Difficulty:Just RightTime Spent:10 Hours or LessThe Bottom Line:"Instant classic"
Great role-play adventure games need game-play, music, graphics and a good storyline. 3D Dot Game Heroes could use a more original storyline, but it otherwise just great!
I love the way the gameplay is a tribute to the older style Zelda games! It is immediately so familiar, I don't think anyone will need to open their instruction manual if they have played the "old school" Zelda games from back in the famicon days. Besides, everyone in the castle tells you how to play. If you enjoy free-roaming RPG Adventure games, I can already recommend this game to you, based on game-play alone.
Save often, at least until you get used to swinging your sword around. Simply pressing the button will have your sword thrust out directly in the direction your character is facing. If you combine this with a spin (rotate) of the L-stick or D-pad, your sword will swing in an arc around you. It is possible to get it a full 360 degrees. Once you complete the first quest, your new sword affords greater damage-dealing power, as well as a longer reach and broader tang. Also, with your health apples all completely full (think of Link's health hearts) the sword has an even larger attack range (length and width). As soon as you take any damage to your health, though, the sword loses this bonus until your health is again full. Smiths can forge your weapons to further increase these qualities ... for a fee.
Movement, as well as combat, is very smooth. Your character moves across the screen quite quickly, which is satisfying in that you can get right into the action as soon as you begin the game! Well, I recommend going through the prologue story first, which is told through delightful black and white 2D "pages" of pixel art.
The music is good! That is, of course, if you enjoy the nostalgia of the old 16-bit RPG games. It sounds rich and is played with realistic instruments, without that trilling, tinny sound of the "old days" sty|e. The musical score is in the same vein as those good ol' games everyone loved. The soundtrack is a large contribution to the over-all feeling of this game, so it is an important feature to note.
note: The soundtrack is available separately for purchase as well.
In the graphics department, 3D Dot Game Heroes really shines. As the title of the game suggests, the graphics are like 3D depictions of the 2D graphics from old 8-bit games like Final Fantasy. The "blocks" (rather than 'squares' or 'dots') have a sheen to them and they cast their own shadows. Destroying enemies has them "shatter" into individual blocks and they tumble all over the ground.
Foreground and background are blurred for an added 3D realism, and the water was a great shimmering effect. If you look closely at the sparkling surface of the water, you can see that it, too, is made of slightly blurred blocks. Everything is made from these blocks!
Big fans of the Zelda series might feel as though there is a lot of copy-cat graphics and game-play features in this game. Using your shield to deflect projectiles that fire from the mouth of a hopping octopus has an all-too-familiar feel to it. No complaints from me, but you've been cautioned if you're one of those raving fanatics.
There is a lot of great things to be said about the graphics, but I think you'll get a clear enough picture if you see some of the videos and screen-shots available online.
3D Dot Game Heroes has a good story-line. It may feel prosaic and cliche at first, but it rounds itself out in time. It is nothing deep nor original, but it has humour and suspense enough to keep you interested. It is an irresistibly cute game that has so much going for it. I'd have given it a higher score if the story were better and it weren't so short.
Sounds good. I'll probably settle for the NA version. Still, I wonder why the half year gap between this and the JPN one.. Doesn't seem like there's a whole lot of voice acting in this game. Oh well. At least that leaves me with ample time to play all my backlogged titles.