Not a Hero – PAX Prime 2014 Impressions

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With OlliOlli being released earlier this year, developer Roll7 has shifted their attention to their next game Not a Hero, a 2.25D cover shooter. The idea of Not a Hero started way back when development on OlliOlli began, but due to having a small studio they were forced to put the game on the shelf for a bit. What the team might not have known at the time was that they might have put the next Hotline Miami on hold.

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Not a Hero, is a pixel style 2.25D shooter that is hyper violent and super addictive. The game follows a mayoral candidate from the future who goes back in time to eliminate crime in hopes of increasing his chances of victory. Oh, did I mention that the mayoral candidate is an anthropomorphic rabbit named Bunnylord? Because that is probably important in terms of translating the seriousness of the game’s story. Speaking of the story, the game’s cutscenes feature randomly generated text which means it will have some strange and hilarious moments and each player will see something different.

Gameplay is a chaotic cover based shooter where the player pops in and out of strategically placed cover points and fires round after round of bullets at enemies. The gameplay can be fast or slow based on the player’s choices. Not a Hero is meant to be difficult so without strategically looking at each level the game can quickly turn into a trial and error experience. Each playable character has their own unique ability and disadvantage. One character I tried had the special ability of sliding and firing his gun at the same time which made the game move at a frantic pace while another only used melee attacks which meant each enemy had to be taken down strategically since the level was still filled with gun-toting enemies.

Each playable character in the game is equipped with their only weapon and power-ups are obtained through bullet pick-ups that add various things like explosive ammo or rate of fire. Other pick-ups include grenades and proximity mines and become very important for smartly dealing with enemies as they can be used to chain together some very deadly traps.

Popping in and out of cover or running through the game guns blazing all seemed like appropriate ways of finishing levels in my experience and it was up to me as to how I wanted to tackle the level. I have to say I died a lot, like a crazy amount of times, but it was not the game’s fault because nothing that caused my death was cheap. I can confidently blame most if not all of my deaths on myself because I either did not pay enough attention to how enemies were placed or I forgot to reload. The game is meant to be challenging and it does not hold your hand. It’s easy to make the game harder for yourself until you get into a groove with the mechanics. Luckily the mechanics are easy to understand and fun to mess around with.

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Not a Hero is a difficult and challenging game that was tough to put down as I became more and more comfortable with it. The game looks to take what Hotline Miami started and go over-the-top with it. The combination of the bizarre story and action movie style gameplay looks to be a winner in the making. Not a Hero is expected to release in 2015 for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

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