Like any good RPG, Heroes Lore III provides an epic, lengthy adventure filled with clashing factions and plenty of plot twists. With dozens of hours worth of gameplay and an online multiplayer mode, Heroes Lore is one long game. However, with shallow combat, a forgettable story, and some annoying tech and control issues, it’s definitely lacking when it comes to quality.
The story is split into two different campaigns, show from both sides of a large-scale conflict. Two kingdoms who don’t really understand one another are fighting for reasons that are never fully explained. There are young girls with mysterious powers, strange men with metal masks, and plenty of arbitrary plot twists. There’s some nice crossover between the two campaigns, but in both the narrative is painfully generic. None of the characters are particularly interesting, and the dialog can be very awkward at times.
What big claws you have!
Heroes Lore III is an action RPG, so there are no turn-based battles or random encounters. Instead, you’ll wander around areas disposing of monsters and other enemies in real time. There’s a virtual joystick to control movement, but it’s terribly unresponsive and your character has an annoying tendency to get stuck on walls and other bits of the environment. The virtual stick is also opaque and quite large, so it blocks a nice chunk of the screen.
Attacks are controlled by two tiny buttons on the lower-right corner, and you can also assign two items (such as healing potions) to two additional buttons for easy access. This system works pretty well, as you can quickly attack and heal yourself with the press of a button. It’s just too bad that the combat is so shallow. You can defeat most enemies, bosses included, by simply spamming the attack button and making sure your potion supply isn’t running low.
There is at least some solid character customization. Each time you gain a level, you’ll get skill points to use however you see fit, and there’s a huge amount of weapons and armor to collect. There’s even a blacksmith feature, which allows you to craft your own items and gear. You’ll be grinding for materials as well as experience.
Can’t see the forest for the tree-people.
Visually, Heroes Lore III is reminiscent of classic 16-bit RPGs from the Super Nintendo era. The top-down environments look wonderful and there’s plenty of variety, from arid deserts to dark gothic cities. The characters are lovely little pixelated creations, coupled win gorgeously detailed portraits that accompany all of the dialog. The only real issue with the graphics is that the character animation is pretty terrible. Characters’ legs flail about and move at a comically fast pace when they walk or run, which just looks goofy.
Heroes Lore III also suffers from some technical issues. At several points during our playthrough the controls simply locked up, forcing a reset of the game. We didn’t lose any progress, but it’s annoying nonetheless. The visuals also have a tendency to flicker, and at one point our character randomly went rolling across the screen for no discernible reason.
In addition to the two single player campaigns, Heroes Lore III also features an ill-conceived multiplayer mode. Here, you can engage in either one-on-one or two-on-two turn-based combat that is quite boring. It’s slow, tedious, and provides no real challenge or fun.
Heroes Lore III definitely offers a lot of content, with a lengthy story and a huge world to explore. It’s just too bad that the developers didn’t spend more time making the game better instead of longer. Bad controls, a boring story, and button-mashing combat make this a grind to get through, even for RPG nuts.