“Less is more” on the example of “Polish Heroes”. Clash II review

"Less is more" on the example of "Polish Heroes".  Clash II review

Clash II is still in the early access phase, but it is already clear that it is a different game than the iconic first part. I loved that title, I had nightmares about it. What will I remember from the second one?

1998's Clash was a revelation. I don't even remember if it was attached to a magazine or if it was sold at newsstands for pennies. In any case, it was a huge surprise and its playability provided thousands of Polish players with long hours of great fun. It was simple, transparent in its own way, and its idea was reminiscent of the beloved Heroes of Might and Magic series from 3DO. However, he differed from her to a satisfactory degree.

Clash II focused on improved graphics. But why?

At that time, I was afraid of this game. Monsters and artillery units lurking behind the fog of war gave the young player nightmares. Dark graphics with plenty of blood also had their effect. Therefore, as soon as I heard about the production of the second part, I immediately applied for the review code. I wanted to see how I would react to this dark world after all these years. Will it make the same impression on me now?

I promised myself that this would not be a text about the first game that I could praise endlessly. However, it is impossible to avoid comparisons. Just by looking at the screenshots, it's obvious that there's a departure from the typical graphics in favor of something we've seen in many other games (and we don't remember any of them). The minimalist but memorable design was replaced by a failed attempt to create “something in 3D”. Your eyes may not hurt, but there's nothing to look at either.

The pixel art Songs of Conquest looks better and clearer on the world map. When it comes to the interiors of castles, even Heroes of Might and Magic V from 2006 looks better. In Clash II, all the buildings inside the fortresses look the same and do not encourage you to pay attention to them. In 2024, we could probably expect something more from the menu of building and recruiting units.

“Polish Heroes”

The gameplay is still quite enjoyable, which shouldn't be a surprise. The idea of ​​a hero who gathers troops and explores the map has been working for decades. The opponents in the campaign may not pose a great challenge, but simpler fights can be entrusted to artificial intelligence, which will give us the result of the fight in a few seconds. Of course, we can control the army ourselves in such a way that it does not suffer losses, which is quite easy to do here. Troops gain experience and advance, which further encourages you to take care of them.

We only have two factions, but the units are quite diverse. Some have special skills. Sometimes it's worth zooming in on the camera because it's easy to mistake someone in the crowd. A good solution is the ability to queue subsequent orders before a given unit makes its move. Then you don't have to wait until the end of the animation.

The problem is the repeated messages from the soldiers. When an archer says the same thing four times in one move, it's hard to resist the urge to silence him. The music is even good, but the voice of the Polish narrator cries to heaven for vengeance. Scraping with a pen, drowning out the text being read (which doesn't look like it was written with a pen), doesn't improve the experience either and doesn't encourage you to focus on the plot. And if someone makes this effort and concentrates, he will simply waste time. Not worth it.

Clash II, or “better” is the enemy of good

While writing this text, I once again looked at screenshots and videos from the first Clash. My memories didn't lie to me, that game really looked nicer, more inviting. It didn't clog the map with unnecessary, ugly bushes and trees, nostalgia can't fool me in this respect. The units may have been clumsy, but they were homely and had character. Death was impressive. The battles were exciting. Castles looked like castles, and the strategic aspect drew and pushed us to build roads and outposts.

It is too late for Clash II for revolutionary changes, but a chance for the entire series would be to return to the simplicity that characterized the first part. Instead of making a cheap HoMM clone, it is better to choose an improved version of the first Clash game. In fact, many players would probably pay to play the remastered version of the first game. There was really no need to invent gunpowder here (and it wasn't).

Prime Bit Games' production is not terrible to play, but in 2024 the industry offers simply too much for this particular Polish work to win the hearts of gamers. There are plenty of mediocre games in every genre, and even more failed games. Clash II unfortunately struggles for its existence somewhere between these two categories. It's a pity, because it would seem that there would be enough potential for more.

Rating: 5/10

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