3D Dot Game Heroes has raised a lot of questions and speculation from the gaming community. Can something this close to classic action RPG's like Zelda and its ilk really stand up in its own right amongst today's modern gaming fare, or is it just a rip off with no place in the modern world? Read on to find out more:
THE GOOD: - The game instantly instils that childhood, Sunday afternoon, gaming feel. It's pretty much the complete crystallisation of youthful videogame pursuits. Not many things give you that `butterflies in your stomach' retro feeling (although many things purport to) but this is instant cheesy grin material. - The music follows suit with purely digital bleeps and beeps that'll send you reeling back to those heady days of retro video gaming. However not only are these analogue sounding ditties functional in bringing back those old flavours they're tightly written and often catchy as the flu. - Although the graphics are minimalistic in their approach there are some really neat effects and everything runs so smoothly that looking at it on a big high-def screen is akin to revelation. The often Lego block looking environments and denizens of Dotnia are anything but boring and are literally stuffed with character proving that the likes of the unreal engine, although impressive, are less than necessary to provide an atmospheric and beautiful experience, and it's there in that answer to why these classic games stick in our mind so much lies: What the game leaves out the imagination makes up for if the mechanics are in place. - The character builder is easy to use and an absolutely perfect tool for bringing your personality into the game world. I recently got through playing Golden Axe Warrior on the Megadrive Collection and as such my warrior is a cool little blocky rendition of Death Adder! Sweet! - The land and dungeons are a total blast to explore, very well designed, and with tons of nods to From Software's recent gem Demon's Souls and blast-from-the-past fan service the NPC's are a lot of fun to interact with. - Side quests are abundant and fun to seek out and complete. However blink and you'll miss them - if you just burn through from dungeon to dungeon you're missing out on a lot of content and exploration that make this game such a winner in my eyes. - Getting hold of a boomerang, bow and arrow or a bunch of bombs for the first time may not provide the most original weapon set on offer but is still as exciting and filled with possibilities as it was back in the day. - I've touched upon this in my other points but the humour on offer, and not just for the game aficionados amongst us, is often clever and will provide you with more than a few sly smirks, and by not taking itself too seriously 3DDGH is on to a winner again. - The whole presentation from the loading screens to the font used within sticks close to its homage and roots and as such is a convincing little time traveller. - No giant blue spiky hair and annoying kid characters with reams of anime story cliché literally dripping cheese from their gob's straight to your tired speakers. This might bite a few people's botties but I am so thankful for it I could weep. No pretension, no `innovative' new battle system, no emo haired angst fuelled nightmares: I couldn't be happier.
THE NOT SO GOOD: - It's as old school as you could wish for (or pray never to see again) with very little progression from the games of the 80's - so for those people and reviewers who think the next FPS with a few new weapons is the ultimate step in innovation I can only say stay away from this one. For me this is not a bad point at all but people must be aware of what they're letting themselves in for. - No big blue spiky hair or anime fuelled storyline - sorry for anyone who loves that stuff, again this is proper olds school: find the treasure, find the princess and kill the bad guy - end of story. - Character progression is near nonexistent - if this is a big deal to you I still say play the game and you may still just be charmed by the games overall character.
CONCLUSION: A charming, smooth and action packed adventure that'll hook you deep and pull you in more than a lot of recent offerings, if you let it. A lot of people may see this as a step backwards but for me it's a step back that proved refreshing and endearing. As you can probably tell I love this game and for the price I just hope a lot more people find comfort in the delightfully retro world of Dotnia.
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