PREVIEW: Hero’s Song


heros-song

Hero’s Song is developed and published by Pixelmage Games LLC. Their first Steam project and an Early Access to boot, I wanted to be understanding with it but for its asking price it doesn’t have nearly anything to show for it in terms of a clear set of objectives. Alas, it’s being developed by a team of gaming industry veterans so I think that once the game receives enough updates, it shall become quite fun.

Status: Early Access

Developer: Pixelmage Games

Publisher: Pixelmage Games

Genre: Roguelike Fantasy Action RPG

Release date: TBA

Type: Single-player, Local and online Multi-player, Local and Online Co-op

Gameplay

It is always difficult to properly judge an Early Access game since they get launched on Steam in a various degree of completion and there are more factors that need to be taken into account other than their seemingly polished or not state, at the time of writing about it. I gave Hero’s Song a fair chance and even a brief window of several days, waiting for it to show me more of its potential. Unfortunately, it failed. True, most randomly generated game worlds benefit from renewed sense of freedom, each time you set about exploring its areas, but you do need a solid backbone to build the story upon. A role playing game is in dire need of more than just characters and NPCs. It needs to encourage players to press on, explore, fight, trade and many other well established aspects that have made this genre, a crucial pillar within video gaming. A massive game world to explore feels excruciatingly boring not to mention empty, if all you can do so far is visit towns and dungeons that feel pretty much the same and wack your ax or sword at a few, equally repetitive creatures. Magic is present, as are the options of crafting items or trading with town merchants.

Character creation is extensive enough, having both visual customization and plenty of class choices. The system in which a character dies and can be replaced by another one who fills the former’s shoes fast, reminded me of ZombiU. So in-game death is most certainly not the end of your journey in this land shaped by the whims of several deities. Despite being able to create and populate the game world at will, the similarities it draws to Forgotten Realms’ own Faerûn, are striking indeed. Not focusing on a single narrative thread, is a double-edged sword at best. I’m really curious where the randomly generated worlds and open-ended nature of its storytelling, can take Hero’s Song and how far can it depart from this Early Access stage that’s definitely in need of further attention and guidance.

The game looks more than decent and it sounds like a role playing game should. After playing so many bland games in terms of audio quality, I was pleased that at least the sounds are in Hero’s Song favor. Speaking of the graphics, I suspect it uses a form of the Unity Engine, but surprisingly, it is the first time I’ve encountered frame rate drops from this engine’s assets. Nothing major but still noticeable. It’s a case of 2.5D with the characters being rendered into a 3D manner but the rest of the objects and scenery in a smoothly polished 2D. I really did appreciate it for not being yet another pixelated indie RPG. It looks most promising if you disregard the lack of proper objectives to follow. If only the cracks didn’t begin to emerge after a couple of hours of doing basically the same thing.

Pros

+ Pleasant graphics with randomly generated assets
+ Beautiful soundtrack
+ Steam Trading Cards (even if the store page doesn’t specify this)

Cons

– No proper storyline to support the sense of acomplishment
– Rare but unfortunate case of an overpriced Early Access
– No Steam Achievements

Result / Final thoughts

Its quirky nature, epic sound selection and even the old school style graphical details made me rethink my initial intention of not recommending this title. I simply cannot do that after witnessing the game’s progress through recent updates and I can safely assume that Hero’s Song shall be a noteworthy indie RPG once it receives a coherent storyline and enough quests to make its huge game worlds interesting to explore. Just wait a bit longer before buying it and definitely not at that price tag.

ChrisP Preview

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