Review: 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)

Title: 3D Dot Game Heroes
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Release Date: May 11, 2010
Original MSRP: $39.99
ESRB: E10+

I’ve never made it a secret that I still hold the 16-bit days in extremely high regard. In a lot of ways, gaming met perfection on the SNES and Turbografx. From the first time I saw 3D Dot Game Heroes, I had a feeling that it would scratch that itch that’s been lingering for so long, as Action RPG’s were my wheelhouse in those days.

A lot of people seem to put instant hate on this game. as they feel it’s a “ripoff.” As soon as you boot 3D Dot Game Heroes (3DDGH) though, you’ll realize that this isn’t merely a carbon copy, but rather an homage to some of the most awesome titles in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. You will see and hear many similarities, and the gameplay is very similar in many ways as well, but there are also many differences. The story, for one, is extremely different, and the writing is one of its greatest assets. You’ll find many more laughs in 3DDGH than you would in a “traditional” Action RPG, and the plethora of easter eggs will definitely keep you on your toes (yes, I know what a plethora is.)

The first thing that you’ll notice is the visual style, which is amazingly unique. They have endeavored to keep the 16-bit pixelated look while also making it look the way a “next-gen” title should be. In the 3D space, the pixels are now 3D blocks (many have compared it to Pixelart.) They even go so far as to let you create your own main character using an easy-to-learn tool. If you’re not very creative (like me,) you can choose from 50 pre-made characters as well, many that were released in Japan as DLC. One other addition to the Japanese version that’s included on the disc is an optional Install. I highly recommend the 1.2GB install, as the difference in load times is pretty significant.

Gameplay:
3DDGH plays exactly as you’d expect, with a couple of twists. First-off, you’ll notice that at full health, your sword is big, really big! You can also swipe the sword to hit enemies that are all around you, which work very well for something that’s diagonal from you. Also, something that can come in very handy is the “dash attack,” which allows you to even change directions while you’re running. All of the standard fare is included past that, your boomerang, grappling hook, and mirror. Switching between many secondary items is easily done with R2 and L2, and overall the controls are very intuitive. The boss fights are pretty unique from boss-to-boss, and again are very reminiscent of the older titles that you’ve played.

Visuals:
I touched on this before, but truly these are some of the most unique visuals that you will ever experience. Mixed-in with the 3D-pixel look, they’ll throw all of the “next-gen” effects at you like field of vision, HDR lighting, realtime shadows, and whatever else comes with the kitchen sink. They’ve also included options such as a couple of different fonts and four different cameras. The video that was posted earlier, and the screenshots below are the best way to get a feel for the visuals though, as they’re pretty difficult to describe. Personally, I love what they’ve done with the visuals. It’s not just unique, it actually works, and works very well.

Audio:
As soon as you hear the music, and let it process in your head, you’ll smile. It’s EXTREMELY close to the music from another popular franchise. The audio itself is essentially a mix of modern tech with the synthesized sounds from the 8 and 16-bit eras. The mix works very well, and stays fresh throughout the entire experience. Sound effects are well-done, especially in the dungeons.

Everything Else:
To say that I love this game is an understatement. The variety is great, the level and character designs are extremely well done. They’ve even include three minigames, which are fleshed-out quite well. Do well in those minigames to unlock certain items. On top of all of that, the English translation and writing are superb, and will keep you laughing (say “no” to some of the questions.) It can take roughly 25 hours to get through the main story. Make sure you head back to a couple of the caves that you come across in your adventure, because things can change throughout your experience. All of this for 40 bucks too! Do yourself a favor and grab 3D Dot Game Heroes. It’s fantastic from top-to-bottom, and is one of the best values in gaming today!

Score:
9.0

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  • Vedderist

    Really looking forward to this now. Thanks Torgo, great review.

  • Vedderist

    Really looking forward to this now. Thanks Torgo, great review.