What does 3D Dot Game Heroes even mean?

Overview
Following closely on the heels of the release of a Link to the Past in 1992…comes 3D Dot Game Heroes! A game with a nostalgia factor to the 10th power, outrageous game references, and a beautiful, yet pixelated 3d world.

I’m pretty sure that’s what the name of this title was intended for. To show us gamers that our heroes were going to be short little 3d blocks of awesomeness. Or something along those lines. This is what happens when you upgrade directly from 2d pixel art to straight 3d…according to this game at least. This however doesn’t just apply to the heroes it applies to the whole game world. So for those of you who can look past the interesting graphics…you can definitely expect to be immersed in a game that has all of the qualities of becoming a classic among rpg gamers, and game lovers period! At least in my humble opinion. :o

As usual, Japanese gamers have been enjoying this game since November 2009, but thankfully US gamers have only had to wait about 6 months, since 3D Dot Game Heroes was recently released May 11, 2010. Now that the game is here let us delve into some of the information on this homage to Zelda games and other titles that make it a step above the rest. :D

Story

Story

Taken directly from the manual:

In The Distant Past…
A small kingdom called Dotnia prospered. But the land’s peaceful days were brought to an end by the Dark King, who coveted power. As his evil shadow spread over the world, a hero with a sacred sword arose. Empowered by the six orbs of the six sages, the hero sealed the evil one in a Dark Orb.

It Has Been A Long, Long Time Since Those Events Came To Pass…
Tezro, the current king of Dotnia, has ushered in a new age for the kingdom. An age of 3D! But the peace these renovations promised was shattered by an evil bishop named Fuelle, who stole the Dark Orb.

Denizens of the Dark King have begun to roam the land.

Princess Iris, who set out to search for the orb, has not returned. The king’s soldiers have been powerless against the forces of evil.

In these uncertain times, the king has summoned YOU to aid Dotnia! You must set out to find the descendants of the six sages and receive their power. Only then can you hope to discover the whereabouts of Princess Iris and restore light to the kingdom. Your adventure has begun!

3D Dot Game Heroes Intro Gameplay pt1

Lol this story is about as generic as they come! But also this is one of this game’s charms. It’s meant to be exactly like that to pull you in. I know a lot of older gamers remember plot-lines like this from games of the past, and our new generation who actually like the retro games will pick this up based on just that alone. :)

Well hopefully by some of the screenshots and videos you may have seen, you have a gist of how the graphics look, and the sound itself steals borrows some excellent sound effects from older retro games. You might even be able to recognize some of the sound effects! The music accompanies these sound effects quite well.
So next up is gameplay…

Gameplay

Gameplay

This game is definitely a homage to old school Legend of Zelda (most notably a Link to the Past). From the initial introduction of the storyline, right down to the items you get, and even the spin attack. However please don’t let that deter you from enjoying a game such as this. I know some people have actually been disappointed with that particular premise alone. Saying this game is a copycat and such.

But what those people are failing to realize is that a homage to something is something that shows a high respect to something else. In this case the developers, the well known (now at least) FromSoftware have developed something that not only shows Legend of Zelda in a kind of new light, but it is also putting retro gaming back on a nice lofty pedestal…which believe it or not appeals to a lot of people.

Now running back to the things that you will recognize in this game that you have seen in Zelda titles of old and new:

  • You will see the regular sword and shield from the start.
  • Our main hero gets a dash attack.
  • I already mentioned the spin attack.
  • The bomb, bow & arrow, and the hookshot wire rod all make cameo appearances as well.
  • Even the dungeons will make you giggle when you witness the huge amount of stuff that resembles Zelda, with all the enemy clearing, block pushing, and puzzle filled rooms.

There are though, a lot of things that differ. The hugest difference is the sword. I mean that literally.

Pretty big eh? (I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere) The sword in this game has got a lot of people confused. Why do they start you off with such a huge sword? Won’t that just make the game disgustingly easy? While these misconceptions can be justified if you’ve only watched videos of the game or see screenshots like the above. Let me point out some things.

First off this game isn’t that easy. Enemies are aggressive. Especially the ones with crowns on their head. The sword’s huge form can only be used if you have max health or if you get the temporary MAX! buff that drops off of certain enemies every once in a while. And you want this sword trust me! :D It’s pretty nice to have it when you walk into an area filled with 6 enemies and you can spin slash and kill a few or even knock them back before they send you to your doom.

To make things even more interesting you can actually upgrade the sword :O!

