3D Dot Game Heroes Review

  • Posted April 19th, 2010 at 16:59 EDT by Adam Dolge

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3D Dot Game Heroes

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3D Dot Game Heroes is an enjoyable stroll through the past. While it offers very few new ideas, it is utterly charming and a joy to play.

We like

  • The retro-goodness is true to its core gameplay
  • The beautiful graphics and quirky visual presentation
  • The nostalgic rich atmosphere

We dislike

  • The lack of identity
  • The repetitive and mediocre music
  • The lacklustre boss battles

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

There is a question that has been plaguing our minds ever since we started playing 3D Dot Game Heroes: what constitutes as homage and what is actually theft? As harsh as this may sound, after playing through the game, we cannot whole-heartedly say whether it stole all its ideas from the games of our youth, or it’s cutely playing homage to the classics. The good news is that even if the game is ripping-off the likes of Zelda, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to play. It’s simplistic, adorable, and full of retro-goodness that’s all wrapped up in a swanky HD package on PlayStation 3.

3D Dot Game Heroes is a PlayStation 3 exclusive action-adventure game heading to North America and Europe in May. Developed by Silicon Studio, the game was originally released in Japan in November of 2009. This joins games like Half-Minute Hero in pursuit of appearing retro with modern comforts like easily accessible save points, lush graphics, and fast load times. At its core 3D Dot Game Heroes is a feast for retro fans, both those who lived and gamed in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and those who wish they had experienced the awesomeness of playing NES games in their parent’s basements as kids.

If you’ve followed our coverage of 3D Dot Game Heroes, then you will not be shocked when we say this game is a lot like The Legend of Zelda. When we say a lot, we mean it feels like an HD version of Link’s epic tale. But, there is so much more to this game than its Zelda-like appearance, gameplay, music, weaponry, enemies, themes, and characters. The game never takes itself too seriously, making no bones about its clear love affair with all things retro. In particular, there are lines of text taken directly from Zelda.

The story is quite basic. You play as a hero (of course) who is on a mission to stop an evil bishop from causing all sorts of problems in the kingdom. The hero must venture through the kingdom to find magical orbs that have the powers to defeat the evil bishop. The world was once flat, in 2D, but the king decided to revamp its style and made it 3D. You’ll learn quickly that you are the grandkid of a warrior who defeated the evil bishop, and capsulated said evil bishop into a magical orb.

Venturing through the kingdom in pursuit of magical orbs, you’ll find seven temples filled with all sorts of baddies. The land is also home to healing fairy fountains, hidden caves, and towns. The map is pretty big, but not overwhelming. You can buy special items that allow you to travel quickly to previously visited areas, but in the beginning you’ll have to trek it by foot.

Inside the temples and scattered through the kingdom are an assortment of very recognizable items. You’ll quickly find yourself in possession of a boomerang, a bow and arrow, candles, potions, bombs, a grappling hook, and dash boots. You can also stumble upon health boosts, represented by red apples; or you can find bottles of green magic.

All of this so far should sound quite familiar to anyone who has spent any time with Zelda. But, it should be remembered that many games take from earlier titles. Games are constantly taking what others have done, and building upon them with a unique (and hopefully improved) take on basic principles. Think of relatively modern mechanics like the ability to duck ‘n cover in action games, or cut scenes that run on the in game engine. Do we look at games like God of War III or Uncharted 2 and say they ripped of other games? No. But, that’s because these games built upon already existing principles, added their own twist, and successfully pushed the envelope forward.

The problem is that 3D Dot Game Heroes doesn’t really have its own identity, and it certainly doesn’t push gaming forward. It’s full of old ideas, but these are presented in a charming and effective manner. The gameplay is as simple as it gets, but that’s virtually unnoticeable because the overall experience is so uplifting and entertaining that you quickly ignore the simple and single X ... (continued on next page)

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  • Related game: 3D Dot Game Heroes

    Release date (US):
    June 11th, 2010
    Silicon Studios
    Role Playing Game - Fantasy
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