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on December 26, 2007
Tribes of East is the final chapter of the Heroes of Might and Magic V trilogy. Even though this expansion was not highly anticipated as its predecessor, Hammers of Fate, it was generally better received by the HMM5 internet community for competency issues. Ubisoft definitely put their best foot forward to ensure that all of the glitches were ironed out before releasing a buggy product (contrary to the original HMM5).

The GOOD!

* TOE IS A STANDALONE PRODUCT - This is a very convenient installation feature that allows you to install the product without owning any of the previous HMM5 products. No annoying prerequisite installations to worry about.

* TOE DOES NOT REQUIRE THE DISC TO RUN - Another convenient installation feature that allows you to launch the game with the DVD absent in your disc drive (Be warned: This feature could be unintended by Ubisoft as it was not advertised on the packaging and could be removed in a future patch).

* A NEW FACTION AND HERO - A strong majority of HMM5 fans were anticipating and begging for the arrival of the nomadic and savage faction known as the Orcs. Their Stronghold hosts a diverse array of units consisting of Goblins, Centaur, Warriors, Shamans, Slayers, Wyverns and Cyclopes. Under the command of an Orcish Hero (The Barbarian) these units can utilize a Bloodrage ability. This ability is accumulated in correlation to the amount of damage that unit inflicts and as a result will give the Orc units access to additional abilities (ie. Cyclops obtains a Fear Aura when obtaining Bloodrage level 3).

* AN ALTERNATE UPGRADE TO EVERY UNIT - This is a highly celebrated feature of ToE that adds a whole new dimension to the HMM5 gameplay. Whenever a creature dwelling is upgraded in a town, the player can choose between two different upgrades for the creature stack. (For example, after the player upgrades the Lich Dwelling in the Necropolis, he/she now has the choice of upgrading a Lich into an Arch Lich or a Lich Master.) As a result there are essentially 50% more creature types availible vastly opening the strategic diversity in a battle. In addition, there is also a "regrading" system allowing the player to interchange his/her units from one upgrade to the other. (For example, the player can pay to "regrade" a stack of Arch Liches into a stack of Lich Masters and vise versa so that the player is not forced to dedicate themselves to one upgrade type).

* SOME NEW INTERFACE FEATURES - Ubisoft did a fine job attuning their eyes and ears to consumer feedback by implementing some very convenient modifications to the user interface. The first one is the Kingdom Overview screen. This allows you to view hero and town details all in one screen without having to tediously cycle through all of them in the town view(a nice feature available in HMM3). In fact you can even access the build menus from here greatly speeding the pace for multiple town management. The second is a "Wait" button in battle menu, something that was highly desired since the original since HMM5. There are a couple more minor features in ToE that smooth out the gameplay but I do not wish to go into them all in great detail.

* PLENTY OF NEW ARTIFACTS, AND ARTIFACT SETS - The new artifacts offered by ToE are well balanced and function specific bestowing a very strategic use for each one. Many of the original artifacts along with some new ones are components of artifact sets. For each set artifact that the hero equips, he/she receives additional bonuses. (For Example: if the hero equips 2 artifacts from the Dragon Set he/she receives +1 to all hero parameters in addition to the original artifact bonuses. If the hero equips 4 artifacts from the Dragon Set he/she also receives +5 attack and all tier 7 creatures in the army receive +20 HP).

* THE GRAPHICS - Despite the 18 month disparity between the release dates of HMM5 and ToE, this game is not a hair more graphic intensive. This means that the consumers of HMM5 who met bare minimum specs will not have to purchase a whole new PC or upgrade their hardware just to run this game. However, Ubisoft did include a couple new display settings to tailor to wide screen monitors and laptops.

* GOOD MAP EDITOR CONTENT - ToE has a batch new terrain types along with a slew of new interactive and decorative doodads. This greatly diversifies the amount of creativity involved when creating a new map with the map editor.

* FAN CONTENT MATERIAL - This aspect alone illuminates the high level of appreciation that Ubisoft has for their online community. ToE comes included with a 300 plus page .pdf manual that breaks down the specifics for every creature statistic, spell formula, artifact bonus, and just about every concept involved with this game. This manual is pretty much the holy bible to the HMM5 series and is compiled by a very credible fan base known as the "Age of Heroes" community.

