Did you play Dungeons & Dragons in the past? Are you looking for that fun hack-n-slash RPG to help past the time? Well, look no further. Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes has just the right mix of RPG and gameplay and enough authenticity to keep it real. So grab some friends and head into the past and save the world once again.
The story so far…one hundred and fifty years ago, a new and growing darkness descended upon the peaceful land of Baele destroying it all. A dark and mysterious castle is left suspended high above the ruins. The once great heroes of Baele are awakened from death and thrown into this world, but do not know by whom or why. The heroes must regain their strength and powers and then conquer the evil darkness. The wizard Kaedin had opened four portals, each leading to a different plane of existence, and harnessed the power of the planes to create four different gems, each as strong as the plane that bore it. He then created a fifth Gem to channel the power of the wind itself and entrusted it to a fearsome beholder who protects it to this day. Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes has you playing as one of these heroes and will have you travel through these portals to help complete the quest.
Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes gives you the choice between a sword wielding human Fighter, the hammer thumping Dwarven Cleric, the bow armed halfling Rogue and the spell casting female Wizard . After selecting a character you see a brief explanation of the game’s story. Each character comes with their own set of unique combat moves. Multiple strikes will unlock these moves while others can be learned as you advance in levels. Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes is not about character development but more about action so this will dictate how you end up playing the game.
The Fighter is the right choice if you are playing the game by yourself. Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes does not adjust the difficulty based on the number or players. If you play the game by yourself, you have the opportunity to increase your experience and levels faster. But when you play with a group with multiple characters you have an easier time fighting, but to gain your experience and increase in levels takes longer. A new player can join the game at anytime using a base character or any previously saved one, which is a very nice feature.
There are seven distinct environments to roam through and classic Dungeons & Dragons monsters to battle. Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes is played from a top-down perspective, with zoom control that is controlled by the number of players and how far apart they are. If your character is killed a countdown clock appears in which you can be resurrect or hit start and choose a new character. There are an array of feats that you can learn to enhance your character and some of these are required before your character can wear certain armor or use some of the differing weapons. There is also a good array of monsters to fight and thankfully are not dummied down like most games. Creatures that are armed with bows will do their best to shoot from long range rather than coming up and going head to head with you. End Bosses are also a good challenge. With each end boss you must learn how to defeat them and it does take some time with some of them. There are also various save points throughout the dungeons and the dungeon will re-populate when you return to a save point. There is also a short tutorial side dungeon if you need it. The tutorial is very good and a must for newbie’s.
Graphically Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes is very well done with some fantastic flame and water effects. There are some very nice special effects including glowing weapon arcs along with a infinite library of special effects from the spellbook magic missiles, fireballs, and Clerics healing power. The characters and monsters are all excellent but you seldom see them up close. The HDTV progressive scan is supported which is a nice feature. There is a great variety of character and monster animation and varied locales you’d expect to find in a Dungeons & Dragons game, but the enemy models are somewhat repetitive.
Controls are very simple and quite responsive. There are 3 standard attack buttons but you are free to customize the other three buttons as hotkeys for other attacks, spells, and special finishing moves. When you make a quick pull of the left trigger the game will slow down giving you the chance to use the D-pad to look through the options for each button. The only time you need to leave the character playing field is when you want to sell, exchange, equip armor and change weapons.
The fantasy music is a perfect fit for Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes. The music blends into the background during gameplay and the sound effects are a little limited to weapons clashing together, and the special effects sounds for the spells along with the grunting or groaning of monsters and team mates. Voice acting during the cutscenes are very well done with the timing of the voices being dead on. All this along with 5.1 surround sound make the sound create echoes and wonderful environmental effects.
Most Dungeons & Dragons fans may not like this game; Gauntlet fans will love it. It would have been nice to see Xbox Live support so you could go online and play with some friends like Phantasy Star Online, but overall it’s a great game to play. With great music and gameplay it is well worth the price.
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