3D Dot Game Heroes - Cheat Happens Game Review
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3D Dot Game Heroes
Playstation 3

Reviewed on: Playstation 3

Developer:
Silicon Studio
Publisher: Atlus Co. / SouthPeak Games
Rated: "E10+" for Everyone 10+



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     

As humans, we’re prone to looking at the past through rosy glasses. It seems that no matter how we felt about something in its prime, it’s ten times better ten years ago. Lately, the video game industry is the prime example of this trend; with games like Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Mega Man 10 giving gamers a taste of their paste; Retro is all the Rage.

Rather than merely give more than a slight nod to the past, Atlus USA’s new 3D Dot Game Heroes has taken a different route. The characters, the environments, the whole world are presented in an 8-bit meets next-gen presentation that’s as much scary as it is novel. Though it’s a new IP, you’re going to feel at home from the minute you pick up the controller – but is it enough?

Undoubtedly, the first thing anyone is going to notice about 3D Dot Game Heroes is the unique art style. Everything is made up of blockish pixels that make everything look like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The best way to think of the visual style is what would happen if you take an 8-bit RPG like The Legend of Zelda or the first Final Fantasy and turn it on its side. The best thing about the visual style is that it allows for a lot of customization, in fact before you start your quest you’ll be tasked with creating your own hero. I was amazed at just how easy and intuitive the game’s creation tools were. Sure, it’s not the most in-depth tool, but is enough to ensure a different hero for each player.

"...a not so quiet nod to the Legend of Zelda series..."

 
   

If you’re playing through 3D Dot Game Heroes and suddenly get a weird feeling of déjà vu, you won’t be alone – the entire game, from the HUD to the world to the enemies is a not so quiet nod to the Legend of Zelda series, specifically the original NES classics.  Seriously, if you squint your eyes you can almost feel like you’re playing a sequel. What’s interesting though is that due to technology advancing, 3D Dot Game Heroes feels more like a traditional Zelda title than anything recent in the series proper.

Playing through 3D Dot Game Heroes, I couldn’t help but think of Edgar Wright. Now, hear me out – Wright, the writer and director of movies like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz has made a name for himself doing movies that serve as tributes to his favorite genres. The key here though is that these movies work in the genres they’re paying tribute too. Shaun of the Dead works as a zombie movie, Hot Fuzz works as an action movie. In the same vein, 3D Dot Game Heroes works as a top-down, old school RPG.  The world here is incredibly expansive; with the potential for so much exploring that you’re bound to differ from the main quest, and if you don’t – you’re missing part of what makes 3D Dot Game Heroes so entertaining. If you stick to the main quest, you may be able to finish the game in about 11 hours, but you’d seriously be selling yourself short in the process.

The key strength of 3D Dot Game Heroes is that in a world of Zelda impersonators, Atlus has managed to zero in on what made the series so enjoyable; the sense of exploration and wonder. By far, the most entertaining – if not the best looking – areas of the game are the dungeons.  It’s here where you’re going to do most of your puzzle solving and combating but the rewards are worth it – you’ll receive power-ups and secondary weapons that just scream nostalgia like your trusty boomerang and bombs.

"...the boss battles can be rather unforgiving."

 
   

It’s just a shame that the difficulty in 3D Dot Game Heroes isn’t equal the entire way through. The puzzles are quite pedestrian, even at their most difficult, but the boss battles can be rather unforgiving.  The great thing about these bosses though is that even they seem pulled straight from their 8-bit predecessors. Of course, the key is to match up your movement and figure out their weak spots. If you’ve played games, you know ... ever, you should be able to figure these fights out but some (the later ones especially) can be quite challenging.

For all its worth, 3D Dot Game Heroes never quite seems like a full game, it feels like it should be DLC, and Atlus knows it. As a result, they’ve packed 3D Dot Game Heroes with a ton of extra content from the game’s Japanese release and knocked the game’s price point down to $39.99. If it were to retail for a regular price of $59.99, it may not be worth recommending, but it feels just right where it is.

3D Dot Game Heroes is an unapologetic nod to a much-loved era of gaming that has sadly all but disappeared – but it’s also much more. On its own merit, the game feels like a satisfying and rewarding epic quest with just enough humor and in-jokes to keep its core audience, the “gamer” happy. If you’re looking for a cheap look back to your gaming heritage, or even looking to get your kids a history lesson on where their Halo and Call of Duty games came from – 3D Dot Game Heroes is more than a worthy purchase. 

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Invisible Shield, Spelunker Mode, Trophies List

One of my favorite memories of old school gaming it's finding hidden cheat codes and the fact that most modern day games don’t have them disappoints me  (I even wrote a feature for this very site about it). 3D Dot Game Heroes may not have a lot of cheat codes, but it does have enough to fill your craving for classic cheats.

There are a lot of hidden nods to gaming culture throughout 3D Dot Game Heroes, and each time I found one, my love for the game grew. Much like No More Heroes before it, 3D Dot Game Heroes knows its audience and caters to them well.

There’s also an alternate ending that though it doesn’t change much in how the game plays out, it’s got a neat little reference in it.

 

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