The BAD!

* NOT SO INTELLEGENT ARTIFICIAL "INTELLEGENCE" - This is the sole reason I gave ToE a 4-star rating in the "Fun" category. I feel that a competent A.I. is an imperative necessity for the turn-based strategy genre and throughout the whole HMM5 trilogy I have been pretty disappointed. I don't think this is the worst A.I. ever coded into a PC game but it is apparent that Ubisoft neglected to invest the proper amount of time in their A.I. so it can adapt, prioritize, and strategize in specific situations. I simply do not feel like the A.I. is a comparable opponent unless it is set on higher difficulties where it will flagrantly "cheat" (by receiving extra resources, experience, etc) making you lose that feeling of being in a battle of wits.

* NO NEW NEUTRAL CREATURES - With the release of every HMM expansion pack I always look forward to utilizing new mercenary creatures that are not affiliated with the 8 main factions. I was hoping that they'd bring back classics like the Medusas, Efreeti, Beholders, Basilisks, among many others. Don't hold your breath as there is not a single new neutral creature in ToE.

* TOO FEW NUMBER OF NEW MULTIPLAYER MAPS - With the creation of several new terrain types and the numerous addition of interactive doo-dads, I expected Ubisoft to work their creative team to the bone to pump out new maps and scenarios. Unfortunately that was not the case as there were only 4-6 new custom maps with this expansion. However, there are many 3rd party sites that provide multi-player maps and single player scenarios for download.

OVERALL: ToE has exceeded my expectations. If Ubisoft spends the proper time to revamp the A.I.(or maybe scrap it completely and start from square one) and release more multiplayer maps in a future patch then this will be a virtually flawless product. It is obvious that the numerous PROS of ToE outweigh the potentially rectifiable CONS. ToE's new features do a good job enhancing the gameplay mechanics providing a highly crafted but fluid turn-based strategy experience. For that reason, this game is worthy of the 5-star rating and is definitely worth buying for any casual or diehard fan of the Heroes of Might and Magic series. On the flipside, people new to the franchise might want to pick up a precursor title first.
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on November 8, 2007
The last HOMM game I've played was 3 and I loved it. I didn't get 4 due to the bad reviews and I didn't get 5 because I wanted to wait for the bugs to get straightened out. I almost didn't get this game because of the bad Gamespot review. However, since this is a standalone expansion which didn't require the original game, I decided to give it a try. Boy, am I glad I did!

The Gamespot reviewer probably (a) did not like this type of game, or (b) did not play past the prologue. This is an incredibly deep game. The graphics are much improved since HOMM3 although the music is not as good. Then again, it's hard to beat the original soundtrack for HOMM3. I don't play multi-player, so I have no idea how well balanced that is. But in the single-player campaign, each faction has its distinct style which separates it from the other. For example, the Orcs have blood rage which gives it improved stats and also acts as a damage shield. The necromancers have dark magic which allows it to resurrect foes or allies into your armies. Oh yeah, I really like the skills development for heroes! They nailed it right as each skill is powerful in its own ways and almost all the skills are useful. Additionally, some of the upgrades have multiple paths which I believe is a first in the series.

I have no idea how much improvement this game is over the original HOMM5, but coming from someone who has played it for the first time since HOMM3, this is an awesome game. I do noticed that some of the maps had puzzle-like elements which forced me to restart to find a more optimal strategy. However, I have no problem with it since campaigns should be different from stand-alone skirmishes. All in all, I think this is worth 30 bucks.

PROS
- good graphics
- stable, doesn't crash
- skills progression
- different factions that are not clones of each other
- stand-alone expansion
- FUN!

