reviews\ Feb 16, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Glory of Heracles - NDS - Review

The Glory of Heracles franchise has been a long-running one in Japan, with the first entry landing on the Famicom way back in 1987. However, the series has never seen release outside of that country until now. Courtesy of Nintendo, Glory of Heracles is now available for the Nintendo DS (the game was released in Japan back in 2008).

The game is a different approach from most traditional RPG settings in that it has you playing through Greek mythology, with locations like Mt. Olympus and characters like Achilles factoring into the plot. However, while that’s where the differences lay Glory of Heracles is as traditional as they come for RPGs. The game features the standard mechanics genre, and the whole experience seldom presents much of a challenge. The storyline has the same clichéd elements of other games, and the gameplay isn’t anything new or special. Glory of Heracles has an intriguing setting, but ultimately flubs the opportunity with a lame story and boring gameplay elements.

In Glory of Heracles, you play as a young man with amnesia that is made to believe that he is the legendary Heracles. However, there is another man claiming to be Heracles as well. To complicate things you find that you are an immortal, and are soon accompanied by other immortals with amnesia. The story is pretty clichéd and the dialogue is also pretty lame, so it’s difficult to really get heavily invested in the characters and the plot.

The game’s combat is fairly run-of-the-mill. Your characters are able to perform the standard attacks and use special skills in battle. The one area where the combat sets itself apart is the ether system. Ether powers all of your magical abilities and it is elementally based, so using spells of a certain element will deplete that specific type of ether. Once your ether for that element has been exhausted, you’ll incur some penalties should you try to use it. Therefore you’ll have to be careful when using certain spell types over and over again, and you’ll have to use overkills, attacks to a dead enemy, in order to gain ether, and provides some amount of strategy to the generally simplistic combat.

Players can also boost their magic abilities through in-battle mini-games that take advantage of the stylus and touch screen. These are fun for a little while and add an interesting element to the combat, but they grow repetitive before too long.

Additionally, the game has an autopilot feature that will let players have the game fight the battles for them. This is definitely a move for RPG newcomers, but anyone with a pedestrian knowledge of RPGs should find the regular mechanics pretty easy to grasp, making the autopilot mode a somewhat superfluous addition. The game’s ease makes it so that you can play through it on autopilot for a significant portion of it, which is also a downer.

When it comes to the actual meat of the gameplay, Glory of Heracles does the job in a workhorse manner. None of the mechanics are poorly executed, they’re just not terribly interesting. The game’s ease and completely linear nature (there is a noticeable dearth of side content and missions) make it one that isn’t all that fun to play through. Still, the experience is far from short-lived, so players can expect to put around 30 hours in if they stick with it. Additionally, the boss fights are among the best parts of the game, and these provide the most challenge due to the ether mechanic (running out can have dire consequences), but the experience is uneven and pretty easy throughout.

Graphically, Glory of Heracles is a pretty good looking game. The environments are colorful and bright, and the character models boast a nice cel-shaded quality that adds to the cartoony aesthetic, and are pretty well animated. While the special effects aren’t quite as visually interesting as those in the Final Fantasy remakes on the DS, they still get the job done. The sound is mostly forgettable, with a decent but not outstanding musical score and some average effects.

Glory of Heracles is not a bad RPG, it’s just not a terribly good one. The story is pretty bland and clichéd, and the gameplay is traditional to a fault, with little in the way of innovation. While the game doesn’t do anything badly, there are still much better Nintendo DS RPGs for your money.

Review Scoring Details for Glory of Heracles

Gameplay: 6.5
A traditional experience, Glory of Heracles doesn’t really bring anything new or original to the table. The whole experience is far too easy, with only boss fights presenting any real sort of challenge. Overall, a pretty bland RPG experience.

Graphics: 7.5
The game looks pretty solid, with nice looking cel-shaded character models and bright, colorful environments.

Sound: 6.0
The music is pretty basic, and doesn’t standout against other RPG soundtracks on the DS, and the sound effects are average.

Difficulty: Easy

Concept: 6.0
Aside from the Greek mythology setting, the story is riddled with cliché elements and doesn’t do much to stand out.

Overall: 6.5
Glory of Heracles is a workhorse RPG that doesn’t do much to stand out against far superior RPGs on the system. The story is uninteresting, the gameplay is bland, and the whole affair is far too easy.

Above Average

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