3D Dot Game Heroes

3D Dot Game Heroes Review for PS3

On: PS3

Taking inspiration from classic role-playing games released on early video game consoles, 3D Dot Game Heroes sees players transported back to the golden age of 8-bit gaming.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
Back to game info
3D Dot Game Heroes screenshot
3D Dot Game Heroes screenshot

In preparation for this review, I looked up the word 'nostalgia' in the dictionary, not because my grasp on the English language was so slender that the meaning eluded me – but because I was hoping it might shed some light on the confusion I had felt as I played 3D Dot Game Heroes. The definition read: a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time – a sound description you might surmise. The thing is, however, I'd never played From Software's quirky PS3 RPG before. Both the place and time were wholly new to me, and yet as I played, intense waves of nostalgia coursed through my veins. It's almost a paradoxical experience; merging the concepts of 'retro' and 'next-gen' to create a game that looks new, but feels old.

This was From Software's intention with the game all along: to create a title laced with nostalgia that pays homage to the heyday of 8-Bit gaming. While numerous games are referenced throughout the adventure, including Mega-Man, Final Fantasy and Castlevania, it's The Legend of Zelda that 3D Dot Game Heroes draws from in appearance, structure and execution. The camera, controls, weapons, items, power-ups and dungeon design are all straight out of one of Link's adventures, giving the game an incredibly familiar feel. Whilst imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, 3D Dot Game Heroes walks a fine line between tasteful tribute and shameless clone, a fact that won't sit well with die-hard Ninty fans. Still, this is precisely the game's charm, and mimicry is vital as a source of entertainment and humour.

I've managed to string together two whole paragraphs without gushing over the game's graphics, which are far and away the most interesting aspect of the game. Before I proceed to wax lyrical about said visuals; some context. The intro begins in 2D, with an 8-Bit town and the familiar animations of sprite-based town folk. The player learns of a great hero, who rid the Kingdom of Dotnia of the troublesome Dark King Onyx (Ganon, for all intensive purposes), trapping him inside an orb where he could no longer cause any harm. Peace might have returned to the Kingdom, but people grew bored and subsequently left in search of better things. Jumping to the conclusion that 2D worlds are no longer as exciting as they used to be, the omnipotent King Dotnia called upon his (completely unexplained) powers over time and space to magic the kingdom into the third dimension.

3D Dot Game Heroes screenshot

Basking in the glory of three dimensions, 3D Dot Game Heroes looks suitably at home on the PlayStation 3, yet still manages to maintain a distinctly retro feel. Each and every item in the game, be it a house, shopkeeper, or chicken, is made up of cuboid building blocks. 3D pixels if you will. It might sound primitive in the written form, but seeing the game in action is a joy to behold. Impressive use of shadows, reflections and other neat graphical touches prove just how far visuals have come since the days of the NES. A sight that never gets old is that of a defeated enemy disintegrating into a shower of pixels – much like what would happen if you took a sword to an enemy made entirely out of Lego. Technically speaking, there are far more impressive games out there, but 3D Dot Game Heroes has a visual charm that seasoned gamers will swoon with appreciation over.

Complimenting the unique aesthetic is an effervescent chip-tune soundtrack, which is just as responsible for the nostalgia trip as the visuals. Those with astute ears will notice many similarities in the soundtrack, which is not surprisingly based on those of other games. The title music is a few notes shy of the Final Fantasy title music (known as The Prelude), and Zelda fans will immediately recognise the main Zelda theme as they stroll around the game's overworld. Annoyingly (or not, as was the case with me) the catchy, quick-looping jingles will stay in your head long after you've stopped playing the game – just as they did back in 1987.

New stuff to check out

10 Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

It's on my rental list. If it grabs me I'll send it back and buy a copy (assuming it's a long game) when it's £20 ish. Which shouldn't be too long.
Posted 18:57 on 01 August 2010
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

This review makes me all the more annoyed that I didn't pick this up when I saw it for £19 yesterday. I may be making a detour on my way home tomorrow...
Posted 15:43 on 01 August 2010
Geraface's Avatar

Geraface

Man, I previewed this eons ago for some mag, looks like it hasn't changed much
Posted 14:47 on 01 August 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

Just ordered this for £22.85 from Shopto.net, it should arrive tomorrow I hope.
Posted 11:30 on 30 July 2010
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Well, your review has made me far more interested in the game now. Will have to check it out.
Posted 10:22 on 20 April 2010
Jamin's Avatar

Jamin

Blimey, that is a contradiction and a half, eh?

As an attempt at an excuse, I wrote my + and - points a while back, and have played the game considerably more since then. I obviously didn't check over those points after I'd written the review itself. Bad form on my behalf -- apologies.

Still, I stand by what I say in my final paragraph. The game is certainly no ripoff.
Posted 16:55 on 19 April 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

This looks awesome.
This is one of the first times I will have to ever say that, Jamin, you definitely did contradict yourself mate.
I totally agree with Mr_Ninjutsu, it was a bit silly to negatively mark it for something you've said doesn't matter.
Either way, I'd love to play a good Zelda clone.
Posted 16:13 on 19 April 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu

First you say this; Those who base their critique of the game around the word 'ripoff' have clearly missed the point here, and should take their superficial analysis elsewhere.

Then you say this; Ultimately a Zelda clone

Talk about contradiction.
Posted 14:57 on 19 April 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

Think I'll wait for this to drop in price, always thought it was gonna be a PSN title instead of a full price release.
Posted 11:14 on 19 April 2010
renegade's Avatar

renegade

"Ultimately a Zelda clone" Iv heard this a lot, why cant it be a homage to Zelda, and in a world where games are too easy a hard game is surly a mega plus "like mega man 10"

Oh well, I think this game looks cool, personally I think its too similar to Zelda to be a clone, its either a homage as I said, or a "look zelda 3D lol" etc.
Posted 10:45 on 19 April 2010

Game Stats

3D Dot Game Heroes
8
Out of 10
3D Dot Game Heroes
  • Veteran gamers will appreciate the script
  • Unique visual design
  • Ultimately a Zelda clone
  • Can be overly difficult
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 14/05/2010
Platform: PS3
Developer: Silicon Studio
Publisher: SouthPeak
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 489
View Full Site