Billed by publisher Atlus as the "ultimate retro love letter," Silicon Studio's PlayStation 3 exclusive wraps both the good and the frustrating elements of old-school game design in a shiny new coat of polygonal paint. nope Now, that's not an entirely bad thing. After all, the classics are, well, classic, and 3D Dot Game Heroes certainly borrows from the best of them, especially the original Zeldas. In fact, it often feels like the only thing missing is a pointy-ear'd protagonist wrapped up in a green tunic, something that the in-game character creator can help rectify.
However, there's also a reason that old-school games are considered old-school, and their influence on 3D Dot Game Heroes ranges from amusing to frustrating. When I uncovered the route through the haunted forest and it wasn't automatically added to my map, I'll admit that I smiled as I reached for a pen and paper to jot down the path.
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When I discovered that loading a save meant that, depending on where I saved, I'd either start out at the castle, the most recent inn or the entrance to a dungeon, I was slightly irked, but I saw the logic behind it. Sure, the technology is there for us to pick up immediately where we left off, but that isn't the way old-school games did it.
But after dying repeatedly at the hands of a certain boss or always perishing just one or two rooms away from where I was trying to go, I grew frustrated. It's not that 3D Dot Game Heroes is particularly hard, but the tedium of running through the same areas and fighting the same enemies only to die at nearly the same point makes it that much worse, especially as the allure of progress and a shiny new tool begins begins to fade.
There's a reason this piece isn't a review, and it's because I haven't played enough of the game to be comfortable in making a final judgment. It's the sort of game I've played on and off--I'd hit a difficult section, grow frustrated, put it down for a few days and come back later. The only problem with that approach is it isn't conducive to timely reviews.
Like I said above, it's a love-hate kind of thing. 3D Dot Game Heroes is a game I love and want to beat, but there are also times when it's so old-school that I want to throw my controller. So long as you're okay with that, it's a game you probably want to play.
A $39.99 PlayStation 3 exclusive crafted by From Software and Silicon Studio, 3D Dot Game Heroes went out to North American retailers today, May 11, 2010.