CONS
- music isn't as good as HOMM3
- difficult campaign maps that may require replay
- okay story (perhaps it's because I started with an expansion?)
- waste too much of my time! =)
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on February 17, 2008
I have all the HoMM games. I was very dissapointed with the first Heroes v and had too many problems with it so I rarely play it. But in TOE (Tribes of the East), many of the problems have been fixed.
1. They did away with the timer for turns. You no longer have to wait up to an hour for your turn to come.
2. There is a Map Generator so you can create all the games you want.
3. Caravans are back.
4. Game still tends to crash but not nearly as much as the first Heroes V

They also added a skills improvement so you have two choices when you upgrade your creatures. NICE!!

I enjoy this game A LOT more than the first Heroes V and play it all the time, but I only gave it a four because it does still crash my computer occationaly (but NOT as much as first Heroes V)

DEFINITLY worth $30.
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on December 26, 2008
If you have played Heroes III: Complete, or the original Heroes V, then I hope you read this review. Tribes of the East is the culmination of Ubisoft's efforts to bring a faithful sequel to Heroes III, and if you are a fan of the series or a fan of turn based strategy games (or are interested in giving the genre a try), this is one of the best games out there.

I won't comment much on the single player campaign, as this has never been the strong point of the series, nor its selling point. Tribes of the East improves on Heroes III and V in several respects. For those reading this review who have never played the original Heroes V but did play Heroes III, the primary improvement over the rest of the series is the combat. Tier 7 units no longer completely overwhelm the enemy as in Heroes III, in part because of better balance overall in terms of the tiers, but also because Tier 7 units have been toned down, made more accessible, and are cheaper to purchase.

The turn system has also been replaced by a system of initiative; faster units go more often, initiative bonuses from magic and artifacts are relative to the initiative of particular units, and movement speed is a much bigger deal because of the size of the battlefield and the less generous movement stats overall. Basically, Heroes V is a 1000% improvement on Heroes III combat system. Heroes do interact on the battlefield, as in Heroes IV, but only in the sense that all heroes have different abilities and magic (as opposed to Heroes III, where Might heroes simply stood around waiting to dispel blind).

Tribes of the East improves on Heroes V and Hammers of Fate with alternative unit upgrades, which is probably the most overdue and significant addition to the series. When you purchase a unit's upgraded building, you get access to two upgrades, and you can switch a unit between these upgrades at any time when your hero is in his / her castle for a nominal gold fee. You can even sport both types of a particular unit (for example, you can use both Djinn Sultans and Viziers to spam luck bonuses and random blessings on your units). This greatly increases your options against particular castles, making mirror matches far more interesting and balancing certain mismatches (another example... Inferno now has Pit Spawns and Succubus Seducers, preventing them from being simply overwhelmed by high hit point towns). In general, the combination of the improved combat system when the series originally was released, and the addition of twice as many upgraded units, makes Heroes V the most formidable game of the heroes series.

There are a few major cons to Heroes V, and if Ubisoft reads its consumer reviews on Amazon, it should take note of some of these, because I think that most people who have played any version of Heroes 5 will agree with most of them.

First, the limited amount of company-produced game maps for single player or hot seat games is incomprehensible. I've spent many hours scouring user-made custom maps just to find one or two additional maps worth playing on. This is something Ubisoft could probably remedy relatively quick and cheaply. I would gladly pay an extra $20-25 to download a library of Heroes V maps. This is probably the most urgent con to this game, as the limited maps reduces what is potentially the infinite replay value of this game.

Second, the world map spells are bordering useless. This is an understandable change from Heroes III, where town portal, dimension door, and fly were so ridiculously powerful that not getting one of them (especially town portal) could be the difference between winning and losing. While the removal of dimension door for instant travel is welcome, the actual functionality of town portal makes the spell practically useless. You should be able to set a town as your designated "town portal" when you visit it. Otherwise, teleporting back to the closest town makes larger maps degenerate into an elaborate game of cat and mouse in larger games. This is not a fun way to play Heroes, as it penalizes going on the offensive. Some races, such as Sylvan, are particularly damaged by the functionality because their racial is essentially useless unless they are constantly returning to their original town. Ditto for Academy.

