Recently, I purchased the game 3D Dot Game Heroes, for the Playstation 3. It’s billed as a love note the the 8bit adventure games of yore, and that’s probably the best description that can be had for the game.
The plot is straight out of The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past: A long time ago, there was a big bad guy who did big bad things. Six smart, wise guys got together, and trapped him in
a parallel world of his own creation a glowing Orb. Some wizard has sucked up to the king, stolen the Orb, and plans on unleashing the power of the Big Bad. It’s up to you, who just happens to be the direct descendant of the Previous Hero, to save the world.
Sound familiar? Sages are called Scholars, Dungeons are Temples, but otherwise it’s all very much in line with what we know and love. Which, in my opinion, is a great thing.
Graphically, it’s closer to The Legend of Zelda, only in 3D. Kind of like the reverse of Super Paper Mario: Instead of 2D sprites in a 3D world, it’s blocky-sprites in a blocky-sprite world.
Okay, maybe the analogy doesn’t hold up particularly well… But you get the picture. 😛
The game is full of references to past games, from direct quoting of famous lines, to references to the cheat codes and other such trivia that gamers of a certain age will remember fondly. Even the sound effects have been crafted in such a way as to be reminiscent of other titles.
What, then, does this game bring that is new? Sadly, not much. It does contain a rather robust – if complicated – character creation tool, but other than that it is a retro game in high-def.
Which is not at all a bad thing – because 3D Dot Game Heroes has a sense of whimsy and sincerity about it which truly sells the idea. This isn’t something crafted over a weekend by some guy in his basement hoping to cash in on your love of old stuff. No, it’s a love letter to the past, a thank you note for all the fun what we’ve had, and a reminder that such fun need not go away as games evolve into… well, whatever the fuck Twilight Princess was.
Frankly, this is a game that Nintendo should have made, and would do well to take notes from. In many ways this game is more Zelda than the last console entry in the franchise.
I don’t think I can recommend it highly enough.