In this fifth instalment, the basics are completely unchanged. You’ll still lead your heroes and armies through a variety of fantasy-filled environments. Exploring the land around you, building massive armies, battling it out with your enemies, and strengthening your own cities have always been the cornerstones of play in Heroes of Might and Magic and this latest version is no different. In HOMMV, you are in charge of your heroes’ development. There are lots of new hero abilities in HOMMV, from standing bonuses to your entire army, to more specialized abilities that you’ll have to call on as you need them. Rangers can now declare racial enemies, for instance, which gives them a bit more of an advantage when facing off against them. Knights can now elect to counterattack any enemy that damages a particular unit. Basically the Heroes we know is still a brilliant turn-based strategy game. Continuing with the established turn-based structure of the previous instalments of the series, HOMMV features six campaigns across six different races, each with their own story to tell. Dropping the sci-fi elements of the previous HOMMV titles, Nival has focused on creating a solely fantasy world, and as such magic plays a key part. Carrying a spell book that gradually fills with a range of different spell types as players progress through the game and learn from Magic Guilds, the wealth of magic at their disposal grows to encompass most areas of gameplay. Forming a key part of a Hero character’s development, the ability to cast spells sits alongside other aspects of their progression including skills and abilities, which evolve as their Experience Points build up. As with any RPG-styles game, experience is accumulated through combat, and thanks to the generous amounts of combat early on in the game it doesn’t take much to get up to and beyond Level 10 in the first couple of missions. Coupled with the turn-based time system, there’s really a sense of character development over time, something that can sometimes be lost in other titles. Graphically, the game is superb. Everything from creatures and heroes to the environments themselves looks great and is wonderfully animated, whether it is trees swaying with the wind, ships gently rocking with the waves, waves breaking against the shores, or birds soaring high in the sky, little touches that really help create the endearing enchanting fantasy atmosphere we’ve come to expect from the first three games in the series. The transition to 3D means you can rotate the map and zoom in/out at your leisure, which is very nice. There’s just so much detail to see in every little corner of the world, that you could easily get lost in the environment. Character design is also very impressive, particularly when you consider that the designers had to create over a hundred different types of units.