. That's a pretty strong counterexample to challenge your statement."


Haven't played it but I don't contest your example. There may be several examples of games which sell well with sub-par visuals. There are always exceptions, particularly in the strategy game market which is geared towards generally older audiences who probably care less about style and more about substance. Nevertheless, it is no secret that graphics sell games. If they didn't, software companies wouldn't be pushing hardware to develop games that have the most stunning visuals. New consoles are all about better graphics. No other reason to buy a new console other than to get games with better graphics.


I have to ding you here as well. The console with the (arguably) worst graphics in the current generation - the Wii - is selling the best due to innovative gameplay mechanisms. (the Wii is the only one of the current generation that I have, and I don't plan on getting either of the others)

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Re: Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby Corribus » May 24 2007, 0:46

Qurqirish Dragon wrote:"I have to ding you here as well. The console with the (arguably) worst graphics in the current generation - the Wii - is selling the best due to innovative gameplay mechanisms. (the Wii is the only one of the current generation that I have, and I don't plan on getting either of the others)"

Right, BUT - (A) the Wii's graphics are much upgraded over the GC, the best direct comparison and (B) the Wii's sales statistics are greatly buttressed by demographics which include traditional non-gaming populations, such as older adults and girls, who are less likely to be swayed by fancy graphics. I think that's great for the gaming industry, and maybe that will eventually change the way software developers approach development strategies, but by and large, for the primary gaming demographic of young adult men and teenagers, graphics are what is important, in consoles and in PC games. (But nice point point nonetheless :) ).
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Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby Caradoc » May 24 2007, 4:30

IMHO graphics technology has reached the point where it is 'good enough' for the vast majority of players. Certainly more can be done in areas like physics, but by and large an improvement to cinematic quality will not win significantly more players. Once Pixar crossed the line with 'Shrek', there was little to be gained with better renderings. Most viewers cannot tell the difference between Shrek and Shrek 2 - and I assume Shrek 3. Once the animations were good enough to not be a distraction, the game was won.

I think there will always be gamers who will seek out the best visual experience, but I think we have arrived at the point where gameplay and social elements will make the market. WOW graphics are hardly state of the art, but they are good enough for players to be able to identify with their characters and the landscape is realistic enough for game purposes. I doubt that many WOW players would go to another MMO just to get better graphics.
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Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby hein321 » May 24 2007, 8:08

ja i have to agree we got some eye candy the graphics at least lets you know that this is indeed heroes of might and magic has any1 tested the game with the new geforce 8 series gfx? my 7900gt can't quite get the game to run with full aa and af and be playable i feel like sum more homm5 after reading this review its very well done.
Edited on Thu, May 24 2007, 01:14 by hein321

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Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby ThunderTitan » May 24 2007, 12:18

"New consoles are all about better graphics."

Yeah, that's why the Wii is outselling the competition and Sony is in deep doo-doo with the PS3.
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Postby Campaigner » May 24 2007, 12:50

Always liked your articles Corribus :) Looking forward to the next one.

But if you want to experience something "not so good", try a custom scenario with 4 AIs.


About the consolediscussion. A friend got a Wii and I've tried it but I would get a Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 since the gameplay on the Wii doesn't do it for me. That motion sensor doesn't work that well and it's not for serious gamers. It's made for casual gamers! I tried Twilight Princess for 15min and just gave up when I got to the fishing part. Oh god that was boring....

Some people see the Wii as a Mario/Metroid/Zelda console and not as a "real" gameconsole and I'm one of'em.

Even my friend, the diehard videogame fanatic, got disappointed with the Wii after a while and missed his Xbox 360. He missed being able to talk to people online, seeing them in the webcam (But his stupid, bullheaded girlfriend didn't like that he talked to other people so she made him sell it) and playing online against others so he will hopefully get the elite version.

And the Playstation 3 sold records in Britain and good in Sweden as well.

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Postby ThunderTitan » May 24 2007, 13:07

Lets see:

XBox sales: over 10 million and it had a whole year all to itself.

PS3 Sales: ~3.5 million sales.

Wii: ~7.5 million...


Sure they might have broken some sales per day record, but that because everyone that wanted one bought them on opening day. :tonguehands:
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Postby Corribus » May 24 2007, 14:09

@ThunderTitan

A little late on the ball, buddy. The Wii example has already been pointed out. And though a good point, it's not quite an apples to apples comparison, as the Wii is targeted as a much different audience. But as I said, maybe that will be a catalyst for a change in the way games are developed.