Third, allied heroes cannot use allied castles in any way. They can't even enter them. I don't understand why this is the case. This should be patched immediately. You also can't tag your allies' resources, and you should also be able to "liberate" your allies' castle if his / her last one is taken and you recover it in the week's time, instead of the castle being put in your possession and your ally getting kicked out of the game.

Fourth, you should be able to access your castle and hero info while waiting between turns, even if just the general info. It is strange that in none of the Heroes games this has been made accessible.

Last, the Hall of Fame seems to be bugged or only works for campaigns. One of the most fun parts of having multiple people share a computer to play Heroes III or to play hot seat was the Hall of Fame; it was an easy way to reward players with some sort of scale of greatness. I actually play on my roommate's PC, and we play quite a bit, and this it is very sad that we don't have a Hall of Fame that itself reminds of all the epic games we've played, which is the case in Heroes III.

These cons aside, Heroes V: Tribes of the East is as amazing game. There's also a Heroes V port for Mac OS X, but not of Tribes of the East (why they ported the original Heroes V instead of Tribes of the East, when TOE is a standalone and had already been released, is a deep, unexplained question). I strongly recommend this game to gamers of all type, as it is fun, every time you play it is different, and it is graphically a very satisfying game. I also disagree with many reviewers that the game music is inferior to Heroes III. This is simply not true. The combat music in Heroes V is far superior, and some towns, like Undead and Sylvan, have music that is better than any track from Heroes III.

Again, I highly recommend this game, and as my review title states, this is the true successor to Heroes of Might and Magic III: Complete.
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on April 25, 2016
Of all the odd number games, this one is at the bottom of the list. It's not the worst edition of Heroes of Might and Magic, but it is not the best. It is a nice counterbalance to Hammers of Fate. This version of the Stronghold is better than the Heroes 3 version and it does have a couple of really good creatures. This is also the first time they made creatures that got stronger when fed other creatures, which I think is a nice touch. I really like their top tier creature.
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on July 10, 2014
What Heroes V should have been on its release. A well-polished standalone game for Windows PC that brings new challenge to an old classic. Gameplay issues have all been lovingly resolved. In Heroes V, isometric graphics can now be zoomed and rotated for a 3D experience far removed from its 2D predecessors. The scenarios in the campaign are interconnected and dynamic, well designed and fun. Multiple crashes to desktop (Windows 7) and long save/load times are two criticisms I have of the game, but nothing so bad that made the game unplayable or unenjoyable.
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on February 24, 2014
I was a big fan of homm 1,2, & 3, improving each game. #4 had interesting ideas that I didn't like the result of. #6 is beautiful, but I feel I just don't get it or feel comfortable playing it. 5 took #3, and slightly improved everything. The dwarf upgrade wad a bit powerful, but cool, and the east orcs, plus a few downloads, gives even more awesome content and is the Irving on the cake
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on February 7, 2012
great game for just wasting several hours, fun and challenging as you try to build up characters and beat the next level and then you notice you have been playing for a couple hours...but don't want to quit just yet
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on January 22, 2008
This game still has the same classic feel as the previous games in the series but with a new and improved look. The addition of the random map generator was what drove to buy the game. Make sure you have a very good processor and video card if you want to play the very largest maps (extra large and impossible sized). The AI is very good and will keep you on your toes.
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on December 22, 2012
I played HOMM for the PC back in the early 1990s, and I bought HOMM 2 through 5 after that. HOMM 5 was another one of those rip-off titles where the game developer Ubisoft (a French company) went along with the standard procedure of: (1) releasing an incomplete game, (2) adding on a map editor in a later patch, (3) providing an expansion that patched the game and added a few more things (like a few maps, a faction, and slight interface upgrades), and then (4) released a complete edition that removed nearly all the bugs, added all the content that should have been released from the start, and came as an obvious cheapshot in their attempt to milk everyone, which really upset those most loyal to the brand.

