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3D Dot Game Heroes Review

This is a discussion on 3D Dot Game Heroes Review within the Game Reviews forum, part of the Trophy Guides, Reviews & Articles; 3D Dot Game Heroes: Official Review by Gauss Basic Information: Developer: Silicon Studio Publisher: Atlus (NA) North American Release Date: ...

  1. #1
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    Sep 2011

    3D Dot Game Heroes Review

    3D Dot Game Heroes: Official Review
    by Gauss

    Basic Information:
    Developer: Silicon Studio
    Publisher: Atlus (NA)
    North American Release Date: May 11, 2010
    European Release Date: May 14, 2010
    Trophies: Yes

    3D Dot Game Heroes is a simple game with a simple story. A dark force once stole six magical orbs and was sealed away by a hero of legend with a great sword. A dark wizard has tried to ressurect this dark force, and it is your responsibility to save the land. Its a very simple premise that should seem familiar to anyone who has played Legend of Zelda. For all intensive purposes 3D Dot Game Heroes is a satire of LoZ, and a damn good one at that. I'd go as far as to say this is the best 'LoZ game' since A Link to the Past.

    Let me start the meat of this review off with a bang. 3D Dot Game Heroes is the best "Zelda" game released in 14 years, yes... 14 years. Now I know what you are thinking, "This is not Zelda though," but that statement is only true in technicalities. 3D Dot Game Heroes, in reality, is a satire of old school RPG games the primary influence of which is Zelda. This influence is nothing but obvious in the gameplay. You have a sword and a tool available at your disposal with a single button press and the tools range from boomerangs and anchor rods (i.e. Hookshot) to magic spells you get from beating bosses. It is classic Zelda style that has been made original through the addition of its own style, spell, and tongue-in-cheek swords. There are literally dozens of swords in this game, and the best part is they are upgradeable in the best way possible: The can take up more space.

    Yes, at full health your sword grows in size and damage, this can range from a minor increase to swords that can take up the majority of the screen. The end combination of these elements is a familiar, yet fresh style comfortable to anybody who has played Zelda before his jump to 3D.

    At its heart, to those who aren't familiar, 3D Dot Game Heroes is essentially a dungeon-crawling WRPG. As you move through the story you progess from dungeon to dungeon and get new items and upgrades which allow you to reach new areas and different dungeons and caves on the over-world. Its a simple style of gameplay that focuses primarily on exploration as opposed to combat. Make no mistake though, this game is not easy. There may not be any combos to memorize, but combat focuses primarily on quick reflexes with your sword and shield. Its simple, addictive, and rewarding.


    The singleplayer is the best part of the game, let me start off by saying you need to approach this game with a sense of humor, because it does not take itself seriously. The story in terms of plot is simple, a dark wizard is trying to resurrect an ancient evil and you must save the kingdom, Dotnia. The entertainment factors come in the dressing. A long time ago your ancestor drove off the evil originally, and his quest and excitement brought people to the land when it was 2D. Time has passed since and the land has become somewhat dead, so the king declared the land will now be 3D to attract visitors. Once again though the ancient evil is being resurrected and while you were visiting from the neighboring kingdom of Dottano, you were given a quest by the king to stop it.

    What truly makes this singleplayer experience great is its fun, at no point does the story ever seem pretentious, over-the-top, or trying to hard. Its straight satire at its best, poking fun at everything from Final Fantasy and Zelda to First person shooters and Castlevania. I challenge any Final Fantasy fan to not chuckle at lines like "Take this ribbon, it will protect you from disease... Just don't ask me how it works."

    Over the course of the game the quest will take you through 6 dungeons which follow a standard formula, you solve a series of puzzles to get a key to the boss arena then fight the boss to obtain his orb and allow its sage to unlock its magic for you. Each dungeon also contains a special item which will allow for further exploration on the overworld which will lead to the next dungeon. In typical RPG fashion there are also sidequests which will net you key items (involved in the quest for the ultimate sword), life/magic-ups and swords. This area is really the only short-coming I feel the game has, the side-quests are almost exclusively dialog or some completely separate gameplay element. There aren't any real secret areas or interesting zones of the map, it makes the overall game seem smaller. That being said the mini-games are pretty refreshing, except for Dash Circuit which is annoying. Particularly Block Defense, which is a tower-defense mini-game which rewards gold and items for completion.


