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Heroes of Might and Magic: Quest for the DragonBone Staff – Second Opinion

Dale Weir's picture

I'm glad Brad brought 3DO's existence into question because it saved me from doing so. But with that said, there isn't much for me to add to his review. All I can do is wonder aloud whether this utterly forgettable game would have been released—or even made—had it not had the "Heroes Of Might & Magic" name attached to it? My answer would be no.

While playing, I was amazed by what 3DO considered "next-generation" because everything is so substandard. If New World Computing really wanted to, it could have made this game on the PS one with better results. My expectations would have been lower, and I could write off most of its deficiencies as the product of aging hardware. Take the graphics for instance. The troops have such limp and otherwise unimpressive attacks that it's like their hearts aren't even in it. A few more frames of animation or at least some motion-capture work would have gone a long way towards making the action more believable. With the exception of the sexy sorceress (who gets ample face time throughout the game might I add), the character models range from hideous to laughable.

The game fares no better when you consider the controls. Though the troops move about the grid awkwardly, getting them to line up with a perspective target or circumventing obstacles on the map are irritations I could do without. Whether it is due to inexperience with the hardware or the result of a rush job, this one aspect of DragonBone made the gameplay intolerable—this is especially telling since this makes up the majority of the game. The only high point here would be the CG full-motion video sequences that occasionally pop up at key points in the game. They show a decent level of detail, and the accompanying voice-acting is quite suitable. Sadly, this was the only part of the game that didn't have me thinking the developer sleepwalked its way through the whole process.

DragonBone is just the latest in a string of PlayStation 2 titles from publishers who want to jump on the bandwagon and rake in some quick cash by releasing their lazy ports and half-assed "original" titles to game-starved consumers. It reminds me of those horrible animated chess games that appeared on the PC and game consoles years ago. Their main selling point was "life-like animated battles," but once the novelty wore off, they could at least fall back on their chess roots. DragonBone attempts something similar with its own such gimmick, but it hasn't the luxury of falling back on a solid game once the gimmick wears thin. Rating: 3.0 out of 10

Category Tags
Platform(s): PS2  
Developer(s): New World Computing  
Publisher: 3DO Studios  
Series: Might and Magic  
Genre(s): Strategy/Sim  
ESRB Rating: Everyone  
Articles: Game Reviews  

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