(DS)

Game Review

Glory of Heracles Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Herculean effort or Greek tragedy?

Role-playing game fans have to be excited to see the number of RPG releases appearing on the DS system continuing to grow. And while we've seen some very unique gameplay elements in many of the titles, we've seen almost as many titles take a much more traditional approach, choosing to stick to many of the familiar ideas that have become such a staple of the genre over the years. Glory of Heracles falls somewhere in the middle and while the game introduces some very unique ideas, it also tends to play it safe in many areas as well. So how exactly does this latest Japanese RPG stack up against the growing number of titles in the genre and does it deserve a place in your DS game library?

When it comes to the gameplay design of Glory of Heracles, the game doesn't deviate much from the typical Japanese RPG experience. You'll do plenty of traveling on the world map, with the familiar random enemy encounters to deal with, but there will also be times when you'll travel by sea as well. Along the way you'll visit towns where you'll have the opportunity to not only rest and heal your characters, but also outfit them with better weapons, armor, and specialty items. The game even introduces a few new wrinkles with the inclusion of blacksmiths and polishers that can not only reforge your weapons and armor with items you've collected to make them more powerful, but also polish up rusty items you find during your adventure.

Of course it wouldn't be an RPG without plenty of areas to explore, and there's certainly no shortage of them in this game. While the traveling from area to area stays fairly linear as the story plays out, you'll still have your chance to explore various landscapes and dungeons, all of which are filled with plenty of enemies to battle. As mentioned, the enemy encounters in the game are random, but the game does a nice job of spreading them out quite well as to keep them from occurring too often during your travels. You'll also find that the game's difficulty remains fairly balanced as to not require too much in the way of grinding in order to survive during the game's progression.

Japanese RPGs tend to feature turn-based combat systems and Glory of Heracles is no exception. While the battle engine itself is fairly standard and straightforward, there are a few unique twists tossed in to make things a little more strategic, although it's this sheer number of battle options that can become a little overwhelming. This tends to happen more often at times when you have a large number of party members in your group, each with a wide variety attacks, skills, and magical spells to choose from. You still have many of the basic commands like Attack, Defend, Skills, and Magic, but there's also a Fall Back command that will allow you to move certain characters to the back row of the battle grid in order to better protect them. It's a small addition, but one that does come in handy for those times when you find yourself stuck with a weaker character. The game will even periodically offer you advice during battles to help you better come to grips with the game's rather intricate combat system.

During a battle, the bottom screen of the DS shows a grid that allows you to position your characters and select their battle moves and targets. You can use either the stylus or stick with the action buttons, whichever suits your personal tastes, as both work equally well. Once all battle selections are made, the fight will play out on the top screen, while a running account of the battle is typed out on the bottom screen, step by step. You can even scroll through the text of the battle to see what attacks were more or less effective than others, not to mention checking to see how many hit points your characters and enemies have left. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but once you get a handle on the combat system, you'll find it quite in-depth, albeit a bit complex.

Glory of Heracles features a fairly engaging storyline and there are tons of characters to interact with, many of which will end up joining you on your quest during various sections of the game. The pacing of the story's progression can be a tad on the sluggish side at times. There tend to be times when the flow of the game becomes a little bogged down with drawn-out enemy battles or lengthy fetch quests that tend to leave you searching for the event trigger to get the game's main adventure rolling along again. Luckily, the game's combat system and unique gameplay twists tend to keep things interesting and RPG fans who like to micro manage their characters and their battles will likely enjoy the game's attention to detail in these two areas. The ability to use either stylus controls or the standard DS controls is a nice touch as well.

The 3D rendered look of the game works better in some areas than others. While villages have a sharp and detailed look to them, characters and some landscapes look a bit drab and uninspiring at times. The same can be said of the enemies in the game. The smaller monsters sometimes look a touch odd and void of detail, whereas the larger monsters you face off will often look extremely well drawn and animate quite smoothly. There's also a little hiccup in the game's frame rate when the area your in has to rotate around in order to offer a more accessible perspective for your characters, normally happening inside villages and towns. It's still a solid visual experience, but one that you can't help but feel might have benefited more from a hand drawn 2D presentation.

If there's one thing that can be said about the musical score of Glory of Heracles, it's that there's plenty of variety. You'll hear tunes of all different musical styles and melodies throughout the adventure. Many of the tracks are catchy and certainly fit the mood of the game, but there are a few uninspiring tracks along the way that tend to somewhat dilute the overall presentation. It probably doesn't help that the game's musical score starts off quite impressively and then tends to become a bit watered down in later parts of the game. Certainly not a bad musical effort, just not quite as memorable as you'll likely be expecting after experiencing the game's impressive musical beginning.

Conclusion

The unique Greek theme portrayed in Glory of Heracles does introduce some interesting storyline twists throughout the adventure and the many gameplay variations used in the combat system certainly give the game a deep level of playability not seen in many DS RPGs to date. Despite the sluggish pacing of the game at times, the overall quest is enjoyable and one that should keep RPG fans interested, at least long enough to finish the 25+ hour quest. Of course those looking for something a bit more streamlined might find the increased amount of micromanaging of the playable characters a little tedious. At the very least, Glory of Heracles is yet another enjoyable title to add to the ever-increasing DS line of RPGS and that's certainly not a bad thing.