    The style is the most iconic portion of the game, and honestly is one of the most refreshing elements in any game this year. What I will lovingly call "Dot" style heightens all aspects of the game and definitely puts you in the right state of mind, this is not a game meant to be taken seriously or realistically. Whats more is it defines what style should be in a game, something unique that just sings your title. It can't be bland or uninteresting, and 3D Dot Game Heroes nailed that in spades. That being said, this is definitely a presentation you can't really compare to other games out today. This isn't meant to be a graphical benchmark like God of War or Killzone 2, its meant to poke fun at the old-school 2D games in the vein of 3D. Its imaginative and immersive in a different way.

    The only real problem with the game from a technical standpoint is the stiff nature of the controls, its the one negative from the old-school that is still here in spades. You always feel more like you are moving a chess-piece along a grid rather than a real person. This really becomes a problem in some boss-fights when they can attack you from angles you can't really block completely. You get pushed the wrong way and take a hit not because you weren't on top of your game, but because the boss was coming at you from a 45 degree angle and you can't face him.

    Its not a major problem, and should under no circumstances push you away from this game. It just introduces a learning curve into the controls that takes time to get over, and can make some of the trophies and boss fights more frustrating than they should be.

    This game is a great example of a trophy list riddled with real accomplishments, while there are a few trophies on here you get for silly things you'd always do (like killing an enemy for the first time) the vast majority of the list is things the average gamer would consider true accomplishments. The boss trophies you don't get for just beating a boss, but you get for beating the boss without taking damage, completing the beastiary, completing the game without dying... There is even a trophy for beating the game in a mode in which you can only take one hit. This platinum is by no means easy, but is a good example of why trophies aren't all bad. 3D Dot Game Heroes is a trophy list that will give you actual challenges above and beyond the game that are enjoyable and rewarding to accomplish.

    Gameplay: 9/10
    - The gameplay is classic, I repeat CLASSIC. Any fan of old-school Zelda (you know, before it started sucking) should enjoy every minute of it.

    Singleplayer: 9.5/10
    - The story is light-hearted and funny, the small jabs at classic RPG elements and old school mis-spelling will have you laughing.

    Technical: 9/10
    - This game defines style, the "Dot" graphical presentation is something that heightens the nature in which this game is presented. My only issue is the lack of customization in controls.

    Overall: 9.25/10 Brilliant
    - 3D Dot Game Heroes is not a game for everybody. That being said, though, this is a game I highly recommend and no gamer who appreciates a good sense of humor or an old school flavor should miss this.

  2. #2
    Lvl 9 - Gold
    Hysteria's Avatar

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    Sep 2011
    Bedfordshire, UK

    I feel as if you've somehow left something out here (maybe it's the character creator, who knows), but everything here FINALLY tells me why this is seen as a decent game.

    ....Well, nearly, the fact you start off with a sword that destroys anything within half the radius of the screen completely eludes me and throws me off the game simply because I couldn't see the point in combat with it....

    I couldn't understand any of it of course though, i've only been a gamer since the Game Boy era to PS2 and onwards, i've only recently started actually TRYING to play the very first LOZ (yippee), so this game has been a total drag for me since I bought it a year ago.

    You offer great insight into how it plays out, but yet, I find myself baffled at your choice rating of over 9/10? Daymn.

    Despite every game i've bought and sold for PS3 though, this remains one of 3 titles sitting on my shelf since time and memorial (albeit, a year), don't know why I was so desperate to keep it,

    Possibly the best trophy list i've ever seen too, an actual, proper challenge when I looked into it, frustrating enough to know there were doors in dungeons I couln't open without a limited amount of sodding colour-specific keys!

  3. #3
    Platinum Procrastinator
    Denaratuck's Avatar

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    Sep 2011

    Great review Gauss for an amazing game. Its still one of my favorites on the PS3 and probably my proudest platinum trophy. I don't understand how Hysteria doesn't like it!

    You said it best when you said "I highly recommend and no gamer who appreciates a good sense of humor or an old school flavor should miss this." and I couldn't agree more. They really need to make a sequel for this.
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  4. #4
    Regional Manager of War
    Admiral_Awesome91's Avatar

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    Sep 2011
    Empire City

    I loved playing this game, its a lot easier than Zelda because of the swords you use in the game but It bought back amazing memories of Link to the Past. This is definitely one of my favorite exclusive PS3 titles to come out in the last couple years.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2011

    easily one of the most entertaining games I've ever played.... great review

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