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Refined, premium distillation of everything an RPG needs to be.

  • RoyIII
  • 03/21/2011 12:48 AM
Hero's Realm is a game that borrows slightly heavily from the visuals of Final Fantasies 4 and 5, and back-breakingly heavily from Dragon Quests 3 and 4. However, when stacked up next to either game, they're the ones that seem like imitations. Hero's Realm is a nearly-perfect old school gaming and experience, and hopefully nothing like it is released ever again or I'd never end up leaving my basement.

By now, you've probably already gathered that a game with thirteen 4-star-or-higher reviews isn't anything to joke around about. So let's get down to the point.

Squint, and you'll find that the game does indeed have one.
I joke, of course, but the game's story, with all its sparseness, is very well constructed. It is, of course, an excuse plot the only purpose of which is to send your party from destination to destination, a task at which it excels perfectly well. It also actually succeeds in getting me to care about my near personality-less main characters and their trials and tribulations prior to the main plot kicking off, something I often enter into games pre-disposed to NOT do.

If I had to pick any gripes with the story progression, it's that I had incredibly little incentive to remember the towns' names. I never had the foggiest idea of which direction was the correct one when I was told to go somewhere, and why should I have? Wandering around on the world map is mindless fun in and of itself, to the point that when I was told to backtrack to some town three and a half chapters earlier in the game, I couldn't have even made an educated guess as to which continent it was on. A world map earlier in the game would not have gone without thanks.

Combat in this game is pure, frenzied, colorful addictiveness in every last battle. The difficulty scales just right, the enemies have varied and interesting attacks, keeping your characters outfitted with up-to-date weapons and armor is a must, and low levels will haunt you if you don't keep them up. The most important point of this, however, is that an incredibly versatile team customization system, as well as being able to command four different teams at once, gives the player the feeling of wielding some serious power.

The class system is what really won me over right from the start. There are twelve playable classes, a number that matches up perfectly with the number of generic characters you'll have to choose classes for. Each class is useful in its own way, and the sheer existence of so many of them lets you know that the challenges before you are balanced well enough to stand up against any team.

The DQ3-esque class changing option which allows you to rank up your characters into new, more powerful classes encourages team planning and strategic leveling up. It's just as much fun to micromanage your various parties as it is to actually fight with them, and that's a quality I love in a game.

The class system is not completely without flaws, however. There are some minor balancing issues, and replay value is slightly diminished when you know that certain classes (Shapeshifter, Druid) are significantly more useful than certain other classes (Harlequin, Engineer), but each class gets its moment to shine eventually and the game is plenty fun without thinking of the little nitpicks.

Other Comments/Gripes
Climbing up a gigantic golem, positioning your four team captains in chairs located across its body, and commanding it, Megazord-style, to smash boulders in your path is AWESOME. Nobody should EVER believe otherwise.

Being presented with an awesome new town and shops full of extremely powerful weapons and armor, blowing all your money, and then being told you need to shell out another massive pile of gold that you don't have anymore to buy a boat, on the other hand, is NOT awesome. That was a low blow, Kentona.

But that's the only really major pacing problem. Other than that, the game is one of the most perfect, beautifully designed old-school gems that I've ever experienced, and I hope that my game-making someday ends up at this level of outstanding quality.


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I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
...somehow I get the feeling that you really liked the game.

(Thanks for the review! Ships are expensive!)
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