3D Dot Game Heroes Review

Retro gaming is back.  Picture this: The Legend of Zelda and Dragon Warrior meet some night, they hook up, and reproduce a title we come to call 3D Dot Game Heroes.  Atlus USA brings us the all-new adventure-RPG, 3D Dot Game Heroes for the Playstation 3 console.

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With 3D Dot Game Heroes, players can create their own 3D 8-bit style hero to play as, and you’re welcome to change that hero design every time you load up the game. Initially, thanks to the pixelated-style, older gamers are going to immediately recognize this game and feel as though they have already played it, and in a sense, that is true. The game features a massive overworld, although it’s all accessible immediately. In addition to that, there are numerous dungeons and caves to explore.  New areas become accessible through the use of particular items that you’ll find as you progress in your adventure. In a nutshell, 3D Dot Game Heroes is the past, present, and future of gaming – combining long-used elements mixed with new ideas and perspectives.

The gameplay elements in 3D Dot Game Heroes are mostly taken from the classics, and you’ll see some old-school references as soon as you start the game. You start off speaking with the King of Dotnia, regarding the kingdom being in danger, and you set off on your quest to help immediately.  It’s easy to get lost in the overworld, and you’ll be able to hit many dead ends, but there is a way to get some help. Talk to every being you see, whether they’re humans, cats, dogs, or trees – you’ll discover vague hints or specific directions of what you’re required to do next.

Getting past the main story, there is also a handful of block mini-games scattered throughout Dotnia.  The mini-games include Block-Out, Block Defense, and a few others.  These games offer a little extra fun on the site, though they don’t affect your main quest in any way. You can play a block-style Arkrnoid, or a block-based tower defense, as well as some other small games.  Although they don’t affect your character directly, they’re fun to play for a short time and escape from the task at hand.

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You start off with a basic sword, small shield, and a health bar. As you would suspect,  all of these can be upgraded along your quest via searching the world, completing various tasks, and by simply progressing through the story. At full health, your sword is comically large, spanning the entire screen, but it decreases in both size and power when you’re not at full health. Various ‘swords’ can be found or earned during your adventure,  each offering different features or strengths. While some may be found laying around in a cave, others require more work and travel time. As you progress in the game, you’ll always feel like you can keep up with enemy skill levels, and the game never feels too easy or too hard – the difficulty feels perfectly-tuned. Part of this relies on having the new or upgraded swords.

A huge part of the charm in 3D Dot Game Heroes is the humor and homage inspired by titles of the past, both recent and retro. While walking around the world, I encountered a glowing marker in the middle of an empty floor – upon inspection, it informed me: “It’s safe here.”  For those of you unfamiliar, it’s a hint commonly used in Demon’s Souls, a simply incredible RPG available from Atlus USA.  You’ll also encounter Mega Man inspirations, and random ‘geeky’ terms that we use on the Internet. Beyond the smaller inspirations, the game is clearly cut to be a mix of Dragon Warrior & The Legend of Zelda. The world-style, the dungeons, enemies, items, and much more – we’ve seen it all before, and 3D Dot Game Heroes brings us the HD remake we’ve always wanted, yet standing true as a completely original title at the same time.

The graphics in 3D Dot Game Heroes can be taken differently depending on what you prefer.  The world and its characters are clearly made of blocks, sporting a pixel-style,  yet clearly offered in HD at the same time.  The camera remains at the upper front area of your screen, allowing you to see screens ahead of you, but they’ve implemented a heavy blur filter so it won’t be clear until you enter that next screen.  The vast forests, mountains, deserts, and many other areas all have a unique atmosphere, and with the block-style graphics, they all look fabulous.  Some players may say the game looks horrible, but they need to understand that 3D Dot Game Heroes is all about homage to the past, and the crisp yet basic graphics are exactly what the game needs to keep that retro feeling.

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The soundtrack in 3D Dot Game Heroes is fantastic overall. Each area features 8-bit inspired themes, including different overworld areas, dungeons, or houses within towns. Sound effects in the game are also inspired by past hits – and while they’re never identical, you can identify where they used the inspiration from. I couldn’t help but smile when I scored a critical hit in a battle, and heard a nearly identical sound from the same action in Dragon Warrior on the NES. While the soundtrack is fantastic, a slight drawback does exist regarding the themes in the game. Each theme feels excessively short, and you’ll very quickly notice the looping sound. It’s not a huge issue, but it would have been great to have the pieces that were over one minute long before hearing it loop.

Once your adventure is over, 3D Dot Game Heroes leaves you wanting more. It offers a solid 25-30 hours of gameplay, and more if you really want to explore everything.  The game has a wonderful graphical style, retro soundtrack, and it helps you relive many great memories from past games – it’s basically a tribute.  Although it may rely on ideas from games of the past, it uses those ideas very well. Atlus USA has delivered a true gem to gamers with 3D Dot Game Heroes and we highly suggest you check it out if you’ve been on the fence.

For more information visit the official web site of 3D Dot Game Heroes.

Old review system import, no comments available
Old review system import, no comments available
Old review system import, no comments available
8.2Final Score


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