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Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is a first-person combat game set in the fantasy world of Ashan. You play Sareth, a wizards' apprentice who must acquire and protect the Shantiri Crystal and also fulfil your destiny as son-of Demon king Kha Beleth and...Hang on...There's something about being possessed by a sexy lady demon...and there's also a necromancer somewhere in there...Oh and a dragon. And a magic skull.
Dark Messiah's plot lost me about halfway through. The story is a melting pot of half baked fantasy tropes all mashed together. It reminded me of Dragonball Z, where the plot is ridiculously convuluted with the aim of continuing the story so they can sell more toys.
The graphics are okay, I think it uses Valve's Source engine. The character models are good and there are some very well detailed environments. There isn't much in the way of music, and the sound effects and voice acting are slightly above average.
The combat can be quite fun. You can develop melee, magic, stealth or ranged skills, but failure to specialise early on means you end up with a character that will struggle later on. This is a drawback as you don't really get time to experiment with the different play styles.
You've also got environmental hazards to help you deal with the zombies, orcs and marauders you encounter. You can throw oil at baddies and then light it with a fire spell, or kick a statue over, or kick out a support beam, or boot a baddie onto some handy spikes. Your kick is a secondary weapon that comes in handy for crowd control, although you do have a stamina bar that limits its use.
It's just not imaginative enough. The level design smacks of design-by-committee, and the character designs would be more suited to 70s/80s fantasy art. The macguffin chases become tiresome, it gets very annoying trekking through a dungeon to secure mysterious ancient artifact X, only to be told immediately afterward that you now need mysterious ancient artifact Y.
The combat is fun for a while, but the weapons and spells aren't very imaginative. There's a few nice innovations like the Rope Bow, but this game didn't entertain me very much.
I'm new to the Might and Magic world. I've never really noticed the games within the world until now so not an expert on the lore involved throughout the games but that didn't stop me from enjoying Dark Messiah.
Plot: You are Sareth. A disciple of a mage named Phenrig with an uncertain past. You are tasked with finding a magical artefact called The Skull of Shadows. A little later in to your quest, you meet a woman called Leanna who then goes on to play a fairly large part in the rest of the game.
It found the plot disappointing to be honest. Although you can see there is a great plot waiting to happen, you're only told the bare minimum of plot details. It has such a great foundation but failed to build on it.
As there's still a basic role-playing game (RPG) background to the game, you can choose between a mage, rogue or warrior depending on your play style. While not giving you a huge amount to choose from, there's still enough for everyone.
Graphics: Dark Messiah is a very pretty game. It's run on an enhanced version of the Source engine from Valve. From swimming through water to perching on a cliff, everything around you is incredibly detailed especially when you have the settings maxed out.
Game play: Dark Messiah is a first person RPG. You level by completing objects rather then killing enemies through 12 levels. You then use your skill points from levelling to learn new spells and attacks.
Nearly everything you can see is destructible and it's up to you to learn how you can use this to your advantage. This gives you the option to either go the usual way using the hack n slash method to get your enemies down or to use the environment to kill your enemies more tactically.
Lifespan: For what the game could have been, I found it quite short. It took me around 15 hours to finish off but when I think about the extra depth I felt was needed in the plot section, they could of easily fleshed everything out that bit more and the game could of only been better.
Although I personally didn't play with the multiplayer side of things, the option is there. You can battle with up to 32 players either as an assassin, warrior, priest, mage or archer. Other then if you want to take it online, there is no other replayability factor to Dark Messiah.
Overall: Although not an amazing game, it's a solid one that's worth giving a go. If they had of fleshed it out a bit more then I would say play it now but seeing they haven't, only find some time for it if you have nothing else to play.
DARK MESSIAH OF MIGHT AND MAGIC is a first-person melee-em-up by Ubisoft.
