Game Reviews

Heroes of Honor

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| Heroes of Honor
Heroes of Honor
| Heroes of Honor

Blood and Steel!

Yep, Nonstop Games's real-time strategy game Heroes of Honor might feel a bit familiar to Warcraft fans.

In fact, hardcore RTS players will probably blanch at the idea of applying the free-to-play formula to the genre in the first place. The very suggestion of paying for a victory in lieu of earning it through strategising is almost blasphemous.

Truth is, Nonstop Games is pretty fair about its free-to-play system here. Most of the wait times aren't outrageous, for one. And the dev is generous with freebies.

Still, that might not be enough to entice veteran RTS fans. Newcomers to the genre could certainly do worse than use Heroes of Honor as a RTS jumping-off point, though.

When orcs and humans collide

You choose to play as one of three armies in this story of war: the Imperials, which include human and dwarven warriors; the Shadow Faction, which comprises unholy, undead warriors; and the Clan, which includes bands of goblins, wyvern riders, and orcs.

Gameplay in Heroes of Honor is divided into two major elements: city building and battle.

The city building here isn't much different from the city building you'd find in Clash of Clans. You build arenas in which to train your warriors; you construct houses for your craftspeople; and you erect storage houses for your wood and gold. Grunts mine for valuables and hack at trees for building materials.

Battle involves your visiting the world map and attacking wandering enemy hordes and demon cities. You can hire several generals, each of which commands armies of melee fighters and long-distance attackers. When opposing forces meet, they fight until someone's supply of soldiers is depleted. To the victor goes the wood and gold.

Fight for glory

If you get tired of attacking computer-controlled demons, you can go up against other players' cities (though new players are allowed three days grace before they're left open to enemy attack).

You can also reclaim ruins that yield additional resources - though these need to be guarded fiercely or they'll be taken from you.

Heroes of Honor is fairly easy to learn. The tutorials are thorough, the quests are rewarding, and there's plenty of character backstory to devour.

You receive Gems, Heroes of Honor's hard currency, for completing some quests. Better still, the "hurry up" fee is waived in many of the building projects, especially early in the game.

Plain war on the plains

There's one major disappointment about Heroes of Honor, though: its graphics.

Not everything about the visuals is problematic, mind. The character portraits are tolerable, provided you're not sick to death of orcs and barbarians and the like.

Oh, and the cities themselves have certain specific charms to them depending on the race to which they belong (the craftsman belonging to the Clan idly scratches himself when he's not in use, which is pretty funny).

The problem is Heroes of Honor's overly simplistic battle graphics. Tiny character sprites literally meet on the map and kind of bash into one another like toy soldiers being handled by a kid. There aren't any visuals of the armies tearing each other up, which is disappointing.

Aside from its weak visuals, Heroes of Honor is a decent real-time strategy game in which you will probably feel like a big-shot general for a little while, at least. For the Horde!

Heroes of Honor

Heroes of Honor is a compelling blend of city-building and real-time warfare. Genre veterans might not appreciate the free-to-play elements, however