A Retrospective: Might and Magic 6 – The Mandate of Heaven

January 29, 2008

Lately I’ve been contemplating the gaming experiences of my adolescent years, and what really influenced my current view of games. Until recently I had completely forgotten the 6th installment of Might and Magic. This may have been the first title that I ever become truly obsessed with. I remember sitting at my computer day after day and month after month playing this classic.


Many consider MM 6 a return to the classic, open ended style of RPGs from yesteryear. Though I vaguely remember Betrayal at Krondor, Might and Magic stands out as a first for me in the realm of RPGs, rather than a return to form. In many ways, I would consider a MM 6 a precursor to the modern MMO. Very open ended game play and a series of mostly optional main quests are staples which this game flaunts in spades. Rather than using story to compel the player, Might and Magic appeals to the inner explorer, begging them to try their hand. Even the dungeons, which are basically instanced, contain depth and breadth that I’ve rarely seen in any genre. At one point in time, I actually had a cycle of areas that I would farm for gear in order to most efficiently encompass respawn times (6months in game time for some areas).


It would be disingenuous if I failed to mention PC Gamer at this point. At this time, with the internet still in its fledgling stage, PC Gamer was a great source of knowledge the average gamer. I eagerly awaited every monthly tome (some issues approached 300 pages at that time) that arrived. At the ripe-old age of 15, I would have been lost without their rather detailed and lengthy guide. The fact is if I were to play this game again I believe that I would still need some sort of guidance to complete the game.


Even for its time the graphics in MM VI were sub par. When most games were starting to incorporate the power of true 3d graphics, Might and Magic stayed with tried and true sprite graphics. Furthermore, the character representations were terrible/hilarious human portraits with the most over dramatic expressions in the history of gaming. Though these may seem like negative aspects to the game, they’re really not. The character portraits are just campy enough to remain entertaining throughout the game. For the 7th edition of Might and Magic, more advanced graphics were used, and the pallet was dulled to a tragic extent.


Overall, MM 6 is a fantastic game that really formed the basis on which all other RPGs that I play are jugged. I find it sad that this game isn’t mentioned more often in regards to best PC game ever, it is certainly on my list.


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