Monday, August 02, 2010

Video game number two hundred and twenty one: 3D Dot Game Heroes

Video game review number two hundred and twenty one in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "3D Dot Game Heroes"

Twenty three years ago, I played the Legend of Zelda for the first time. It was an amazing video game (and the cartridge was GOLD!). I can't even begin to estimate how many hours I spent on this thing. I was a Nintendo Power subscriber, and every few months they'd release a fold out map that showed you one of the game worlds, or the dungeons...or some other part of this game I happened to be stuck on. Before the days of the internet, this was the only way to make it through a game like this....and my copies of those magazines were worn out to the point where they barely resembled paper anymore.

Sometime in 1988, if you'd told me there was going to be another game that looked a little bit better than the original Legend of Zelda, but contained almost identical gameplay...I would have been thrilled. A few years later, in 1991....that actually happened...and I was actually thrilled.

Fast forward to 2010. 3D Dot Game Heroes is released, and I'm not that thrilled. Yes, I get it. It's just like Zelda. Yes, in concept, that's awesome. Game review sites are going crazy for it, and I understand why. The idea is a good one....but in practice, I thought it got old after about ten minutes.

How can this be? I'm not sure. I suppose my gaming tastes have matured as the years have passed and technology has improved. While I still really enjoy a great Mario game, playing something from the modern era with the exact same old school graphics somehow does not appeal. 3D Dot Heroes tries to go retro with their graphics, and I think they go a little too far. They go so retro that it really feels like something you should be playing in a flash window of your favorite web browser on facebook, instead of something you just bought for 30 bucks at Game Stop. Lucky for me, I rented this one. I think it might be worth a 5 dollar download on Playstation Network, but I don't think it's good enough to be a standalone title. That value perception might be part of the reason I didn't like it. In my opinion, it's an arcade game at best, not a standalone title.

This game review brings up an interesting question that might be hard to answer. Is an "old" game (or a game in the old style of animation) still a good game? For some gamers, the answer seems to be a resounding yes. At least in theory.

This week, a little game called "Halo 2600" has been making the internet rounds. Halo 2600 is a version of Halo meant to run on the Atari 2600. When I heard about this, I had to's a totally awesome concept. After I played it, it turns out that this is actually only awesome for about 5 minutes...and then,'ve seen enough to know you've seen it all. Try it for yourself, you'll see what I mean. I reviewed it well....but I don't see myself buying it as anything but a collectible.

3D Dot Heroes felt the same for me. I really liked the retro feel for the first ten minutes or so, and then...I started to wish the game was a little more refined. I actually felt like I was playing a game on the NES, and because it was a copycat game and not an actual Zelda game, it wasn't something I was compelled to keep playing. If I want that classic experience again, I'll play classic Zelda.

Overall Score? 5/10. As far as the game was probably a 2 or a 3, but the concept...I really liked, so I'm bumping it up to a 5. I'm glad I only rented it, because I was sick of it after a few minutes. Your mileage may vary.

Trophies? I got a handful:

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