If your question happens to be “Is Might and Magic: Era of Chaos any good?” then my short answer is no. It is, in fact, way worse than that, a game that could be a hyperbolic piece of satire to make fun of shady developers in the world of South Park. This is, as a product, so devoid of soul and so disrespectful towards its players that it’s hard to judge if it was not a very well constructed joke to make a statement. At its current state, Might and Magic: Era of Chaos is the prime example of why mobile gaming is such a heated topic among the Internet. It wasn’t worth my time and it definitely isn’t yours.
If after all of this you’re still on the fence between playing this game or not, or if you want to know why I think this game is so horrible, keep reading the review, as I’ll make every single one of my points across.
It’s no Might and Magic
Let’s start by talking about the thing that’s going to make fans angry, that being the name of the game itself. It’s pretty apparent, even if you haven’t played the game, that this product is Might and Magic in name only, as there’s little to no resemblance with the main games when it comes to gameplay. Yes, you may be placing units on a hexagonal grid, but the game makes sure to streamline the strategic aspect as much as possible (more on that later).
The game opens with not one but two cinematics to give you context about the Might and Magic world as well as introducing you to the plot, which may pick your interest for three minutes. The time it takes you to understand that this game having a story is just a petty excuse for you to go through a series of soulless, copy-pasted levels that consist in the same twenty-second mindless clash of units. To give you an idea, the game could be called “Champions of Legend: Kingdoms Collide” and not a single aspect of it would change. It’s that bad.
The flawed progression system
Everything in Might and Magic: Era of Chaos is locked behind a level wall, and I mean everything. Even autoplay and the possibility of spending money to buy gold are. This translates into a painfully slow crawl through every single feature, which is given to you drop by drop. “This doesn’t sound that bad”, you may think, but the amount of hand-holding nonsense that goes across the 21st levels of the game basically makes for a three-hour-long tutorial.
I played through this all in one continuous session, following everything step by step and stopping for nothing. Just waiting for the game to open up and letting me do as I please. Weirdly enough, the game stills giving you tutorials as you keep unlocking features past level 28, but I’m considering that the tutorial phase of the game finishes at level 21 because it keeps giving you enough energy for you to get there, and you’ll only run out of it making your way to 22. Because of course, as almost every gatcha game in existence, this one has an energy system. This makes the core gameplay loop go as follows:
Login. > Grab your rewards. > Play missions until you run out of energy. > Grab your rewards for having played the missions (if you’re lucky you may level up here) > Spend the keys you got getting character pieces and materials. > Upgrade your characters. > Logout and repeat again in a few hours.
There are other things to take into notice such as the guild and it’s board-like exploration minigame (which is supposed to emulate the original Heroes of Might and Magic gameplay, but is also tied to an absurd energy system of its own), the PVP arena and the training facilities, to name a few, but the way you are going to progress is by playing the missions, upgrading and repeating. It’s your typical energy-based game.
It’s all about the profit
What makes this game stand out, in my opinion, as straight-up disrespectful, is the way every system is crafted to annoy the player, thus forcing him to spend money. Not only is Might and Magic: Era of Chaos a loot box chance fest, but it has a subscription pass that, for something around ten dollars a month, gives you the access to more convenient features, and straight-up advantages against those who are playing without spending money. I wouldn’t be against a (more or less justified) premium subscription pass if the game core systems were already fair. Sadly enough it’s here, in the gatcha aspect of things, when the game shows it’s greedy and grindy nature. Let me explain,
Poor summon system
You have two types of “summons”, free ones (spending silver keys) and premium ones (spending diamonds, the game’s premium currency). In any regular gatcha, you can expect to be paying in order to get a character, but things are much more frustrating here, as the possibility of getting a character up front is just a chance within a chance.
In the free draws, you get, generally, evolution materials, and sometimes you may get character pieces. Character pieces are the way this game has of unlocking and upgrading characters. If you have a one-star unit, for example, and you have enough pieces of that unit, it’s possible to upgrade it, making it a two-star one. Pretty simple stuff. The problem here is that you can and will most likely get the character pieces before you get the actual characters even in the premium draws, where getting a character upfront is more likely to happen but is also very rare (about a 20% chance, in my experience).
This could mean that your 300 diamond draw (which roughly translates into $4) might just end up giving you literal fractions of a character. If you get enough fractions of a character that you don’t have you can, eventually, unlock it with said pieces But having in mind that they give you from one to five pieces on average per draw, this may end up being a lengthy (and very expensive) process, as some units require the outrageous amount of eighty pieces to unlock. You can add to all of this the rarity system, with some of the rarest character pieces appearing just 1.13% of the time. It’s just not rewarding, and someone in the wrong mindset could end up spending a lot of money.
This is predatory design at it’s fullest, as everything revolves around the gatcha system in one form or another. The character management is just as bad if not worse, as they require so many time and resources to be upgraded that it can be kind of overwhelming. I could talk more about the insane use of energy systems for every gameplay aspect of the game and the multiple currencies spread across the menus, but I think I made my point across.
The gameplay (that might be there)
It’s now time to talk about the game’s gameplay, which I’ve been mentioning but haven’t really sink my teeth into. I’m very torn when it comes to this aspect of the game because I really wanted to like it. It even had promised at the start, when battles seemed to be determined by the use of your hero abilities. Sadly, Might and Magic: Era of Chaos is so disinterested in making the player engaged that by the time you unlock autoplay your inputs are no longer necessary, as the AI plays way better than you. And let’s be honest, who is really going to sit through hundreds if not thousands of basically the same level?
I however think that the combat, or at least the strategic aspect of it, has or wants to have some kind of depth, as shown by some units with special behaviors depending on it’s position in the grid and by the fact that there’s also a training facility, where they teach you actual “strategies” to play the game. Part of me wants to believe in this, that the game gets good as soon as more units come into play and that by completing the numerous (and I really mean numerous) training you can really get understand the game and have a sense of how everything should work.
The other part of me says that those statements are just a lie, as I was able to not only make my way through 6 chapters of the story with autoplay enabled and with the same formation, but I also won every PVP match with little to no problem. The way the training facility is handled also makes me think that there’s no real depth to it all, as the trainings themselves are locked behind level walls, with the last tier of them going up as high as level 55. This means that between you doing the first training lesson and finishing the last one a bunch of months would have passed if you manage to keep playing the game for that long, that is.
The game is either afraid of overwhelming the player with lots of options (which is definitely not the case, as there are many more features open way before you get access to training) or this is all just bait for someone who thinks that the gameplay may get good eventually. During the 6/7~ hours I played in order to write this review, there was nothing that I could find engaging in it all, and I actually started skipping the fights whenever I could because I was getting very tired of seeing the same animations all over again. Everything comes down to numbers, and as long as your number is high enough, there’s no problem. You know the drill.
Wrapping up mediocrity
The other aspects of the game are very mediocre as well. The art and the graphic design, in general, feel just bland and generic, and the music, as well as the sound effects, were forgettable enough for me to turn the volume all the way down and listening to something else while I mindlessly tapped the screen. As I said, the game could change its name, disassociating with the Might and Magic brand completely, and nothing would change. It’s your run of the mill gatcha.
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