There was a time when RPG’s were simple and easy. Nowadays it seems that RPG’s get lost in trying to alter the formula or present a new way to for players to experience a new world. Some franchises have been success with this endeavor, such as The Elder Scrolls and The Witcher, but most of the time these project lose sight on what truly important. Heroes of Steel is as classic as they come in terms of Role-Playing games and nothing new, flashy, or unnecessary has been forced into the game. It contains a top down play style that brings a sense of nostalgia, back to the days of table top RPG’s like Dungeons and Dragons. The gameplay contains the same feelings, with movement, skills, and talents being the center of the combat. Although taking an extremely classic feel, Heroes of Steel has sacrificed other aspects that have done wonders in other franchises. Before we get there, let’s jump right into the lives of the Heroes of Steel.
Heroes of Steel follows the journey of 4 courageous heroes, each having been imprisoned by an evil ruler. United through their escape, the game wastes no time jumping right into the thick of things. Fighting is imminent and the heroes narrowly slide through the castle and into secret cavern that the mage had been caught in earlier. After a long and brutal dungeon like brawl, the heroes finally make there way to a near by village. Unfortunately this town has been under siege by the ratkin, the vary creatures that made your trip a living hell. From there the game opens up a little bit. The Heroes are free to go to shops and accept new quests from various NPC’s around the town. In addition, as the heroes make there way to new areas new main missions are added to the agenda. For example, the main quest for the sieged city is to kill the ratkin shaman hidden in the cave to discourage his minions from continuing the assault. Overall, however, the overarching mission is to destroy the evil that is being spread by the evil ruler, and when the time comes killing him yourself. Although the story isn’t in itself bad, it quickly becomes slightly annoying through the long dialogue portions and the bland characters. The dialogue i can get over, but the bad character design is obnoxious. Each class behaves exactly the way you would expect. The warrior is brave, the wizard is smart, the rogue is cunning, and the paladin acts like the pope. Each character is extremely cookie-cutter to the point that its distracting, and seemingly lazy by the developers. There is little depth to the characters, but honestly there is enough substance to the game it give you a small degree of importance and meaning. Overall, a decent story with bad characters.
Heroes of Steel truly shines when the Gameplays gets going. Set up like a table top RPG, Heroes of Steel relies heavily on combat rather than other elements. Although quests are given with the intent to make you explore the world, it truly feels like there are simply segways to more fighting. However, I was okay with that. To continue the Dungeons and Dragons’ like formula, the combat is divided into enemy phases and hero phases where each character and enemy is given a specific amount of points that can be put into different actions. For example, moving one square takes one points, but a normal attacks can take up to 3 depending on the weapon. Although seeming tedious, it is actually a really fun, and nostalgic, way to force players to think ahead and plan out their phase. In addition, learned “talents” can be used to smite down enemies. These talents tend to be more powerful than a traditional attack, but add a whole other aspect to the combat. Since these skills take away mana it forces the player to manage their mana potions between the characters, and correctly balance which characters should be using what moves based on how much mana is diminished (Yes it gets difficult). In a sense it boils down to giving the characters mana for attacks, or giving the healer mana for heals. The same goes for the health portion, considering the healer character doesn’t always have the mana, so it there is a bit of freedom if you want to go for the big hits. This resource management again put great depth into the combat. Another fun aspect of the combat is the extreme difficulty embedded in every interaction. Enemies take hits and deal serious damage, which translates to every encounter being important and challenging, which is an aspect of the game that I really appreciate and truly enjoy. It’s nice that they were able to pull of “Difficult” without being obnoxious. To tell the truth, being a huge DnD fan, I easily fell right into the combat of Heroes of Steel and truly enjoyed it all the way through. The pleasantly surprising amount of depth that has been put into the combat is extremely enjoyable and would be easily enjoyed by anyone with any history of Tabletop RPG’s or classic videogame RPG’s.
In combat, the game is given a classic feel, which works brilliantly with the throw back nostalgia that the game offers. Unfortunately another big issue rears its head every time dialogue comes up. Like many RPG’s bigger pictures of the characters pop up when they are speaking, and most of the time it works fine. However, the drawings used for the character are unproportional, awkward, and incomplete. This may seem a little harsh, but it’s not undeserved considering dialogue takes up many encounters and battle sequences. As for the music, it is repetitive but nice. Nothing is particularly catch, but it will help you get from one place to another without the awkward silence. Heroes of Steel doesn’t offer anything special in terms of presentations, but luckily the gameplay supports the whole project.
It is also fair to note that there isn’t a setting menu, but I feel the limited graphics justify the missing charts.
Overall Heroes of Steel is an extremely nostalgic and excellent adventure. Many hours will be spent pushing back ratkin and slaying corrupt knights. Sadly, the rest of the game doesn’t follow the combat, which leaves the story bland and the presentation lacking. Keep in mind that what Heroes of Steel does do right is fantastic, and in my opinion worth $12 on steam.
If you would like to enjoy the marvelous combat RPG that is Heroes of Steel, pick it up right here on Steam.