Might & Magic Heroes VII

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Might & Magic Heroes VII Game Poster Image
Sprawling strategy game with frequent fantasy violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about strategy and digital creation in this challenging game of turn-based tactics. Players need to sift through an abundance of data -- including statistics, movement capabilities, and special skills -- to come up with informed battle plans that minimize allied casualties and maximize damage to enemies. A powerful map editor lets players design and share their own scenarios, tweaking and adjusting objectives and parameters while getting a feel for professional game design. Might & Magic Heroes VII is meant for entertainment, but it makes players think strategically and can serve as an outlet for digital creativity.

Positive Messages

Shows players value of thinking strategically, planning ahead, but also glorifies, attempts to justify brutal war. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most player-controlled characters are fighting for freedom, justice, but their motives are sometimes difficult to decipher. All see violence as a means -- sometimes the only way -- to fix political problems.

Ease of Play

No formal tutorial, few in-game instructions means players new to series could be a bit lost at the start. Multiple difficulty settings will help ease entry.

Violence

Humans, humanoids, fantasy creatures do battle with medieval weaponry including swords, bows as well as powerful energy-based magical attacks. Hits register with flashes of light; fallen combatants crumple, lay still. A narrative sequence shows a severed head.

Sex

Some female characters wear revealing tops exposing deep cleavage.

Language

Mild and infrequent; includes the word "bastard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Might & Magic Heroes VII is a turn-based fantasy-strategy game. Melee and magical combat is generally seen from a bird's-eye view, though the camera sometimes pulls in close to show powerful strikes. There's little in the way of blood on the battlefield, but some noninteractive narrative sequences depict violence, including a severed head. The traditional fantasy narrative -- filled with humans, orcs, elves, elementals, and other creatures -- tells multiple tales of heroism, generally glorifying medieval-style combat and war in the process. Parents also should note that this game supports online competitive play and that players can chat with strangers via text. They may be exposed to inappropriate language and topics of discussion, share personal information, and face online bullying.

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What's it about?

MIGHT & MAGIC HEROES VII begins with a group of fantasy heroes gathered around a table, each ready to tell an epic story comprising a separate campaign. It's up to players to work through these campaigns at their own pace, skipping between stories as they like. Each campaign plays out on a series of overworld maps littered with loot, strongholds, and enemies. Half of the game takes place on these maps, with players and AI opponents taking turns strategically moving their heroes from one point of interest to the next. This helps them complete specific quests and objectives, expand influence by occupying castles and outposts, and spend resources to grow their armies. The second half of the game is composed of turn-based combat. Players can initiate combat with any enemy they encounter while exploring, which brings up a gridded map showing allies and enemies on opposite sides of a board. Opponents take turns moving and attacking until one side is defeated. Outside the campaigns, players can engage in customized scenarios designed by the community, set up one-off duels against the computer, and engage in head-to-head play against other players both locally and online. 

Is it any good?

This complex strategy game seems to assume most players are familiar with the franchise, because it throws them into the deep end without much in the way of a tutorial or instruction. The good news is that the initial maps in each campaign are pretty easy and let players experiment without much risk of failure -- especially on easier settings. The bad news is that later stages become a lot more challenging and likely will require some restarts (even on easier difficulties) as players struggle to get the lay of the land, trying to figure out what to do and how to go about doing it as efficiently as possible.

The turn-based combat of Might & Magic Heroes VII requires time to master too. Learning to properly exploit the abilities of each type of unit at your disposal demands patience and practice, as does taking advantage of earned abilities wielded by the powerful heroes who command armies from the sidelines. That said, in some campaigns you may personally engage in only a handful of battles, opting instead to simulate most encounters to save time. You can usually do a bit better than the AI that stands in your place, but the difference is small enough that it only really matters in battles with an unpredictable outcome, which smart players will try to avoid. In the end, Might & Magic Heroes VII, like its predecessors, will appeal primarily to a niche audience of fantasy and turn-based strategy fans, but those players likely will appreciate the scope and depth of what they get.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. What difference, if any, exists between games that depict the killing of humans and those that show the deaths of intelligent but nonhuman characters?

  • Talk about online safety. What steps would you take if you were playing with someone online who began bullying others in the group, asking for personal information, or making racist, sexist, or homophobic comments? 

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Subjects: Hobbies: building, collecting
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, solving puzzles, strategy
    Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
    Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
  • Price: $59.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: UbiSoft
  • Release date: September 29, 2015
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
  • ESRB rating: T for Blood and Gore, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love strategy

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