Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thoughts On...Heroes of Mana

   Last night i spent an hour or so playing Heroes of Mana (NDS) and found it enjoyable.  One of the main reasons i had a good time with it was that I've played far too much Warcraft III over the years.  I've also sunk literally hundreds of hours into all three Final Fantasy Tactics games.  both of these lend themselves well, as the art is done by the same guy as FFT:A2, Ryoma Itō.  It's nice Character style, but very easy to spot.  
   One of the issues i found was that after the first twenty or so minutes, i was skipping through the dialogue and story, moving as quickly as i could to get to the combat, the plight of the people and why they were fighting as forgotten as most things that aren't shiny enough to hold my attention.  The crazy thing was, I wasn't missing much.  whenever i did slow down enough to grasp what was going on, the plot was so unbearably by the numbers that it might as well have used the stylus to connect the dots.  does this sound familiar?
A small unit of soldiers featuring a rookie, a grizzled veteran, a a swordsman, a glass canon mage, a female thief, an archer.  they are sent into enemy territory a a diversion while their armada invades the capital to seize a McGuffin.  upon their arrival to the castle, they're turned on and have to fight against their own side.  plot twist which is so overused it might as well be a light curve in the road.  
   I don't know, but the lack of originality on the plot side bugged me.  still, it's a safe product, which is how i have it in my hands. WC3 is fun.  Square RTS's are fun.  throw in a standard plot that allows the player party to get in a lot of fights and we're off on a good time.
   It left me wanting something other than WC3 port skinned and codded by the FFT crew, glorious though they are.  The mechanics work well.  Units are selectable with more accuracy than a mouse would allow, something impressive for hardware, but it doesn't push the envelope far enough.  a bit more freedom on the over world would be appreciated.  
    Maybe my issue with it is it's like many games i enjoy, but not enough like certain ones.  Were it more free roaming like the first FFT, or dare i say it, Mount & Blade, one of the pinnacles of wide open sandbox games, i might have enjoyed it a bit more.  As it is I i might play it more, but I'm pessimistic that it will surprise me.
   Fun, but didn't do enough to distinguish itself on its own merits.

//Images blatantly ripped off of Google.

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