Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is a heavily story driven action role-playing game(RPG) where you slice and dice your way through various beasts in a quest to find the Skull of Shadows.

Release Date

October 2006.

Pros

There is a good tutorial that is seamlessly integrated into the game. It does assume basic knowledge of how to play first-person games, so complete beginners will need to read a bit of the manual before starting. For everyone else, the tutorial shows a lot of the different things you can do in the game.

The graphics are nicer than Oblivion. Although the visual range is heck a lot smaller than that of Oblivion too. Details, designs and animations all look better than Oblivion. Maybe if I had a better video card Oblivion might look nicer, but with the ATI Radeon X1600, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic edges ahead a little bit.

The game has a lot of head movement and tries to simulate how the person would see the world in different situations. Not just getting whacked and climbing ropes but also when falling off a horse and being dragged by another person. Some of these movements may give some people motion sickness quickly.

Sounds are excellent. Footsteps, clanging swords, speech and environmental sounds are all great.

This is the first game I have tried with the Logitech G35 headset. Although not as good as watching a movie with surround speakers, there have been times where ambient sounds made me turn around in real life, because I thought someone came into my room.

The music is also excellent. It is not as good as Oblivion but still very fitting to the fantasy role-playing environment.

The combat mechanics seem quite realistic. Depending on how you defend or how you use the weapon, each hit affects you and your opponent in different ways. The hit connection is also better than Oblivion. This also makes the game more difficult to play than other first-person RPGs but at the same time also good fun.

The AI is slightly better than that of Oblivion. Both games have the usual enemies attacking, blocking and retreating, but Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is the first RPG I have seen where a cleaver wielding orc could not reach me on the other side of a cliff and proceeded to pick up his dead buddy’s long bow and shoot me.

Cons

You must install STEAM to play multiplayer. After installation, STEAM kept giving an error when trying to load. This is not the first problem I have had with STEAM, but I would rather play other games, than try to fix it. No multiplayer for me.

For an RPG there is not much variety. You cannot buy and sell stuff. Variety of weapons and armour are very limited and the number of skills to upgrade is also very few. There are no side quests either. If you want excellent role-playing elements, go with Oblivion. But if you just want an action game without all the stats and stuff, then go with this.

There seems to be a bug when climbing ropes that are too close to a wall. I got stuck a few times where the only way out was to jump to your death.

Some cutscenes cannot be skipped, which makes it very annoying when they have one just before a big fight. If you die, you must reload and see the scene again and again until you win.

Other Points

The game is very violent and gory. Not just lots of blood splats but also lots of decapitation and impalement. You can choose not to perform these moves, but then the game becomes harder to play.

Similar to Lands of Lore 3, there are no classes in the single player game. There are just a bunch of skills and the player can pick them as the character gets more experienced.

Unlike Oblivion and the older Might and Magic games, Dark Messiah is a very linear RPG. In fact it plays like a normal heavily scripted first-person shooter.

There are no levels or experience points. As you progress through the game and complete objectives, skill points are awarded and you use them to upgrade yourself.

Having played and completed the Baldur’s Gate series, I felt that Dark Messiah of Might and Magic borrowed part of the storline from Baldur’s Gate. Because of this, I found the plot for Dark Messiah average. Players that have not experienced Baldur’s Gate may find Dark Messiah’s story more interesting.

Biases

Reviewed version 1.2.

I had problems with STEAM before, and now with this game. I am really starting to dislike STEAM. Because STEAM is required for multiplayer I could not try it out.

I really liked Baldur’s Gate 1, 2 plus expansions and Oblivion.

I also liked Lands of Lore 3, Might and Magic 3, 4 and 5.

I did not like Styrateg.

I have completed the single-player campaign.

I have not played the multi-player component of the game thanks to crappy STEAM.

DRM

I cannot remember what DRM was on my disc version of the game, but I do remember Steam was only required for multiplayer.

Patches

1.2 – Check if you have a readme 1.2 txt file before installing. This means your version of the game is already at 1.2. I could not find any where in game that stated the version number so I installed the patch. The game would not start after that. I had to reinstall the game to get it working and then I saw the readme 1.2 txt file.

Minimum Requirements (as stated on box)

  • Operation System: Windows XP (only)
  • Processor: AMD Athlon, Pentium IV 2.6 GHz (3GHz recommended)
  • Memory: 512MB (1GB recommended)
  • Video Card: 128MB DirectX 9-compliant video card (256MB recommended)*
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9 compliant sound card (PC audio solution containing Dolby Digital Live required for Dolby Digital audio)
  • Direct X: DirectX 9 or higher (included on disc)
  • DVD Drive: 4X or faster DVD-rom Drive
  • Hard Disk: 7GB free
  • Peripherals: Windows compatible mouse and keyboard
  • Multiplayer: Broadband Internet connectionwith 64kbps upstream or faster. Installation of Steam software required for multiplay
  • *Supported Video Cards at Time of Release
    NVIDIA GeForce FX/6/7 families
    ATI Radeon 9/X families
    Laptop versions of these chipsets may work but are not supported.

Computer Played On

  • Core 2 Duo 2.16GHz
  • 2Gb RAM
  • ATI Radeon X1600 256Mb RAM (laptop version)
  • Logitech G35 headset and/or Realtek HD Audio(no idea what model) with Altec Lansing ACS41 speakers or Logitech ClearChat Premium PC Headset.
  • Win XP Pro
  • Graphics settings are set to whatever I feel comfortable with playing on this PC. They are usually not set to the highest settings. All screenshots are taken with my settings.

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