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3D Dot Game Heroes Review
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There are so many games these days that are bringing innovative new ideas to the industry and giving gamers new experiences they never thought were possible, but developers Atlus have decided to take a completely different direction and target the old-school retro gamers of the late 80’s, where it all began. 3D Dot Game Heroes attempts to take us on a nostalgic trip whilst freshening up the retro genre, so how does this Playstation 3 exclusive hold up compared to modern day games and does it do justice to old-school gaming?

From the moment you boot up and start playing 3D Dot Game Heroes, it is painstakingly obvious that the game has been based upon The Legend of Zelda, a game many people class as one of the best ever developed and a game that was launched way back on February 21, 1986; a massive 24 years ago and 2 years before I was born! The Legend of Zelda featured a mixture of puzzles, action, battle and exploration gameplay, all something that you will find in 3D Dot Game Heroes. The similarities between the two games are there for all to witness. Whether it be the dungeon gameplay, crazy sword antics, subtitled text speech, grapple hook exploration, the retro soundtrack and even chasing chickens around with your shield, 3D Dot Game Heroes has all the old-school Zelda goodness that the retro gamer living inside you will be thrilled to see make an appearance in a modern age full of High Definition, groundbreaking graphics and ear-drum bursting explosions. I fear that many people will feel that Atlus have taken the similarities too far and the game will be labelled a “rip-off”, but in-fact Atlus have said the game is a tribute to retro gaming and Zelda; whether that excuses taking literally every single gameplay mechanic of the game or not and shoving High Definition visuals on top, I’m not sure.

3D Dot Game Heroes even features an old-school storyline that you would encounter many a time back in the 80s and early 90s; save the kingdom and defeat the evil. In this case, the kingdom of Dotnia has been invaded by an evil king known as The Dark King Onyx who has stolen six magical orbs, only to have his plans thwarted by a hero with a legendary sword who twisted events and sealed the Dark King Onyx in a magical orb himself. Chaos and terror flowed through the Kingdom of Dotnia once again however when an evil Dark Bishop called Fuelle stole the orb the Dark King resided in and planned to use the orb to take over the world. You must take control of grandchild of the hero who originally slayed the Dark King Onyx, recovering the legendary sword from the depths of the forest and using it to defeat the Dark Bishop Fuelle and bring calm and peace back to the Kingdom of Dotnia.

Dotnia received many visitors from around the world after the Dark King Onyx had been defeated who wanted to take a glimpse at the legendary hero and the Kingdom itself, but eventually the tale got old and the visitors stopped flooding from afar. In order to fix this problem, the King decided to transform the boring 2D sprites and make the land completely 3-dimensional, whilst still keeping the pixelated look. This helped attract visitors from all over the world to Dotnia, and of course give the game a modern day look. Everything from the water to the trees in Dotnia is made up of hundreds of small blocks, giving the game that old-school feel and at the same time bringing a modern day High Definition shine to the game. Interior areas such as houses and some temples look a bit bland, but the majority of the game looks fantastic. Enemies’ breaking into hundreds of small blocks when defeated is an example of one of the many nice touches found in the game.

The game requires you to travel to 6 temples located in Dotnia and receive the 6 magical orbs, which when fused together, will give you the power to defeat the Dark Bishop Fuelle. The story is decent and fits into the retro-style well, giving an incentive to play through and complete the 20+ hour storyline that the game offers. Unfortunately I found the game often lacked direction, leaving me wondering around the land aimlessly and wasting time. An example of this would be the game saying “the Forest temple is located to the North” instead of giving me a real guide to the objective. I would have preferred a more detailed route, but at least this adds exploration to the game and hours to the gameplay, even if the downside is some un-needed frustration. A map is available which lets you quickly travel throughout the Kingdom of Dotnia once you have discovered different places, and this is useful due to the amount of backtracking you will have to do in the game.

