|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Silicon Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 11, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
As the gaming industry grows and matures, we have seen amazing advances in graphics, narrative, and multiplayer capabilities. However, the more things advance, the more older gamers want to connect with games that are familiar and remind them of "the golden age" of gaming. This is most easily exemplified by the success of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which trades a modern 3D world for a simple 2D one. 3D Dot Game Heroes may have a weird title, but the concept behind this game is nearly the same as New Super Mario Bros.: take something old and make it new again. However, 3D Dot Game Heroes takes this idea a little bit farther.
The game starts off in the fictional land of Dotnia, which is your average 8-bit community. The landscape is filled with 8-bit sprites and blocky landscapes, and everyone seems to be quite happy. However, the land of Dotnia suddenly springs to life in 3-D! Sprites are now fully rendered in three dimensions and everything from the landscape to the characters is made of tiny blocks. Of course, as a 3D Dot Game hero it will be up to you to restore the world to its natural order. So how will you do that? With plenty of old-school moves, of course!
Watching the new trailer for 3D Dot Game Heroes, it is blatantly obvious where the team got their inspiration. You'll see plenty of chickens running around, a curiously blue-handled sword (that looks like it could be wielded by let's go out on a limb here a MASTER?), and there is even a blocky dude in a red shirt with blue overalls and a red hat. Since Nintendo essentially dominated the golden age of gaming, it isn't a surprise that so many "familiar" elements will be used, and I'm sure those who play this game will have a fond time going down memory lane. The game's plot also promises plenty of one-offs and in-jokes, so if you are looking for a tongue-in-cheek journey, 3D Dot Game Heroes looks like your game.
However, even though most of the game's charm seems to be delivered via its visual style and reference-joke heavy storyline, the gameplay doesn't look half-bad either. The game takes quite a few notes again from the Zelda franchise, and it features a limited world where you can run around with your shield and sword, and hack everything in sight from the bushes to the bad guys. Of course, since everything is made of tiny blocks, when you destroy something with your sword, it explodes into tiny pieces. It follows then that when you die, you also explode into tiny pieces. Truly, if this game wasn't so focused on being like an old 8-bit game, I would think it was just about explosions.
In addition to the free-roaming aspects of the game, it looks like there will also be plenty of dungeon-based gameplay as well. This should come as no surprise, since the dungeon-crawling genre was certainly a fixture during the time period from which this game is drawing inspiration. What isn't exactly clear at this moment, however, is how the game will approach the rigid difficulty level that so many old games were known for. Since the game is being developed by From Software (the same people who brought you the insanely difficult Demon's Souls), I would be inclined to believe that the extreme difficulty of older games will remain intact.
Although most of the game looks like it is modeled after older titles, there is one area where the it resembles a modern game more than an old one: character customization. If this sounds like a deal-breaker to you, keep reading! Instead of just picking out facial features and hairstyles (like you would normally), the character creator in 3D Dot Game Heroes actually allows you to create your own pixel-based hero. Whether you have your own 8-bit character you'd like to pay homage to or have your own crazy design, you'll be able to make your ideas reality!
3D Dot Game Heroes does not have an attractive title. In fact, I think it may have one of the worst titles ever as far as catchiness. However, what this game lacks in titling, it will more than make up for with charm. The game's inventive 3D pixel-based graphics are certainly unique, and the throwback style of gameplay aims to please gamers who long for the old days. Of course, if you are a newer gamer, you will probably still get a kick out of 3D Dot Game Heroes. It will be like playing through the "Greatest Hits" of the golden age of gaming! We won't have to wait too long to know more about 3D Dot Game Heroes, as it is scheduled for release in May 2010.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor