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Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, additionally subtitled Elements on Xbox 360, is a first-person action game with role-playing elements developed by Arkane Studios and Floodgate Entertainment. Kuju Entertainment developed the multiplayer mode. The player controls Sareth, the apprentice of the wizard Phenrig, after he is sent to the city of Stonehelm to accompany an expedition trying to retrieve a powerful artifact known as "The Skull of Shadows."
Dark Messiah: Might and Magic was released on October 24, 2006 on PC, and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic: Elements was released later on February 12, 2008 for the Xbox 360. It adds new levels in the single-player campaign, a revamped multiplayer mode, numerous bug-fixes, and adjustments for the console experience.
The game emphasizes environmental combat, by way of using scripted traps or terrain features. Actions include cutting ropes to release heavy objects, kicking enemies over a cliff or into a bed of spikes, and breaking support beams to collapse a structure and crush enemies underneath.
Enemies are generally difficult to kill in straightforward combat, although characters developed for this purpose may have an easier time. Characters with high stealth can sneak up behind enemies and perform a lethal backstab maneuver, while players skilled with a bow can use it to snipe enemies from a distance. Developing a character for resilience and strength for melee combat is still possible and completely viable, but even with proper specialization, successful close combat requires careful application of tactics, timing and precision.
Magic spells can be used to unleash offensive spells, heal the player, or serve a number of utility purposes.
As the player completes objectives throughout the game, Dark Messiah awards experience points that can be used to buy skills in one of three skill trees: Combat, Magic, and Miscellaneous. The Combat tree improves the power and efficiency of physical attacks. The Magic tree grants access to new spells. The Miscellaneous tree contains general improvements, including Stealth.
Although some enemies will drop remains when killed, looting in Dark Messiah is mostly a fixed affair. Valuable items are placed in specific locations for the player to find. Each item has fixed stats, and the selection of items is also limited, with only a small number of different weapons or armor in each category. Additionally, advanced items typically have a skill requirement, with the end result being that the character equips only a handful of different items over the course of the game, as allowed by selecting many skills in your skill selection bars.