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Dark Messiah of Might & Magic - Single player hands-on

by Steven Williamson on 13 September 2006, 15:15

Tags: Dark Messiah of Might and Magic on PC, Action/Adventure

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Dark Messiah of Might & Magic

Back in July we brought you an extensive hands-on look at the multiplayer aspect of Ubisoft's Dark Messiah of Might & Magic. We'll be testing the single player out extensively next week but for the time being here are our impressions on the single player demo that is currently available via Steam and many other mirrors.

Dark Messiah of Might & Magic is an action game set from the first person perspective. It's powered by an enhanced version of the Source Engine, the award-winning game technology Valve created to power Half-Life2 and takes place in a fantasy world full of deadly assassins, powerful warriors and vicious orcs.

In Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, players are introduced to the world of Ashan, the new setting for all future Might & Magic games. Ashan is a dark and unforgiving world, scarred by a bloody history and threatened by an apocalyptic prophecy: the Dark Messiah.

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Players jump into the shoes of the young hero Sareth, who has been trained in the arts of magic and war in order to battle the prophetic Dark Messiah. Players will have the choice to become expert warriors, mages or assassins, each with their own cache of devastating weapons and spells to use in battling huge and vicious enemies. Through combat, players will unlock new skills and equipment, advancing Sareth's experience and improving his performance, battle combos, hits, spells and techniques and setting his course for his destiny.

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The single player demo prologue reveals that you will be sent on a treasure hunt to recover the sarathi crystal. Through the voice of your master Phenrig you will be guided through the level to get to grips with the basic techniques in the game.

Despite this single player demo being linear in construction, the way you tackle the level is entirely up to you. You can sneak up behind opponents and kick them into a pit or choose to tackle them face to face with your sword. You can bypass enemies and continue onto the next segment or brutally slay every last one of them. But it's not all about combat, there's also a fair amount of problem solving too, such as cutting ropes to unleash traps, jumping on chains to reach otherwise unreachable places and working out how to kill enemies without attracting the attention of other guards.

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At the end of each level you're awarded skill points based on your performance that can then be used to customise your abilities. In the demo there are only two skills that you can upgrade, melee combat, which will improve your attack or shielding abilities, and an archery ability that, amongst other things, can improve the accuracy of your bow. The more points you attain the more you'll be able to upgrade these weapons, making you more powerful. In the full single player mode there are other abilities that can be upgraded; critical hit will allow you to inflict more damage on an opponent, and a strength skill and adrenaline skill, which are self explanatory.