Atlus recently did a demonstration presentation allowing the press to get an up-close look at 3D Dot Game Heroes, From Software’s homage to classic action RPGs. Gamertell was able to take part, and get a close up look at 3D Dot Game Heroes‘ character editor, introduction and one of the game’s dungeons. It’s going to be a pretty affordable PS3 game when it comes out, costing only $39.99.
In the beginning of the demo, Atlus’ Aram Jabbari showed us the character editor. The controls seemed very user friendly, as he managed to put together a simple character in about five minutes. Each custom character has six basic images, called stand, walk 1, walk 2, hurray, attack 1 and attack 2. He started with stand, and created a basic image. (A floating smiley face in this case.) When creating a character you can use seven colors, and there’s a pretty wide selection of colors to choose the seven you’ll use from. Once you’ve finished making the basic stand image, you can copy that image to the other five positions and then tweak those to reflect walking stances, a victory pose and attacking appearances.
If you don’t feel like making your own character, Aram confirmed that there are many default character designs included with the game, so you can just use what’s available. You can also use other people’s character designs though, as character data can be saved, transferred to USBs and saved online. There’s no way to share via PS3 to PS3, but Atlus will have a character data exchange hub site created for 3D Dot Game Heroes to make it easier to share custom creations. Also, Aram confirmed that Japanese character data will be compatible with the US version of the game, so you may want to check some Japanese 3D Dot Game Hero fan sites for characters.
With the smiling custom character, named SLAYER, all set, Aram began the game. It’s here that he mentioned that 3D Dot Game Heroes can offer 20-30 hours of play time, if you factor in side quests, the Block Defense, Blockout and Dash Circuit mini-games and replaying the game on the From or Spelunker modes. From Mode is basically a hard mode, and the description that appeared on screen when it was highlighted was, “Your heart may break.” Aram went with the Normal Mode for the demo presentation.
The game begins in a 2D kingdom that was once troubled by an evil dark lord named Onyx who used an orb to terrorize everyone and try to control everything. Do evil things and such. A legendary hero stepped up to defeat him and bring peace to the land. Not everything was well in Dotnia though, as citizens kept leaving. So, the king declared it to be the era of 3D and Dotnia was transformed into a 3D land. The legendary hero then returned, and placed his sword in a forest near the castle so if a future hero needed it, it would be ready.
The game then shifts to the present day, where SLAYER has just woken up and is talking to a woman about how monsters are appearing more frequently. Well, SLAYER doesn’t talk – he’s more of a traditional silent protagonist, but the woman does a lot of talking. A guard then comes in and says the king wants to meet with SLAYER. SLAYER heads to the audience chamber, where the king informs him that the dark bishop Fuelle is trying to resurrect Onyx and you must collect the six orbs and visit the six sages to save Dotnia and the world. But first he has to get the legendary sword.
SLAYER then leaves the castle and heads to the forest with the sword, which is conveniently next to the castle. He slays some monsterous bunny creatures and defeats two hopping statue guardians. Then, he can approach the ancient sword, which has been left in a pedestal in the forest. He’s easily able to pull it, and can then set out to show he is capable of following in the footsteps of the legendary hero.
An interesting thing to note is how the swords worked in the demo. When Aram was controlling the legendary hero and putting the sword in the forest, the sword was larger, powered up and had the ability to go through objects like trees. However, when SLAYER had the sword it was smaller and less powerful. It turns out the sword is only at it’s largest and best when the character is at full health, and even then it must be powered up at the blacksmith before it can reach epic states. So screenshots and videos from 3D Dot Game Heroes where you see a humongous sword aren’t typical. They’re the result of a lot of hard work and playing.
Aram then loaded up a different save file showing one of the later dungeons in 3D Dot Game Heroes. This save also demonstrated the From Mode difficulty level. From the short look at it, it seems like From Mode is filled with more monsters that are much more lethal. He briefly went through an already completed dungeon, showing off a puzzle where you push a block to reach a treasure. He then warped to the boss room via a warp point and chose to fight the boss, a large, rocklike snake, again. (All bosses are replayable in 3D Dot Game Heroes.) While the boss was intimidating, it’s weakness was its flashing tail and Aram managed to dispose of it before it disposed of him. It was close though, as SLAYER was down to half an apple of health and the warning beeps were going off.
An interesting thing to note is that From Software worked to improve 3D Dot Game Heroes for the North American release. An install option was added, and while Aram didn’t know the exact size, he did state that it didn’t take too long to install to the PS3 and was probably only a couple of gbs in size. It also made quite a difference, as loading screens during the demonstration were incredibly brief. From Software and Atlus have also included the Japanese DLC tower defense stages on the game disc.
Loading screens are also quite interesting in 3D Dot Game Heroes, as each one is a parody and homage to old video game box art. There’s around 100 of them, and From Software made new loading screens based on classic North American video game box art as a special treat for players. From Software added a loading screen gallery for the NA version as well, so yay for us!
Aram also confirmed that there will be trophies in the final version of 3D Dot Game Heroes for players to collect. That and the desire to collect all the loading screen images will probably help add to the replay value.
The only downside was, aside from a conversation with a cat, the demonstration didn’t really show off 3D Dot Heroes‘ script. The Japanese version’s script was supposed to be really funny and filled with jokes about classic games. Aram did confirm that the Atlus editors worked hard to make sure the inside jokes were retained and the charm would still shine through.
3D Dot Game Heroes makes its grand entrance on May 11, 2010 if you’re in North America. If you’re in Europe, then there’s good news! Atlus and South Peak are working together to arrange a simultaneous release so it should be out in Europe on May 11 as well.
Site [3D Dot Game Heroes]