3D Dot Game Heroes ImpressionsBy Patrick Klepek - Posted Apr 08, 2010
There's no doubt that 3D Dot Game Heroes definitely looks like one of the greatest throwbacks to the classic games many of us grew up with, but there's been a question that's lingered in my mind about it ever since the first screen shots surfaced: Would this game actually be good? Nostalgia is a powerful thing and I worried 3D Dot Game Heroes would rely on that alone.
Having finished two dungeons of From Software's modern take on the original formula for The Legend of Zelda, I'm not yet confident there's a clean-cut answer to that question just yet. What is clear, however, is old school games fans, especially ones steeped in Zelda fandom, will find themselves overjoyed with 3D Dot Game Heroes. There are references, visual cues and jokes that will only make sense to people who found were once enamored with Link's original adventures. Overjoyed is probably an understatement, too. Even the music riffs on Shigeru Miyamoto's classic. 3D Dot Game Heroes plays like a self-aware, fourth wall-breaking remake of The Legend of Zelda that's laden with respect for Miyamoto's foundation from the moment it begins.
3D Dot Game Heroes is a hardcore game, too. The enemies are happy to provide a bevy of cheap hits to tick away at your heart count and From Software's gameplay approach returns to something most video games ditched a long time ago: non-linearity. These days, non-linear gameplay tends to reference an open world experience, where the player can go anywhere at anytime and experiment. That's true in 3D Dot Game Heroes, too, but that's layered on top of the expectation that when the player explores, they just might find an area they're not supposed to have discovered yet, a landscape with enemies you're not prepared to fight. 3D Dot Game Heroes has an element of player discovery that asks the gamer to do something more than follow an arrow. I found the approach refreshing.
It's also worth nothing 3D Dot Game Heroes marks the first time I've actually scribbled down a map in my notebook as reference material in...heck, I can't remember the last time a game prompted me to do that. It was the really good kind of nerdy feeling.
There are four more magical orbs to be collected in my 3D Dot Game Heroes adventure, barring the appearance of a magical second world to explore once the boss is vanquished. I still can't confidently answer whether 3D Dot Game Heroes is a really great game, but I can already tell you it's a fantastic trip down memory line in high-definition and Zelda fans are going to flip for it.