Is HOMM2 a sequel or a remake? You think ‘sequel’ with games like Civilization II and SimCity 2000, elegantly improving on the formula they’re based upon, yet are still substantially different to warrant the label. Heroes II isn’t all that different from the first game, and comes off as more of a remake than anything else.
This is not to say it’s bad, just that it’s ultimately not very different. The fundamentals are identical to the first game, particularly the “killer stack” mentality, whereby you bide your time building up a stack of powerful units and a hero bloated with ever more powerful artifacts. The ensuing rampage through the enemy’s territory into his cities tends to be anticlimactic. A token nod is made towards resources; you occupy mines and gather stray treasure, but the game always comes down to dueling stacks of huge armies in the end, even with the addition of variable victory conditions.
The nature of tactical combat has changed very little, with the exception of more spells and more room to maneuver. These two changes do, however, allow for more nuances in gameplay than the original. The new spread of spells will be useful for all sorts of different styles, allowing shrewd players more opportunities to modify attack and defense values while less advanced players will just lob fireballs.