3D Dot Game Heroes Review: PS3 Exclusive

3D Dot Game Heroes is a quirky RPG/adventure game exclusively on the PS3. It wears its video game influences openly, especially the Legend of Zelda, but doesn’t simply rehash beloved 8bit titles. The land of Dotnia is refreshing and unique. 3D Dot Game Heroes rated E10+ and is available now.
Story
The story is shown through cut scenes in the beginning tells the tale of a 2D world that was once under attack. A special hero rose up and defeated the evil, locking it away. Soon, the 2D kingdom fell to the wayside as 3D gained in popularity. The king of Dotnia then magically made the landscape pop up and the world of 3D Dot Game Heroes was born. Of course, the evil creature that was locked away comes back and a new hero must save the kingdom again. It’s a simple story every gamer as heard before, but who doesn’t want to take up the mantle of “hero” and save the world? Especially when that world is like a love letter to classic gaming.

Game play
One of the things that makes 3D Dot Game Heroes stand part from the Legend of Zelda is the ability to create your own hero. Block by block, players can create just about any creature from dragons, ninjas, and skeletons. If creating a character from nothing sounds like a chore, there are pages of already made heroes available. There are also three character classes to pick from: Hero, Royal, and Scholar. Each gives you a different combination of health and magic experience.

Your character is equipped with a sword that grows to a ridiculous size when all your apples (instead of hearts) are full. Upgrades and other swords are available. Some swords can be purchased, others are found through the land. Besides the sword, there are other items to obtain like bombs, bow and arrows, glass jars, and the boomerang. The sword and items work well, but I noticed with the sword, there were times I found myself completely turned around in the wrong direction. Perhaps this is a glitch, but it was sort of frustrating to take a swing with the sword only to hit the wall instead of the enemy. Another small problem was with the wire rod. If the shot wasn’t was lined up perfectly, the hook would miss. In certain circumstances, like trying to escape enemies, making that perfect shot was difficult.

The world of 3D Dot Game Heroes is split into the overworld and dungeons. The overworld is a vibrant and varied with water, deserts, forests, and mountains. Each of these places are made up of tiny blocks. When you bomb the side of a hill, blocks scatter everywhere. It’s a nice effect and really makes you feel the Dot world is a place of its own. There is plenty of opportunity to explore all the different regions and towns. The towns especially are full of colorful jabs at retro games and the gaming industry. The dungeons are very easy in the beginning, but quickly become almost mind numbing frustrating. All the dungeons have a similar look and get more confusing as the game progresses. There is much back tracking in the dungeons, more then I think I have encountered in any other video game. Still, the dungeons pay homage to Zelda, with their strikingly similar puzzles and enemies.

Replay value
With everything to explore and discover, there’s replay value in the game. Players don’t need to learn every secret in order to finish and it’s fun to have a second play through to see what was missed. There is also an alternative ending and numerous side quests scattered about. If you want to get lost in exploration, 3D Dot Game Heroes is a great game.

Dot Heroes is an excellent game for kids and adults alike. Experienced gamers will enjoy the challenging dungeons. Younger ones will love the colorful, fun graphics and the non-linear game play. While it may not be a perfect title, it is an interesting twist on all those early 8bit RPGs and definitely worth checking out.

Mike or Kobe? NBA 2K11 Settles the Score

Michael Jordan has not played professional basketball for eight years, and is considered to be the greatest player of all time. How would his airness measure up to current NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James? My favorite video game of 2011 is NBA 2K11 because you can play as Michael Jordan and see how he compares to current professional players, or re-enact his greatest basketball moments. NBA 2K11 is the best basketball simulator that I have ever played, and a must have for any gamer that is a basketball fan. The graphics are amazing, the players, and arenas look authentic. The sound is incredible, it’s like you are watching a game on television. The player movements are detailed and accurate because each player moves like their real life counter-part.
An exciting new feature is ” The Jordan Challenge,” where players can control Michael Jordan in some of his biggest moments. The first puts you in game one of the 1991 NBA Finals against Earvin “Magic” Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. You then have to win the series, while meeting scoring and field goal percentage requirements, to win that particular challenge. There are nine more challenges like this one, and what’s cool is the announcers have special commentary for each game. Each challenge has its own set of objectives the player must complete. After all of the challenges have been completed Michael Jordan can be drafted to any current NBA team.

Another appealing feature is the “My Player,” mode where you can create an NBA superstar. Your player starts as a rookie at NBA pre-draft camp and game play determines where the player is drafted. You earn points to improve your created player by completing challenges given to you pre-game. As your player improves you begin to deal with the media in post-game press conferences and manage your endorsements. The game does a fantastic job of simulating the life of an NBA player. Users can take their created player online to compete with others in pick-up games. The online play is smooth and reliable.

I highly recommend picking up NBA2K11 if you are a fan of NBA basketball. Whether you are a hardcore or casual gamer this game has excellent playability. The controls are simple to understand. An individual could jump right in and play, even if they had no experience playing the 2K series. This years version was the best I have seen so far, and I can’t wait for 2012.