@Caradoc

Good point. At what point does technology become saturated? Are we there yet with graphics? Maybe, maybe not. You can always make bigger screens. :) Seriously though, that doesn't change the fact that, even if we have reached the point where improvements in display technology will now be too small to make a practical difference, that doesn't change the fact that good looking games will outsell bad looking games, all other things being equal. Developers will probably ALWAYS put a prime focus on visuals.

@Campaigner

I have tried the Wii and my impressions are mixed. I cannot disagree with Nintendo's decision to do something different. Considering how far back they were in the console wars, it was a necessary change for them. But as you said, it's now geared toward a different type of gamer, and I'm not really into party games. Playing Zelda with the Wii remote is not really appealing to me. I enjoyed TP just fine on my GC.
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Postby Qurqirish Dragon » May 24 2007, 18:09

Corribus wrote:@ThunderTitan
@Campaigner

I have tried the Wii and my impressions are mixed. I cannot disagree with Nintendo's decision to do something different. Considering how far back they were in the console wars, it was a necessary change for them. But as you said, it's now geared toward a different type of gamer, and I'm not really into party games. Playing Zelda with the Wii remote is not really appealing to me. I enjoyed TP just fine on my GC.


I have found TP on the Wii very nice. The controls have a very good feel to them, and I can see the remote/nunchuck combo being superior controls for FPS games (although I don't care much for FPSs) - move with the nunchuck stick, turn with the nunchuck motion, aim with the remote, three triggers between them for different weapons (although 2 weapons + jump is probably more likely), and the + pad, A, +, -, 1 and 2 buttons as 9 assignable buttons.

Anyway, I suggest further Wii discussion take place in an off-topic forum, and leave this for the articles :proud:

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Postby Corribus » May 24 2007, 18:53

Well, the Wii is admittedly just a nice example of how good graphics don't have to be the predominant criterium for a well-selling game. In the case of PC games, like H5, fancy 3D graphics are stil,l however, the way to grab the attention of gamers with money to blow. I mean, at big gaming conferences like E3, what are production companies showing off in demos? They're showing FMV cut-scenes and in-game screenshots and videos, not to showcase good gameplay, but to get people buzzing about fancy visuals.
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Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby atma6 » May 24 2007, 22:16

@Campaigner

I would disagree on the Wii being the system that most targets casual gamers. The 360 seems to be the one the is throwing the most "pick up and play" games, most FPS, sports games, and Gears. Although at this point there are a larger amount of party games on the Wii, but there are a good mix of games that would appeal mainly to the regular gamer crowd for a console that isn't a year old yet (big thing to consider).

Also its hard to bash the accuracy of the Wiimote at this point as its still early. For example; Red Steel makes terrible use of of the motion sensor, while other games deal with it rather well, with the controls still being refined it is easy to say that the motion sensor controls will only improve.

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Postby Caradoc » May 25 2007, 0:00

Developers put a prime focus on graphics because they can appreciate the technology advances that make them possible. And because the programmers and graphics artists are at the top of the pecking order in the business. They want mainly to impress others in the industry.

Civilization is a game where the developers have made enough graphics improvements in each installment to give something new to the players, but Firaxis has not allowed graphics development to compromise other areas. At the same time, they have kept the graphics simple enough to allow modders to do their work and have harvested a world of added content. Had they chosen a proprietary, professional technology, they would have lost that.
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Heroes V, Deconstructed

Postby asandir » May 25 2007, 0:42

"I’ve been away from modern computer games for a while, probably 5 years, so maybe that prevents me from properly benchmarking my perception of what are good graphics and what are bad graphics in this day and age, but when I loaded Heroes 5 for the first time, I was stunned. Criticize Ubisoft all you want – you can’t accuse them of not putting effort or production values into the visuals of this game."

that is an interesting point, especially about being away from the gaming scene for the past 5 years, had you not been I think that the point about production values for visuals would have changed. graphics are so much better, cut scenes, in-game, etc - and that is for games that are years older than HV .... I certainly can criticise their production values for visuals .... I know this is your opinion piece, but that statement certainly doesn't apply for everyone

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