Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming (PC) Review

By Javier Jimenez 05.05.2014 2

Review for Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming on PC

The sequel of sequels is here. The game the world didn't know it was waiting for. The return of the messiah. The most brilliant, the freshest, and the most entertaining tongue-in-cheek satire of console RPGs ever created. That's right, there's only 30 seconds to save the world and that must mean... wait for it... it's Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming. Is it great, or is it fantastic, or is it fantastic and great?

Before passing judgement, let's talk about what Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming (herein referred to as HMH2) is and is not. HMH2 is a full blown sequel to the Hero 30 mode of the original Half-Minute Hero. It does not contain sequels to any of the other modes in HMH, such as Evil Lord 30 or Knight 30. That means no shoot 'em ups, no escort quests mashed up with a sort of lite tower defense kind of gameplay, and nothing else except 30 seconds to run around a map, smashing into monsters, gaining levels and gold, and defeating the evil creature at the end of the map.

Which is good, because that was the best part of HMH.

It's the best part of HMH2, as well. HMH2 is more than that, though. It has gone beyond its predecessor's self contained, disconnected maps. There is now an overworld which can be traveled back and forth across. There are vehicles to enter and a castle to build. There are side-quests. There are many more cut-scenes and a much denser story.

Screenshot for Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming on PC

That is to say that HMH2 has become a full blown epic RPG with all the features one expects of such a game. Castle building is one example, allowing the player to gather together followers, shopkeepers and the like. Optional characters are another example, sprinkled throughout the world just like a Final Fantasy game. However, this expansion of the game's scope may actually be the game's biggest misstep.

Let's be clear here. The core gameplay of HMH2 is as exciting, entertaining, and fun as ever. The concept of a 30 second timer is a brilliant one, highly motivating, and challenging. The player must formulate an intelligent plan of attack to meet all of the goals of a given scenario within the limited time frame and with the limited resources contained in said scenario. Routes must be planned exactly and gold for the Time Goddess farmed efficiently.

Unfortunately, HMH2's expanded story takes up far more of the player's time than HMH did. This is a full blown 20 hour epic with cut-scenes that take several minutes (which can be fast forwarded by pressing the start button). That's more time than the player will spend completing any given scenario. It's also several minutes of mundane dialogue between the excitement of one 30 second doom bringing mega-turtle and the next 30 second earthshattering demon devil horse.

Screenshot for Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming on PC

In a game built on the concept of fast, tense fun, the decision to bring everything to a dead halt for far too long, time and time again, is questionable at best. It doesn't help that the story and dialogue are too often tedious, not as funny as the original game, rarely achieving the intended feeling of a full blown RPG. Worse, HMH2's story has gone from the satirical but sincere tone of the original, in which the gameplay and story conventions of RPGs were played upon, to a drearily serious "epic" tone, complete with the hero going through terse, disillusioned, pessimistic phase.

In short, the expanded story of Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming is not what anyone wanted from the series. Sadly, many of the other additions to the game fall into this same category. The most egregious is the overworld, which lacks compelling content aside from a "global dungeon" (read: mini-dungeon) now and then. That makes it another unwanted speed bump between exciting missions.

Screenshot for Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming on PC

This all probably sounds negative. That's because it is. It's an extended criticism of the major flaws that interfere with enjoyment of the solid core gameplay. However, when the game gets out of its own way, it is still the fast paced, unique little RPG that everyone loved. It's still got rocking music. There are still interesting secrets and items hidden away in its maps. There are still two titles (read: achievements) to be obsessed over and found in every scenario.

It's obvious that a lot of time and effort was put into the product, as well. There are many new sprites, all done in a style that is more detailed than the original HMH, though less detailed than the hand drawn style of the original's Steam re-release. There are many different gameplay modes besides the very meaty story, including time attack, multiplayer battle, and infinite battle. There's even a map editor.

All said, that makes Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming, a solid game, if not a perfect one.

Screenshot for Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Creativity should not be stifled in the pursuit of greater gameplay and better software. Missteps are not to be derided, lamented, or regretted. They are lessons to be learned, experiences to be had, from which better ideas and products will spring. A world without experiments and attempts at something more would be a dry, boring, grey and brown military shooter world.

Sometimes not every idea needs to go in the bucket, though. There is something to be said for a painfully exact aesthetic when it comes to engineering. K.I.S.S. is an engineering motto precisely because keeping it simple is the best way to build something great. Start with a solid foundation then add to it with great thought and care.

Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming is a tricky game to review and recommend because it is both good and bad. There are some great parts and some dreary parts. Not every fan of the original will enjoy the additions the sequel brings to the table. Yet, ultimately, anyone who loved the original owes it to themselves to try this new game just in case they will. It's a decision that shouldn't take more than 30 second to make.

Also, everyone should look into Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy on Steam, the best version of the original's Hero 30 mode.

Developer

Opus

Publisher

Marvelous

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I really liked the original and the additions to this sequel don't sound too bad to me. I'd be far more worried if the core gameplay was messed with, which thankfully isn't the case. Might get it on Steam eventually.

I should mention that if you own the original on Steam, the sequel is discounted to $15, or the equivalent in UK playdough.

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