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Game Trailer

Here is the official launch trailer for the brand new DS RPG "Glory of Heracles"

User Comments (27)

ReZon

#2

ReZon said:

I'm passing on this one. I was interested to see how it was going to be received in NA, and while I enjoy a good RPG, something about the style of GoH just doesn't appeal to me.

(and @Koto - agreed. I love the DS a lot for this reason. It's like SNES days all over again!)

CanisWolfred

#3

CanisWolfred said:

Unique stetting(compared to most JRPGs that come out in the U.S.), a deep and strategic battle system, good length, and engaging story are all pluses in my book. The fetch quests and sluggish pace sounds like it'll hold it back a little, but it's still high on my list of priorities.

Also, I like the artwork in this game. Very pretty, but not too overdone.

pixelman

#4

pixelman said:

I've been playing this all afternoon. I love it so much. Now, time to read the review and see why it's only a 7. >_>

Edit: I've only played it for two and a half hours, but I agree with you on most points. I think the visuals are bringing the game down a bit for me. The overworld looks kinda crappy IMO, but I love love LOVE the battle system and the equipment. The story's pretty interesting too.

CorbsAdmin

#7

Corbs said:

Well considering how terrible I am at coming up with the taglines, I'm just thankful I could think of something halfway catchy. :P

WolfRamHeart

#8

WolfRamHeart said:

Hmm, it still sounds like a good game but I am going to pass on it for now. I'm glad that I read this review before I made my purchase. I'll just pick it up later on when it drops in price. Maybe I will just get Sands of Destruction instead. Thanks for the review Corbie!

pixelman

#9

pixelman said:

Shouldn't it be Heraclean? :P

@WolfRamHeart: I was thinking of waiting to buy it too, but I decided to take a chance and I've been having a blast with it. :3

motang

#10

motang said:

Around the same score and thoughts of GameTrailers.com. I am going to wait a little while before getting this one (need to finish Choro Trigger first ;) ).

@Koto Yes it does seem that way, no complaints here.

CorbsAdmin

#12

Corbs said:

micro·man·age (mī′krō man′ij)
transitive verb micromanaged ·aged, micromanaging ·ag·ing

to manage or control very closely, as by making decisions about even the smallest details, often so as to be regarded as acting inefficiently or counterproductively

Rhansley64

#15

Rhansley64 said:

Well at least we know Corbie likes Sand of Destruction more then Glory Of Heracles, well to be fair i'll buy both in the near future even do from far away i did like Sands of destruction more then Glory of Heracles since it was a 2-GiG game, i'm more concerned if these games well be successful.

pixelman

#16

pixelman said:

Yay, I get to post this again!

"A seven is not average in our eyes. This game will sport a few areas where the game is blatantly let down to the detriment of its overall quality and enjoyment, but it is NOT average. A seven is still a recommendation, but you might want to consider what we thought let the game down and decide for yourself if it would bother you before buying." - NL Scoring Policy.

CorbsAdmin

#17

Corbs said:

Both games were good, I just felt like Sands of Destruction had a better flow and a more efficient combat system. I also liked the story in Sands a tad more.

JayArr

#18

JayArr said:

This games been on my must buy list. This review confirms it for me even more. Nice read, Corbie.

WolfRamHeart

#19

WolfRamHeart said:

Thanks pixelman, I appreciate your imput on the game. I'll definitely be getting Glory of Heracles and Sands of Destruction sometime in the near future. For the time being, I have my hands full with Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes.:)

Bananahh

#20

Bananahh said:

I might pass on this one. I'm going to wait for the next Shin Megami Tensei or something along the lines of TWEWY or Devils Survivor.

Frog

#21

Frog said:

Great review.

Like others before it; I won't be picking up this game due to lack of funds and time.

odd69

#22

odd69 said:

Thank you Corbie, i was very curious about this title. Man you sure have been reviewing alot of Ds games lately. Your thumbs must be blistering LOL

suburban_sensei

#24

suburban_sensei said:

@EggMeister Yeah, I don't know how a score of a 7 would translate to GoH being a bad game. IMO, when I really care about a score, usually below a 5 is when you should probably just pass. A 7 is decent, and this looks like darn good RPG.

ninji

#25

ninji said:

:O I love micromanaging rpg's!! its like driving a car with a shift stick. it always makes me feel im driving the car for real. I think micromanaging is more efficient. Healing in hotels, bla bla bla..death or gameover repeats are time wasters. being strategic on attacks with each member of your team and the order of it...its a preparation , i guess i get a thrill from it. im gonna get this for sure.

Cowmansr

#26

Cowmansr said:

I understand the thought that a seven is a bad score, even if that's not the intent of a seven. Typically I don't have funds or time to bother with games under 8 even if they interest me. Usually I end up pretty disappointed with anything with a lower score than 8. And I think that for something as lengthy as an RPG I might require a 9. Of course I do take the review into consideration, and will make exceptions to this policy, especially if other reviewers really loved a game.

Mikarlo

#27

Mikarlo said:

I actually bought GoH last week when I went up to GameStop to buy SoD...but they had sold the only copy of SoD they received. (Really? Why send 1 copy of a new release? But, anyway...) I am actually very pleased with GoH and do not regret my fortune one bit! Yes, the gameplay is a little different than what we're use to, but then, I think I like it more because it's different.

I do plan on getting SoD too at some point, but GoH will hold me over just fine till I can find SoD!

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