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The players's point of view

  • Izazie
  • 01/13/2010 11:14 PM
  • 4679 views
This is my first attempt at writing a review, and my English lessons are far away behind me. So please be lenient with my limited and somehow approximate English, and I will do my best to not hurt your eyes too much.
I'm not a game maker, just a player, so I won't speak of any technical matter. On the other hand, I'm an addicted and seasoned RPG player veteran, and I know what is a good game is to me: long, full of puzzles, secrets and surprises, non linear, inventive. If in addition it's humorous, good looking and if the music doesn't get in my nerves after five minutes, then it's even better.
Well, « Hero's Realm has all of the above, and even more.

When I opened HR for the first time, and after I played it for a few minutes, I thought : »What a nice little game! » The most stupid thing to say...Little, really! This game is HUGE, and it's only one of it's numerous qualities!
The four first chapters introduce you to the four heroes, each one with his or her own team. But when you reach the fifth chapter, you are suddenly dropped into a whole world, where you can move almost freely. There are a lot of places that you can reach by walking, and you can wander at your will. Later on, you get a boat, and then an airship, and then you are completely free.
I got hooked for good very fast, and couldn't stop playing before I beat it...and replayed it once more,

Some people complained, saying that HR had too many bugs left. Well, if you consider the size of the game, the number of bugs is surprisingly low. Just calculate the ratio bugs/size, and then compare with shorter games, and you will understand what I mean.
Another common blame is that HR doesn't have a consistent scenario. Fine. I don't really agree, but...fine. So what? Does it make the game less enjoyable? No. Is the game boring due to the lack of loooong cutscenes where people tell their whole life? Of course not. Let's stop nitpicking. This game is more enjoyable as it is than many others that have an elaborated scenario. I'm not assuming that elaborated scenarios are useless, just that sometimes, when the maker is talented, you can do without it. And Kentona is very talented, nobody will deny it.

HR is one of those RPGs where you can enjoy taking your time, searching every corner, exploring any remote area, because it pays. Give a player a lot of items to find, be it the simplest and worthless ones, and you will make him (her in my case) happy, and keep him busy for a long time.
Of course, you can storm through the game, but it would be a pity: you would miss most of the fun.
- The NPCs very often give useful hints, so carefully listen to them.
- There are items hidden absolutely everywhere, and you will fast see that the « search underfeet » function is more than useful. Any spot that is a bit different from the surrounding ones could hide something. For example, in the beginning of Akira's chapter, searching a certain place can help you greatly. I'm used to search thoroughly, but I was unable to find all the tiny medals, and I still miss two of them. Moreover, even after playing the game twice, I'm not sure that I discovered all the secrets and surprises: there are simply too many of them scattered everywhere.
- On top of that, there are a lot of optional quests or areas that you'd better not neglect, because you can get great equipment and save money. Yes, money is a big concern in HR. The equipments are very expensive,especially since you have 16 persons to fully equip, and you will have to think a bit before you buy some. The best items can be obtained by achieving quests, so take your time, and explore a lot. (Yes, there is an auction room to be found in the 5th chapter, where awesome items can be bought...but you'll get your purse empty even before noticing, just by buying one single item.)
You just can't get bored when you play HR. If you are tired of a dungeon, go to the Funhouse: the rewards for finding the exit worth the effort, and in every maze you can find a shop selling weapons and armours that are better than the ones currently available. If you are fed up with the maze, go for a bit of exploring on the world map: there is always something useful or funny to found...By the way, think of using a notebook, unless your memory is perfect. Just a friendly advice. There are so many places to be revisited later in this game, too many for a mere human brain to remember.

The game is very balanced. The difficulty level goes increasing from the easy first chapter to the end of the final boss, though you will never meet a boss that you can't beat easily with the appropriate strategy, or a puzzle that you can't solve with a bit of thinking. Magic is very useful and efficient, including support spells or status-inflicting spells. Holy magic or weapons are even necessary for some areas. The available classes are perfectly balanced too; even the strangest ones (Harlequin and Joker) deserve their place in a team. (Though taking a Joker can be a bit...er... risky.)

Inventiveness is everywhere. I spoke of the classes, and of the hidden surprises all around, but I could also mention the role played by some cows and sheep; all the clever puzzles and mazes; the various towns, each one with it's own style; all the countries, where people speak with their own accent; the way Kentona used the day-and-night system, so that you really need to visit the towns once by day AND once by night.
Kentona made a list of the tributes and references he put in Hero's Realm, so I'll just mention the pretty sprites from FFV, the enemies from FFVI, the clock puzzle in Parvinder, that comes from Zozo in FFVI and works the same way, the big rock, in Holdana's town, that is a tribute to Dragon Quest 3, as well as the tiny medals...oh well, there are so many! And though all is arranged in such a way that you never feel as if he copied anything. In the contrary, he did it in his own personal manner, and you never feel like playing a copy...because it's not a copy. It's a creation, with all the work and care that creating implies. Creating something so innovative and personal by using well known elements is a mere feat.
By the way, Catherine the Great didn't deserve to be counted among the villains: she governed her country pretty well. Just thinking. ;)

And about replayability...well, considering the variety of available classes, and the number of secrets, you can guess that it's pretty high.