If you want your sword to shoot beams, try upgrading the Beam stat. You want to stop bouncing off of walls when you dash? Then upgrade your Pierce stat. You can also upgrade the length, width, and more. Ahh if only things were that easy in real life… :P

Keep in mind that you cannot do this until you have upgraded to the strongest sword in the game. The game developers gave each sword a max potential so once you reach that, then you are done upgrading till you return that sword to it’s default stat values, or you find a new sword….

Ha! You thought you would only be running around with the Ancient Sword you got in the beginning of the game? Well think again. This game boasts over 20 different primary weapons you can use to blow enemies up into tiny little blocks…which include names like: Excalibur, Home Run Bat, and even a Rare Fish :D They all have different max potentials that you can play around with so make sure you search around for hints and clues on how to get these weapons.

The second thing of note is this game’s magic.
While you don’t get an over abundant amount of magic, the magic that you do receive is all useful. You will get non-combat magic to solve puzzles in dungeons, and the overworld. You will even get magic that can decimate several enemies at once, or you can even freeze your foes to run away and live to fight another day!

Shader Magic: Normal Map

One other thing of note is the sheer amount of comedy and references this game presents to the player. There are so many references to other games, besides Zelda that retro lovers, and older gamers alike will be falling out of their chairs with laughter. Or you might make soda come through your nose when you say I know that!
Here are some pics of what I mean:

Heh, and the references don’t end there either. This game is filled to the brim with them. It’s pure fun, trust me.

The very last thing that I would like to go into detail about is the character creation.

I lot of people like myself, usually hop right into the game and start our adventures of smacking baddies in the face. However there are some very, very talented individuals who started the game up, noticed the character editor, and have put a considerable amount of time into saving Dotnia with their own “special” heroes.

Character Editor in 3D Dot Game Heroes

If you have the time, patience, and also the artistic talent to do so, I would highly suggest that you mess around with the character editor. It makes the game experience of 3D Dot Game Heroes that much more enjoyable. But let’s not forget that Atlus has a Hall of Heroes where you can actually share your creations!

The downside to the official site though is of course you cannot upload your own version of Link or even Princess Zelda to save Dotnia with. They have to cover their own arses right? That’s why certain fan sites and forums have popped up allowing people to share their creations!

People have made versions of 8-bit Link, Ocarina of Time Link, Mario, characters from old Final Fantasy games and more!

Check out these pics to see what I mean:

Alucard from C:SotN

Link from OoT

Shin Akuma from SF

There are many more where these come from, and the people who have posted their creations and pictures are very talented.

Extra Info

  • This game has a buttload of secrets. Just like the Zelda games of old. So make sure you check everywhere and talk to a lot of people for your next secret hint.
  • Speaking of hints this game doesn’t really give you any indication of when you start a quest. So just pay attention, and be on the lookout for things npcs say. Also when you complete certain events in the game a lot of npcs have new dialogues.
  • The 3 main mini games in this game are very hard. But if you perfect them you will be awarded with some very nice items. :)
  • As far as I can tell Hero, Royal, and Scholar just indicate how much health and magic you start the game with. Hero has the most health. Scholar has the most magic. Royal is a balance between the two.
  • If you don’t like the starting camera angle, you don’t have to play with it all the time. You have 4 to choose from: 2 up close and 2 overhead views. But if you are in a dungeon or inside of a building it will always be the overhead view.
  • If you are some kind of gaming beast, and you think this is to easy then unlock From Mode which gives you stronger enemies, and lots of them.
  • But if you think that’s too easy then unlock Spelunker Mode which makes you die in one hit from pretty much anything.
  • This game also has New Game + option that allows you to carry over items and money to a new game after you beat the game.

Atlus has a bad habit of releasing niche titles like these and not producing a large enough supply for the people even after they realize the game is successful. Because of this a lot of people have ahad a hard time finding this game. I of course will recommend Amazon since they usually have what I want lying around. But I can also say to keep checking your local Walmart or even Target if you live in the US. (I actually bought mine at Walmart)

Image Gallery
This image gallery contains photos, game art, & screenshots for 3D Dot Game Heroes on the Playstation 3. Enjoy :D

Videos

3D Dot Game Heroes ~Quick Gameplay~ pt3
3D Dot Game Heroes: Natural Sword Enhancement from AtlusUSA
3D Dot Game Heroes: The Hero Your Hero Could Be from AtlusUSA
3D Dot Game Heroes Mini-Game Rap from AtlusUSA
3D Dot Game Heroes ~Intro Gameplay~ pt2
3D Dot Game Heroes: ~Grass Temple~ pt1

Words from Z
In closing do I think you should get this game?
C’mon… with all the info I’ve presented, and the pure awesomeness of it. Why would you not want to get this game? This is another one of those gems that has to be kept, if even just to show to a future generation, and it’s also a Ps3 exclusive.

So have you played it yet?

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