…in the land of conspicuously placed spikes; or so 1UP would have you believe.
Since I’ve brought it up, 1UP’s “review” clearly demonstrates why biased people shouldn’t review games. Mr. Chick is a good writer, but he really shouldn’t have been the one reviewing the game, for that matter, no one who likes the classic Heroes of Might and Magic games should be flapping their gums about this game, it’s better you just pretend it didn’t exist. It’s what I do, I’m looking at you Fallout Tactics!
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. I played Dark Messiah a long, long time ago, through a friend’s steam account. Like Mr. Chick up there, this guy hated the game so much he felt like ripping Ubisoft a new one (we all do), so he gave me his Steam login info and I did 4 playthroughs of the single player campaign. I was never a fan of the HoM&M series, I tried playing quite a few of the games but I simply couldn’t bring myself to like them. Which I suppose is why I didn’t dislike this one, in fact I enjoyed it very much for what it was, a linear, action Game with RPG elements in a fantasy setting based off of the Might & Magic lore and even though it was made by Ubisoft, it didn’t have the draconian DRM they seem so keen on inflicting in their games these days.
The game drops you off in a tutorial area and if you had played Half-Life 2 before you’ll feel right at home with the graphics and controls, although I have to give this one to Mr. Chick in the sense that even though the game made use of the Source engine, it looked rather “meh” even at the highest settings. The voice acting was something along the lines of the Silent Hill series, like Yahtzee put it: “Somewhere between midget height and 50 feet below sea-level.” and the story was somewhat lacking, but judging it from a linear game perspective it is still well above average.
When I come to think of it, Dark Messiah is very easy to criticize, linear gameplay, predictable story, lackluster graphics, conveniently placed spike racks, a Halo-like Cortana wannabe conveniently placed inside your character’s head and it was made by Ubisoft… I should probably stop harassing Yves Guillemot’s compa-… Oh wait, they’re making Far Cry 3, harass away!
Even with all the critic fodder the game seems to be packed with, including the Ubisoft branding in the cover and pre-game unskippable screens, I found the game to be very much enjoyable. So much in fact, that I did 4 whole playthroughs just to try all the combat variations and possible endings. Let’s elaborate on the gameplay. Dark Messiah allows you choose from 3 major combat groups: Stealth, if you’re the 1-hit KO sneak thief; Magic, if you’d rather roast your enemies in a fireball induced frenzy; and Melee, if you want to get up close and personal with your foes. Nothing out of the ordinary in your typical fantasy setting, it lets you mix them up as well, but as I came to realize, the game will be much harder if you decide to split your points instead of focusing on 1 specific tree. Combat is actually quite visceral and if you’ve gone with the melee fighter you know why the game still racked up 8.0′s and 9.0′s on some game sites, blood jutting out from your enemies, fully animated killing blows from 1st person perspective and flailing camera whenever you get hit actually make the game quite thrilling, at least for a couple of playthroughs, then it’s just more of the same. One thing I found was really unnecessary/unfitting in the game was the Weapon Crafting and random books you could read, someone in Ubisoft must have thought that was why people liked Oblivion and decided to add those in hoping to rake people out of Bethesda’s gem in the rough.
I guess I’ve given Ubisoft more than enough reason to call me a hypocrite, and they’re not even directly supporting SOPA, so they can’t be all that bad, especially since Dark Messiah was the last game of theirs I actually played, which means I should go back under my bridge now.
Before I do though I’d just like to say: This was Unaccounted4 and I’ve been boycotting these assholes since 2008.
PS: “as some of our games did not meet the required quality levels to achieve their full potential, they need more sales promotions than anticipated.” – No promotional sales will help you get a single cent out of me, Yves, none!