Gameplay - The gameplay of Dark Messiah is unique, and is the only game that has ever done melee combat correctly in my opinion. Gone are the days of clicking until you realise your trigger finger has developed a deeply serious type of RSI, in are the days of fluid and fun sword waving. The game is extremely satisfying to play through every aspect. Using the bow and arrow on an enemy will cause their body to flail and be blasted backwards onto the ground, whereas the sword will make them yelp and roll about in pain. It's all very realistic, apart from the magic, but that's just there to tie into the fantasy setting and it's all very good fun. The addition of kicking was one of the better decisions of the game as well, taking a hint from the F.E.A.R series; you can kick the hordes backwards to finish them off in suitably gory fashion, particularly with a sword through the head.
There is no shortage of variety in the game either - the game ranges from location to location, and it's all brilliant fun to play. There are levels where you will shoot a troll directly in the eye and watch it stumble pathetically to the ground, run and be stealthy from a group of orcs and save a village from being pillaged. The game also makes the best use of its physics engine with suitably over the top environmental traps, for example, you can cut the rope connecting part of a chandelier to the ceiling to allow it to swing and take out a group of enemies. It's all very well integrated and it's exactly what a video game should be, fun. It's been years since I played this game, and yet I remember some of its astounding moments more vividly than some of the things in my day to day life, it's a gaming experience that will indeed, stay with you for a good while.
Graphics - The graphics in Dark Messiah are very far from bad, they aren't fantastic, but they aren't bad. It utilizes the Valve Source engine to allow for playability on a large variety of systems without sacrificing graphical looks heavily. The physics and ragdoll systems are also powered by the Valve Source engine, and it all blends together to make a fantastic and fluent game which is set in a believable fantasy world. All the effects, from the swooshing of swords to the flinging of arrows are incredibly real feeling and all have good effects to represent them. The full-body shadowing that is so prominent in the game was also a brilliant feature at the time of the games' release, and it was a complete graphical breakthrough for game engines of the time.
Sound - The sound in the game is good, the voices of the guards, the clattering of the swords and the tense, merciless sound of passing enemy footsteps. The entire game is done so well that the sound actually helps add to the atmosphere, something that other games of a lot of genres tend to struggle with intensely. This is one of those games where you cannot help but be amazed at the sounds and atmosphere.
Multiplayer - The multiplayer in this game was sadly drab. It was developed by a completely separate game to the company that produced the excellent singleplayer, and it never really gets onto its feet. There are very few players left, and any person that bought Dark Messiah will tell you that the multiplayer was sadly not worth the time and money that was put into it at the development stage. It's a crying shame for such a good game to have a flawed component like this.
The content in Dark Messiah does at times deserve it's '18' rating.
Violence - The violence is the major issue, the game allows you to decapitate and remove the limbs of many, many people and creatures and the realistic tumbling to the ground that was referenced in the earlier portion of the review can be seen by some as very graphic. There is also a segment of the game where you must fire an arrow that is on fire into the eye of a troll, there is a lot of blood in this sequences and it's painful to watch as the large creature tumbles to the ground.
Language - Some milder language such as 'sh*t' and 'b*stard' is used throughout the game
Nudity - There is some partial nudity throughout the game, when a character talks to you, she makes increasingly suggestive comments and you see her breasts completely obviously at many times throughout the game.
Content Conclusion - The violence may be an issue, but it's not a problem, especially with many of today's games bordering on mindlessly violent. The language is nothing that teenagers won't hear at school or on television and the breasts are just (a very naked part) of the human anatomy. Not a particularly nasty game for content, and I'd say any teenager should be able to handle it.
Game Conclusion - The only recent game with extraordinary melee combat. I'd strongly revise your thinking if you've never heard of this game or have absolutely no intention on buying it, because it is truly fantastic. Multiplayer fanatics should stay away, but anyone who wants a very good singleplayer game should buy this right now, for its only £3.
I rate this game five of a possible five stars!
Discover a new breed of action game powered by an enhanced version of Valves Half Life 2 Source engine. Set in the Might & Magic universe, players will experience ferocious combat in a dark and immersive fantasy environment. Become an expert warrior, mage or assassin, using a vast array of devastating weapons, against huge and vicious creatures in a deep and captivating fantasy.