Did I say that « Hero 's Realm » is beautiful? Well, it is. The sprites are cute, although I can't prevent myself from seeing Akira as an old man because of his grey hair. :P. The houses and towns are carefully designed: you could live there. Nothing is empty, though nothing was put there just for the sake of it. For example, Port Kells is crowded, bustling with activity, like any port town. Aborlon is a royal city, with public gardens for the agreement of it's noble inhabitants. The Guru's Camp is full of training recruits, and surrounded by tents and fire camps...even if you can't access the said tents.

Humour is omnipresent. I will just mention the fact that every time you look in a mirror, the character says something different. And what about that hilarious Arabian tango that was used as the background music for the town of Sudash?

Well, I know that I forgot a lot of things that I won't remember before tomorrow, but that review will never be posted if I don't finish it NOW. Discovering what I have missed is a good reason for you to play the game and judge by yourselves.
When I run « Hero's Realm » and play it, I feel good. What praise could be greater?

Rating: 5/5

Posts

Pages: 1
kentona
One of RMN's Top 10 Admins of all-time
20519
Thanks for the heartfelt review! I really appreciate it.
Thanks for your kindness, guys. :)
I'm not proud of this text. It's messy, not even written in good English, and I forgot a big lot of things (nothing less than the four first chapters, to begin with; or the fact that the four teams have to cooperate in some dungeons; or the musics, that are so well chosen)
All my apologies to the author, who really didn't deserve that!
Ah, well. Too late. But at least I finally overcame my shyness and dared to post something! ;)
I haven't played it yet but I thought it was a good review. I'm about to read some of the others and Kentona! How long did this game take you to create and did you have help? I'm learning how to use the rpg maker vx ace right now and I've always like to make my own games ever since I was little. I never actually got around to making a creation because I don't have discipline or whatever. I'm busy so that could be a reason as well as taking on a project like this takes time. But in any case I was just wondering how long it took you to make this as I'm about to download it and give it a go.
kentona
One of RMN's Top 10 Admins of all-time
20519
I would often appeal to the community for design input if there was something I was unsure about, buut for the most part this was a solo effort.

I started in April 2006 and released v1.0 on March 6th, 2009. v1.5 was released in June 2009.


EDIT:
http://rpgmaker.net/games/82/blog/1656/

Here is a more detailed history of the game's development lifecycle.
Alright, I don't know where to post this, so I'm just going to post it here. I've been trying to play all these games that I'm hearing so much about (Seraphic Blue, Dhux's Scar, This, etc.) But I can't because every time I try to use my arrow keys, they do absolutely nothing, and it's really bugging me. The worst part is that it only happens with the games that I want to play most. I've played dozens of other games perfectly fine, but when I try to play these kinds of games, I can't. If anyone knows how to fix this, I would really appreciate it.
kentona
One of RMN's Top 10 Admins of all-time
20519
I have never encountered that error. Not sure what to suggest!
There's a program by Cherry that fixes something like that. Not sure where it though. Key Reset, or Key Unlocked, or maybe just Keyboard Fix.
Thanks for the suggestion I'll go check it out.
author=Tracer135
Alright, I don't know where to post this, so I'm just going to post it here. I've been trying to play all these games that I'm hearing so much about (Seraphic Blue, Dhux's Scar, This, etc.) But I can't because every time I try to use my arrow keys, they do absolutely nothing, and it's really bugging me. The worst part is that it only happens with the games that I want to play most. I've played dozens of other games perfectly fine, but when I try to play these kinds of games, I can't. If anyone knows how to fix this, I would really appreciate it.

That's quite odd. Do you have sticky keys on? Perhaps it's a keyboard error? You can also use the Number Keypad to move around, just in case you can't get the arrow keys to work. Also, try hitting Insert or Home above the arrow keys. There's an issue with 2k/3 where sometimes certain keys won't work and that will get rid of the issue (I have no idea what causes it or why, just that it does happen at times and this fixes it.)
author=Liberty
author=Tracer135
Alright, I don't know where to post this, so I'm just going to post it here. I've been trying to play all these games that I'm hearing so much about (Seraphic Blue, Dhux's Scar, This, etc.) But I can't because every time I try to use my arrow keys, they do absolutely nothing, and it's really bugging me. The worst part is that it only happens with the games that I want to play most. I've played dozens of other games perfectly fine, but when I try to play these kinds of games, I can't. If anyone knows how to fix this, I would really appreciate it.
That's quite odd. Do you have sticky keys on? Perhaps it's a keyboard error? You can also use the Number Keypad to move around, just in case you can't get the arrow keys to work. Also, try hitting Insert or Home above the arrow keys. There's an issue with 2k/3 where sometimes certain keys won't work and that will get rid of the issue (I have no idea what causes it or why, just that it does happen at times and this fixes it.)

As far as I know, I do not have sticky keys on, and I'm using a laptop, so I don't have a Number Pad. I tried the home/insert thing, but it didn't work either. I've been thinking about this for a while, when I realized all the games that won't work for me use Rpg Maker 2000 or Rpg Maker 2003, so I've been looking online for an RM2K Rtp. Thank you for the help though.
Tau
RMN sex symbol
3210
What OS are you using?
author=Tau
What OS are you using?


Windows
kentona
One of RMN's Top 10 Admins of all-time
20519
author=Tracer135
author=Tau
What OS are you using?
Windows

yes, but what OS are you using?
author=kentona
author=Tracer135
author=Tau
What OS are you using?
Windows
yes, but what OS are you using?


Windows 7
Pages: 1