Caradoc wrote:Cut scenes and vocals are a nice addition to the game, but not an intrinsic part of it.
I get your point, but if the developer chooses to convey the story and the presentation of characters via cut scenes/voice acting, I think they become an intrinsic part of the game. (At least the storydriven campaign in this case - multiplayer scenarios are another thing.) Personally I like the graphics in the cutscenes and also the general goofiness, which seems to suit the HoMM universe well, but the voice acting and the writing fail to draw me into the story and make me care about the characters.
For example, why on earth does Isabel buy Markal's offer to raise Nicolai? It's so obviously a very bad idea. The only reason I can think of is that his death has driven Isabel close to insanity - but the game fails to describe her mental state and/or reasons convincingly to me, leaving me with the feeling that she's just nuts. And why should I care about a nutty girl. A more concrete example: in the cutscene when he is raised, she seems to go insane - but it's not her acting/what she says that tells me so, but Markal's comments afterwards.
So the story here isn't so bad in itself. If it was convincingly told, I would be much more emotionally involved and understanding. But as it stands now, it just feels haphazard and it's actually making me more detached from the characters rather than the opposite.
It is a magic thing when game developers succeed in making you care about some pixels on the screen. At the end of Baldur's Gate 2, I was really attached to everybody in the team. Or take the little nuisance Deekin in Neverwinter Nights - because of the perfect choice for his voice and a lovingly presentation of him via writing, I would never choose any other henchman. In fact, when I saw him in NWN2, it was almost like seeing an old friend. A rather amazing achievement for a game. HoMM V, however, really fails to deliver on this point.
It's really the 101 of story telling: Why should I care?