So after an epic battle against my computer, it looks like I finally got my CD/DVD drive working. Which means, among other things, I can play Heroes of Might & Magic V. I've been a fan of the whole M&M corpus for some time now (I adore Might & Magic VI and VII and find VIII passable [IX was wretched], and was also quite a fan of HOMM II and III).
The game is fine -- not stellar, but fine. But something about the graphics bugs me. They look almost precisely as if you took Warcraft III and made it into a turn based game. It's uncanny and a bit unnerving. And I feel like a lot of games have adopted this graphical style. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is a bit odd, as Warcraft III has a distinctively cartoon-y look to it that I think looks far less polished than many other games I've seen (compare it to, say, Halo 3 or Final Fantasy XII). Even put it against HOMM 3 (which by now is quite dated) is an interesting comparison -- obviously there is more detail in HOMM5, but I would call the third version quite a bit more artsy, if you will, and it feels weird to see a game step away from art. Again, not a criticism, just an observation and an oddity.