Nostalgia at its best...and not so best - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
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Nostalgia at its best...and not so best

You know those games that evoke a kind of nostalgic feeling when you play them? The ones that take you back to you and your NES or SNES system when you were playing Mario and Donkey Kong and trying to get used to holding one button down with your thumb to run and tapping another button with the middle section of your thumb so that your jump over the stupid pit that you always freaking miss and......sorry. What was I talking about...oh yeah. See, nostalgia can bring you happy memories or the not so happy ones. 3D Dot Game Heroes (yeah, that's its name) brings up all those feelings back in a swirl of...LEGO blocks. You'll remember the fun times, gently petting your controller like a new puppy, then other times you'll find yourself gnawing at the same controller like you're trying to chew your way to its core and make it pay dearly.

3D Dot Game Heroes (hence forth will be known as Dot Heroes because I'd like to keep whatever sanity I have lost by the end of this review) is a 3-d adventure game exclusive to the PS3 (which is a little strange...and here's why) that is similar (by similar I mean border line copyright infringement) to The Legend of Zelda for the NES, and A Link to the Past for the SNES. This is where the nostalgia comes into play. Let's see if any of this sounds familiar. You play as the descendant of an ancient Hero who once saved the land from the Dark King. You start out by going and retrieving the Master Sword...er...the Ancient Sword from the stone it was left in so you can defeat Ganondor—sorry, the Dark King once more and restore piece to Hyru--I mean Dotnia. In order to defeat the Dark King you must travel to the seven temples and retrieve the help of the Seven Sages (they didn't even try to disguise that one) in order to stand a chance.

Now just because Dot Heroes totally stole the ball from the old (and some new) Zelda games doesn't mean that it isn't fun. Quite the contrary, Dot Heroes is chalked full of fun and old good times. If you had fun in the old Zelda games then you'll have a blast in this one. The graphics are not revolutionary, or even anything great, but they are fun and keep the game interesting throughout. The environment, characters, everything is made out of LEGOs. That's were the Dot in the name came from. The environments have everything offered in the old Legend of Zelda games, but with a new building block look to it. I rather enjoyed it throughout. There are a several side quests available after each temple completion, but few ever really lead to anything that makes you think “wow, this long quest line was really worth it.” The camera angles offer four different views, all of which are variants of the old overhead camera view of Legend of Zelda. The gameplay is identical in most aspects. The creature encounters, exploration, and dungeon crawling are all nearly identical to Zelda for the NES. Even the items you get are very similar. For instance; a boomerang, a bomb bag with bombs, a bow and arrow, empty bottles for potions, a hookshot (called the anchor rod. Clever right?), and a few others. Your life meter is also similar, although, instead of hearts, Dot Heroes uses apples. Completely different, red, look like hearts from a glance apples.

Dot Heroes, perhaps feeling that we might penalize them for not being original enough, added a few neat things to the game to give it its own unique feel. Unlike the old Zelda game, you don't have to just stab straight with your sward or swing with barely any reach. Dot heroes allows you to swing you sword in any direction by just pressing that direction with the d-pad or joystick. Also (and this part is really cool) you can upgrade the swords that you get. This is the RPG-esqe style that was put in for a little more uniqueness. Each sword you get has this cool attribute of getting SUPER HUGE when you swing it at full health. The length and width of this monstrosity can be upgraded, as well as it power and other attributes. Each sword looks a little different from others, but not enough to really justify changing swords. There are a few swords, however, that have a large amount of power to them and will definitely have you using them for most of the game.

As mentioned before, this game incorporates the good AND BAD parts of nostalgia. The explorations aren't that tedious and the environment helps to keep that part interesting. The dungeons, however, get boring after awhile. Yes the dungeon's rooms are set out in different maze like patterns and each temple has its own little trap used throughout the whole dungeon, but you eventually realize around the fifth temple that it's mostly the same. Dying doesn't help since you start back at the beginning of the temple and, for most, you have to take a specific set of passages back the way you just went. One temple was especially bitchy in that respect. It had these switches placed in several rooms that activated a universal trap to the dungeon. Platforms would rise or lower, cutting off or opening passageways. If you died, you had to start all over, hitting switches in different rooms in a specific order, EVERY FLIPPING TIME! I can't tell you how many times I would be killed by some stupid enemy, only to be whisked to the first room so that I could enter a room, kill all the enemies, hit the switch, advance, next room, kill baddies, hit switch, advance, next room, no where to go, back track, hit switch, re-advance, kill badd-AGHGHHGHAHGHGAAGHGHGAGHGHGAGAGHGHGHHGH! (gurgling on own blood from blood vessels in neck busting).

I have to mention the audio here. The score is really cool and takes you back to the good old days with the Zelda-esqe adventure tunes. But when you are stuck in a dungeon for an hour or more and you have to listen to the same music over and over and over again it just makes you wanna grab a wii remote (yes, go find a wii controller for this exercise) complete with nunchuck attachment, force the remote part through one ear and out the other, take the nunchuck in one hand, the remote in the other and FLOSS YOUR F***ING BRAIN TO BLOODY, SMUSHY PIECES. Look at that. I found a good function for the wii control that doesn't require SUCKING.

The AI is...sporadic. There are enemies that sit their and let you kill them or run right at you so you can grant them their dream of becoming part shish kabob, and there are enemies that border on powers that rival The One of The Matrix. Most aren't too bad but some are just unfair. Some speed at you and quickly get to your side or behind you to attack you and the controls for the player are just not that fast or responsive. It gets a little irritating at times when you die by the same creatures over and over again The bosses are...stupid. They all follow the same predictable pattern that will lead to their downfall at the hands of you. Have fun.

I think at the final temple, the Dark Tower, the game developers all either a) had a fun drunk time the night before making the last temple in which their horrific “who is that lying next to me” headaches inspired them to redo parts of the other temples as this one, or b) the lead designer had a seizure and landed face down on the COPY OTHER DUNGEONS AND BOSSES TO THIS ONE button and laid there foaming at the mouth while the other developers poked him with a stick wondering if he was all right. In case you haven't guessed, the last temple is the other seven, or parts of them at least, with their respected boss at the end of each of the seven floors. Then you fight Ganon...I mean...no, screw it, Ganon. Fine you don't fight Ganon, you fight Dark King Onyx. Then you win the game, woohoo!!

In hopes that you would play again to unlock all the swords and do all the side quests, the game has a New Game + option after finishing it the first time. You get to replay it with all you're upgrades and items you obtained from the first run through.

One really cool mode that I really enjoyed, probably more than the game itself, was the create a character. It allows you to create your own hero from the ground up with blocks. This process takes quite some time because, well come on...you're using blocks. I created a Kenshin Himura, a Rock Lee, and a Sephiroth (I'm a bit of an anime nerd...and it's Sephiroth. He's bad-ass) and it is very rewarding to do so do to all the time you put into it and watching your character kill the baddies and save the kingdom.

All in all, if you're looking for a fun game to play and pass a couple of days playing, 3D Dot Game Heroes is something I encourage you to check out. If you're looking for something revolutionary to the world of gaming or something that will keep you satisfied for days upon days at a time, then quit being such a whiney, dreamy little ***. Or go buy a PS2.

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