3D Dot Game Heroes – The PS3 Attitude Review
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. If that is the case, then the folks over at Nintendo should be blushing. 3D Dot Game Heroes is reminiscent of the Legend of Zelda titles, taking the classic overhead adventure game and reinventing it for the PlayStation 3. Gone is the flat and 2D realm of the 8-bit era, instead replaced by a glorious multitude of cubes and colors.
Off in the far away kingdom of Dotnia there was once a hero who overthrew the evil Dark King Onyx using the power of six magical orbs and his legendary sword. He sealed the evil one inside a Dark Orb, hoping that he would never return.
Flash forward a long, long time and here we are in the present day where the entire kingdom has upgraded to a new 3D look by order King Tezro. All is not well in the kingdom though as the evil Bishop Fuelle has stolen the Dark Orb and plans to release the Dark King. It is up to you, the hero, to defeat the bishop and restore peace to the land before anything else goes awry.
Of course, saving the kingdom is never as easy as just slaying Fuelle and calling it a day. First, you’re going to have to gain the power of the six sages by exploring various temples and defeating their bosses. Only then can you enter the Dark Tower where you’ll find Fuelle hidden away on its uppermost floor. You’re going to need all the help you can get too. Thankfully, you’ll find weapons, items, and powerful magic spells along the way, all of which will help you in your quest to save Dotnia.
Before you begin your journey, you’re going to have to choose a character for your hero. Atlus and From Software have already provided dozens of premade 3D pixilated sprites for you to choose from. They range from your standard hero and heroine to the more unique such as an underground ninja wearing scuba gear. You can even play as a tank or the president decked out in a mech! There are tons of characters to choose from. If nothing suits your fancy, you can also create and edit your own hero however you like.
The Editor allows you to arrange blocks in a 16x16x16 frame. That means you have over 4,000 individuals spaces to work with. That’s a lot of room for customization if you ask us. Creations can be as complicated or simple as you want them to be, depending on how much time you’re willing to spend on them. There are dozens of colors to choose from as well but only six at a time can be used in any given character so choose them wisely.
Each creation has four poses; Stand, Walk1, Walk2, Hurray, Attack1, and Attack2, that when combined bring them to life. Probably the best thing about the Editor is the ability to save and share your creations with the rest of the world. No doubt people will be showing off their amazingly talented creations in the coming weeks. Once you have your hero ready, it’s time to start playing.
Your quest will begin at the kingdom’s castle. As you venture out across the vast planes of Dotnia, you’ll explore towns, caves, and temples; each containing their own secrets. You won’t be able to reach every corner of the map at first due to blocked off areas. Find the correct weapon or item and you’ll be able to get past these obstacles; bombs can be used to blow up rocks, the wire rod aka hookshot can pull you across gaps, etc. These items are usually located in treasure chests found in the temples or can be gained from adventurous travelers such as yourself. Getting to them though isn’t going to be an easy task.
The environment is filled with things that want to kill you. Luckily, you have your trusty sword and shield by your side. Each sword found in the game has different statistics such as length, width, power, pierce, beam, and special. Fancy a bigger sword? If you have the money, then anything’s possible.
To get the most bang for your buck, you’ll be required to have a full health meter. Like taking the magical little blue pill, your sword will become a massive projection emanating from your body and will most likely cover much of the screen. It’s powerful and can destroy practically anything from a safe distance. If you’re going to want to make it out alive, then having a full health bar is a must.
Temples are filled with dangerous monsters and perplexing puzzles scattered across numerous rooms. Accessing every room and reaching the end boss will require you to hit switches, find keys, and defeat enemies. Much like the Zelda series, the weapon or item you find in the dungeon will most likely be the one you’ll use to complete it. As you progress though the game, the temples become increasingly larger and more difficult. Be prepared to backtrack to previous rooms as you attempt to find that last treasure chest that holds the boss key. It can become frustrating at times but stick with it and you’ll succeed.
These bosses at the end of each level protect the sage’s orb in the final room behind them. They are massive pixilated creatures that will most definitely require a few attempts before you discover the correct pattern to defeating them. Having a powerful sword and full health greatly increases your odds of success too. There are actually some moments where you might think that having such a large and powerful sword might make the game too easy. If that’s the case, then there’s a hard mode available to take you down a peg or two.
While there are only a total of six temples to explore along with the Dark Tower to be traversed, 3D Dot Heroes is in no way a short game. Town NPCs will often ask you for assistance in delivering packages for them or asking for specific items, rewarding you will pieces of life, swords or other goodies. Be sure to talk to everyone and do everything. If you need to take a break from your heroic duties there are mini-games available in each town. Block Defense, Blockout, and Dash Race mimic their classic tower-defense, breakout, and racing counterparts. They’re fun to play and are a nice break from monster slaying. Just be sure to remember that you have a kingdom to save.
3D Dot Game Heroes is more than just your average Zelda clone. Before I realized it, I had sunk over 20 hours into explore everything Dotnia had available. Aside from boss battles, the game isn’t too tricky. Most enemies will go down in one or two swings and damage can easily be recovered with a red apple or a visit to an inn. The biggest annoyance is the grand scale of traveling through some of the temples, making it more time consuming than difficult.
While there clearly isn’t anything new and groundbreaking in the game, it uses that same formula that has been successful since the days of the NES, updated with a new engine and coat of paint. Sweetening the deal is the fact that the game is set at the bargain price of $40 rather than the typical $60. For gamers wanting a trip down memory lane without dusting off their archaic systems not to mention blowing profusely into their game of choice, 3D Dot Game Heroes is a no brainer.