Final Notes: 3D Dot Game Heroes

I forced myself through the endgame of 3D Dot Game Heroes and came out the other side with all my extremities more or less intact. The last few hours I spent with the game were the exact opposite of fun, and all thanks to the terrible boss fights. The final dungeon is essentially a string of re-fights with souped-up versions of all the bosses, and this is where I had the most trouble. I just cannot fathom why the bosses are designed the way they are. They’re either too hard or too boring, and never fun.

That’s not entirely true, I suppose. The final two bosses, which you fight one right after the other, were actually pretty decent. I used up three bottles of potion to get through them, but you kind of expect that from the final boss, right? My only gripe here is that the first fight requires a lot of mana, and your mana isn’t restored upon dying and reloading like your health is. If you lose the fight and restart you have to either walk six screens away to stay at the inn, or you have to zone in and out of the dungeon breaking pots and hoping for green apples.

I’ve played the games 3D Dot Game Heroes is trying to ape, you know. I’ve done my time with the original Legend of Zelda and Dragon Warrior. Those games don’t have boss fights like this. Zelda is full of cheap hits and obscure methods of attack, but no single enemy in the game requires more than a few successful hits to kill. Getting a bomb down Dodongo’s throat takes some finesse, but you don’t have to do it twenty times. Gleeok fills the screen with fireballs and unkillable floating heads, but win or lose the fight is only about a minute long.

If a boss in Dragon Warrior is giving you trouble, you either switch up your buffs and debuffs, or you go out and grind levels. Neither of these options work in Dot Heroes. You can grind gold, I guess, in order to upgrade your sword… but one hit negates your awesome upgraded sword instantly and you’re back to whatever stupid flaccid thing you were equipped with instead. There is a sword that doesn’t power down when you lose health, but — surprise! — it happens to be the one sword that’s actually missable. There are two ways to get it: 1) use a walkthrough, or 2) talk to every single NPC in the entire game after every single plot event.

Please note: if you get this particular sword “without cheating” it does not mean you’re better than the rest of us. It just means you have a lot more free time. So don’t look so smug.

I started my New Game +, but I know I’m not going to finish it. The game starts you with all your gold, but that’s it. That sword I sunk all that time into upgrading? Gone. I’m told that once I find it again my upgrades will still be there, but what good does it do me if I can’t get it until four dungeons in? What’s the point of New Game + if not to demolish the beginning of the game with all your endgame toys?

I gave the game three stars on my Backloggery. I feel that was probably generous.

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1 comment to Final Notes: 3D Dot Game Heroes

  • Nicola Nomali

    I don’t know if it was worse when games ignored New Game +, or if it’s worse now that they feature it but only in some run-down form that completely misses the point.

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