3d dot game heroes webex 2 3D Dot Game Heroes Review

There is a fair amount of humour to be found throughout the storyline and you can tell that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. The game will often ask you a question such as “will you be brave and take on the quest to recover the orbs?” leaving you with a yes or no answer. If you are like me and couldn’t resist the temptation of being a douche and choosing no, the game will reply with a comical answer along the lines of “c’mon, you know you have to choose yes in order to progress the story!” There are also plenty of retro game references chucked in for the older gamer to enjoy, and something you may only really appreciate if you grew up in that era of gaming.

A good variety of enemies inhabit the Kingdom of Dotnia and each requires different tactics to defeat. Spiders will spring about the screen trying to land on you, resulting in you having to constantly move about the screen and avoid the nasty nippers whereas other enemies will fire arrows from afar or decide to charge catch you off guard and use a charge attack. You have a shield to protect you from attacks, but the most interesting possession you have is undoubtedly the legendary sword you carry along with a wide range of other swords you can pick-up throughout the story. The legendary sword is swung in humorous fashion and is bound to bring some laughs to the game as its unnatural stabbing effect occurs. The sword takes up a huge amount of the screen and therefore is effective at removing numerous enemies from the screen in one attack. However, the sword will only have this huge and powerful appearance when your health is full, and therefore you will have to be careful of getting hit by enemies or quickly eat apples which are often left after killing enemies in order to give you back an advantage in the battlefield.

The 6 temples you must travel to in order to collect the magical orbs all have a boss you must defeat at the end, and this can be extremely difficult once you take your first damage due to your massive, powerful weapon being changed to a puny sword which only extends a few metres of the screen instead of taking up the whole playing area. Expect to have to reload the game multiple times when this occurs and endure some frustration. All the swords you pick up in the game can be taken to a blacksmith and upgraded via coins you collect by defeating enemies and destroying plants and other objects. The power and girth of the swords can be improved, and this system adds an RPG feel to the game. You will also acquire a boomerang and crossbow which you will need to progress throughout the story, but these can also be used as effective weapons against the right enemies.

The aforementioned 6 temples you will visit provide some fun and challenging puzzle gameplay which will have to solving puzzles, finding keys, defeating enemies and backtracking in order to get past the boss and retrieving the magical orb you desire. I must admit that some of the puzzles took me a fair amount of time to work out and I even had to look up some videos on Youtube to help me through a certain section, and this makes me think that the game might not be suitable for the younger audiences; either that or I’m just an idiot and need to go back to college! Mini-games can be found throughout the Kingdom such as Tower Defence games, and these add some variety to the game-play; just don’t expect the mini-games to hold your attention for too long. There is a good variety of environments in the game such as forests, deserts, temples and even dungeons to battle through and these help keep the game fresh.

When you first start the game, you are able to choose what character you would like to play as instead of having to play through the story as a pre-determined character. You can select between basic male and female characters you would expect to occupy the Kingdom of Dotnia, along with Ninja Assassins and even animals! If none of these take your fancy, there is even a customisation option which lets you build your own character dot-by-dot where you can design the body shape and change the colours to create your own personal character. Seeing your invention bravely stroll throughout the land is a nice touch and a tool you can spend hours playing around with and you can change which character you use everytime you load up the game and this will help you avoid getting bored with the game.

The trophy hunters and completionists among you will be happy to hear there are 51 trophies to unlock. You will obtain many of the bronze trophies by simply carrying out basic events such as defeating an enemy with your sword, blocking an attack with your shield and creating a character. Harder trophies to obtain include maxing out your health bar and acquiring all of the swords. 34 of the trophies are hidden and wil require you to fully explore the Kingdom of Dotnia and experience everything the game has to offer. The list is a solid one which will add hours of gameplay for those looking to obtain the Platinum trophy.

Overall, 3D Dot Heroes Game is a retro lovers dream and should be experienced by anyone who loved the 8-bit genre back in the late 80s and early 90s. The game takes many of Zelda’s ideas and implements them well, adding a classy High Definition coat of paint to proceedings. The old-school gaming certainly won’t appeal to everybody and I must say I’m not the biggest retro fan, but the unique style of the game and addictive gameplay provides something different to what is currently available on the Playstation 3. Highly recommended for retro fans and I recommend a rental for fans of the action/adventure genre.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
3D Dot Game Heroes Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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