Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Strategy, Adventure, RPG & Arcade
Release Date: 28th of March, 2017
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Get ready to play one of the hardest games ever to be released in this decade as Frozenbyte’s Has-Been Heroes’ release is imminent! From the very first time I laid eyes on this roguelike adventure title, I just knew it was one of the games I had to get my hands one I had a Nintendo Switch to call my own and now such a thing has happened and Has-Been Heroes is even better than I expected it to be.
Yes it is hard and even the controls are a bit of a difficult one to master when first starting out, but honestly the whole difficulty thing, it’s all part of the appeal. Part of what makes this game the attractive piece of IP that it is. There’s a reason why Fire Emblem’s permadeath is adored the way that it is, it’s because some players, quite the majority in fact, love a difficult game. A game that will challenge them and there is no greater challenge then playing a game where should one of your Heroes fall, all is lost and the player is forced to start all over again and just in case you think I’m kidding, I’m really not.
Should a single unit fall in battle, its game over and the mission has to be started all over again and while some may see that as something that should deter players, if anything, it only spurs us on. Making us try and try and try again and before you know it, two hours have passed and you’re still no closer to completing the whole game, but it just becomes so addictive that you can no longer put down the controller and walk away and the reason for this, is because Has-Been Heroes only gets more addictive the longer you play it and that’s not all. Because there are over 300 Spells, multiple items and all kinds of combos that can be used, to cause all kinds of damage and devastating effects, every playthrough is different, so if you had fears about the experience going a little stale, as far as the randomness of Has-Been Heroes goes, stale is the one word you can’t use to describe it.
Only I feel as though I am doing a little too much, too soon, so let’s dial down the knob, slow the pace and go over the story before we can properly cover the gameplay in full, so here’s the premise of Has-Been Heroes. Once upon a time there was a Kingdom that was protected by an epic band of Heroes, only the Heroes were a little too good at what they did, so peace came to the Kingdom and decades would pass before Heroes would be needed once again. Now the roads were growing restless, talk of monsters was spreading like wildfire and strange creatures took to roaming the land, so naturally the King reached out to his trusted Heroes.
Delivering said message is Rogue, the very first playable Hero Has-Been Heroes allows the player to take control of, only Rogue is not a true hero, but merely a fan who’s more than happy enough to take said message to the Heroes Rogue idolises and sure enough, after a playable tutorial, Rogue does encounter the wise Monk Metacles and Crux, two of the remaining Heroes of old and together, the three go to meet the King as a group and are tasked with a mission of great importance. A mission that requires the two Has-Been Heroes and Rogue to escort the King’s twin daughters to school, but the journey will not be easy and death comes in many forms, much like endings, of which there are plenty of.
But with the story over and done with, it is of course time to talk about gameplay and a little more about what kind of game it is. It is a game with rather a unique visual style and attractive colours that doubles as both a real-time action and strategy adventure, in which hordes upon hordes of enemies will constantly advance upon your Heroes during battle stages. Had Has-Been Heroes be like almost any other game, odds are you’d be able to constantly use your Heroes to constantly attack the approaching monsters, only Has-Been Heroes is not like other games. It is a game that allows you to control three Heroes at a time, has cooldowns and a high importance on knowing when to cast certain spells and making sure to make the most out of every single attack you do.
So yes, timing is everything, but if the action is a little fast for you, you can always stop time completing by pressing the L button to pause the action and make a logical decision and then put it into action, and just in case you don’t like the Heroes you start off with, there are 12 in all, so you can always mix and match, (provided you are skilled enough to traverse all 14 regions, which all have a troublesome boss at the end, so enjoy) and should you actually prove skilful enough to reach the end, the ending isn’t that bad either and speaking of endings, it’s getting to the point where I should wrap this up.
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So yes Has-Been Heroes is a hard game. A challenging game and possibly even a game that could weep a little or kick and throw something, but as I said before, that challenging aspect is part of its appeal. Could the visual style and art have been better? Why yes it could, but if it had been, Has-Been Heroes would not be the same game it is now and that would be a shame as this video game offering is pretty great exactly the way it is. So great in fact that on Switch, this HD Rumble supporting and playable in all three titles well and truly deserves an 8/10. Were I to have one regret about this game, it would have to be the fact that I do not own a physical version of it, but that is not something that will stop me from playing over and over again. After all, someone needs to teach the Great Ghoul a lesson and come release day that someone can be you!
THE VERDICT: 8/10