HOMM 5: Tribes of the East was a special cheapshot, however, in that Ubisoft made it both the complete version AND as a stand-alone product that expanded HOMM 5. Yep, a complete version with an expansion in it. What makes that a horrible cheapshot? Well, let's say that you thought it was just an expansion pack. Well, that would be a fine surprise to learn that you got the complete/expanded version in one package here, but would leave you hollow inside when you realize that the original HOMM 5 base game and the Hammers of Fate expansion are now completely worthless to even own. It begs the question: "Why the heck did I buy the base game and the first expansion?" Answer: you were cheapshot. The right thing to do was just release HOMM 5: Tribes of the east. But I guess there is no honesty in video game development anymore.

The folks who got the best deal, then, are those who did not buy the base game or the Hammer of Fate expansion pack and only paid a couple bucks for HOMM 5: TotE. Those folks got what we should had been offered from Day 1.

That said, if you were able to swallow your pride and give HOMM 5: TotE a shot, then you definitely liked it, as it is a great game. The only real problem with it (besides having to swallow your pride if you bought the previous versions of it) is that the map editor is ridiculously psychotic for the average video gamer who just wants to plop down some towns, artifacts, bad guys, and Heroes. Holy crap, the editor requires advanced computer science degrees just to be able to put in a very simple script like "kill this many [bad guy's name] and then trigger [this event]." Forget about that. But after a LONG experimentation process, you will be able to work elevations to somewhat of your liking, even though that is a super-minor aspect to map-building. But besides the cheapshot to loyal HOMM fans and the hideous map editor, HOMM 5: TotE is a fantastic game that I think every turn-based role-playing game fan should own. I am personally not a huge multiplayer fan, but if you could make honest friends and play this with them, that would be super-fun, too, as human players surely make better decisions than the AI guys do, all told. (The AI is still pretty good in this game, nonetheless.)

I wrote the above points simply as a quick review of a product that I have owned and played (to this day) for a couple years now just to give my general opinion of the thing. My recommendation stands: get it because it is a great game. But I also write this review today to speak directly to the fact that HOMM 5: TotE is now like a lot of games on Amazon where they are now downloadable.

I have had a great experience with Amazon.com in general. Their customer service cannot be beat, which makes me love America more. (Because if everything was a government monopoly office, like the DMV, then yeah, I might get what I needed, but it would be a sucky process with no smiling, helpful faces. I go where the helpfulness and courtiousness are, which is why multiple, free choice is such an awesome thing!) My faith in Amazon has always been great, so when I first tried a downloadable game, I knew that if I was not totally satisfied, I could get help with that. Well, everything worked fine, so I became a big fan of downloading content from Amazon, which is typically cheaper in price and more convenient in process but of the same quality as going to a store or having someone ship a box to you. While an Internet connection is required to download the game, I have had no problems playing mine offline.

Now, I have purchased five titles as downloads from Amazon so far, but my last one was really just a product code that I had to register on Steam, which is a third party service. I have always avoided Steam because I don't like the thought of having my actions tracked or being forced to comply with a whole set of new rules and understandings besides simply "install and play." I think companies are using third party ventures like this so as to reduce piracy and thus save more money in the long-run. In my opinion, I don't like extra steps nor that whole DRM thing looming in the background. I am not a pirate, though I feel like I am treated as one. I wish there was a better way.

Anyhow, since my last downloaded game was purchased through Amazon, I decided to give Steam a try. It turned out to be fine because I can play my games offline (which I don't think is possible for all games on Steam, so I have read) and they are all high quality.

I mention those points on downloading a game through Amazon because HOMM 5 has now been relegated to that offering. For $6.50, you can get any one of the three titles in the HOMM 5 game: the base game, the expansion pack, and the complete version. As aforementioned, ToTE is the complete version. You do not need the base game or the Hammers of Fate expansion because all that is included in Tribes of the East.

So here is my conclusion/summary:

1) Buy HOMM 5: TotE for $6.50 right here from Amazon. It is a great, complete, stand-alone game, and that price is fan-friggin'-tastic.

2) Downloading content from Amazon (even if it has to run through Steam sometimes) is safe, convenient, cheaper, and equal in quality to any other method.

3) Do not buy the base game for HOMM 5 or its first expansion, Hammers of Fate. All of the content of those two titles are included in Tribes of the East. TotE is a stand-alone product, so just spend the $6.50 once and have your world rocked.
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