Developer: Silicon Studio / Publisher: Atlus / ESRB: Everyone 10+ (Mild Cartoon Violence) / Played on: PS3 / Price: $39.99
Welcome to another Video Game Review here on Machinima.com. I’m Rob Talbert and today we are going on a magical action adventure journey into the land of Atlus’s new, yet strangely familiar, 3D Dot Game Heroes… Let’s go!!!
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The story of 3D Dot Game Heroes is one that gamers who have played old school action adventure titles like Legend of Zelda or Final Fantasy will find familiar. Evil presence threatens the land, legendary hero defeats the evil, time passes, evil is back, new hero has to fight the evil again. Specifically in 3D Dot Game Heroes, when you start the game you take control of the old hero of legend after he has defeated the Dark King Onyx by using the six orbs of power and sealed him away in the Dark Orb. You place his sword in the forest for a new hero to find in time when a new evil will likely arise. Flash forward to the future and the Dark Bishop has stolen the Dark Orb and now you take control of the new hero and are tasked with cleansing the kingdom of Dotnia of this evil. To fight the evil that’s plaguing the land you will have to collect the six orbs of power and have them activated by the sages that used to protect them and then harness their magical power. This tried and true story formula is the backbone of modern day action adventure games, and 3D Dot Game Heroes does a great job of paying its respects to the retro titles of the 80s.
It’s near impossible to review this game without talking about Legend of Zelda because, frankly, they are identical; so, needless to say, if you’re a fan of the old school Zelda games like the NES version or Link to the Past you are going to love 3D Dot Game Heroes.
You take the role of the lead hero, whom you can name whatever you like, and navigate an over-world map to different dungeon locations, all the while battling enemies. Inside each of the dungeons is a lengthy, puzzle-filled crawl that will make even the biggest Legend of Zelda fans proud. At the end of each temple is a boss and an orb of power. The dungeons are extremely well crafted, the puzzles can be quite challenging at times, and the bosses in each of the dungeons can become difficult to defeat.
One of the greatest features is the sword mechanics and tremendous variety. Once you have the swords in your possession you can upgrade the length, width, strength, swing, beam, and piercing abilities by taking them to blacksmiths in each village. When your hero is at full power your sword will become impossibly huge, and depending on your upgrade choices may shoot beams or pierce right through obstacles. I found this to be one of the most satisfying elements especially later in the game when you’ve accrued enough gold to pay for the bigger upgrades.
Another great addition is the character creator. It comes packed with a great variety of pre-built character models that you can add to or you can create your own unique hero in a 3D pixel space. It’s really quite brilliant and actually feels like playing with virtual LEGOs.
This is one of the main reasons this game is so appealing. 3D Dot Game Heroes looks like a retro 8-bit game in a 3D space. It’s really a lot of fun to look at. The game’s story even talks about the 3D theme in the beginning when the King of Dotnia decides that 2D is too boring and changes the land into 3D. The game does a great job of playing on the 3D block pixel theme throughout. All of the enemies and environmental objects that you encounter break into tiny blocks after destroying them. Everything in the game looks great and developer From Software nailed the retro look and were completely successful re-imagining that 8-bit style in new-age 3D.
The sound in 3D Dot Game Heroes is phenomenal; it sounds like a retro game with a new school spin on it. All of the tracks that you have the pleasure of listening to are extremely reminiscent of games past and definitely tug at the nostalgia strings. None of the characters in the game actually talk, instructions are delivered via text, which really works with the retro style.
3D Dot Game Heroes is a rare gem in the world of gaming. It’s a game that doesn’t reinvent the gaming wheel, but it takes a game genre that a lot of us grew up on and polishes it in a refreshing, unique style. I enjoyed every minute of the 22+ hours that I had with this game (and that was just following the main quest story), and after completing the game, you unlock a “new game +” mode that allows you to go back with your cash and some items to try and complete some of the side quests you missed. It provides a great reason to go back and play the game again and even try out the hard mode. If you are in the market for a lengthy, extremely fun action adventure title then 3D Dot Game Heroes is a game you don’t want to miss.