Has-Been Heroes (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 07.04.2017 5

Review for Has-Been Heroes on PlayStation 4

There are many tales of legendary heroes accomplishing grand tasks and slaying monstrous demons in order to save the kingdoms or princesses. Through the many iterations, few manage to buck the trend of going the RPG route, and instead opt for something different and mildly unique. GameTrust's new game, Has-Been Heroes, goes down the path of a roguelike adventure, where the legendary heroes are called upon once more to begin the greatest adventure of all: take the king's twin daughters to school. However, the path is full of dangers and perils, and it will take many replays to conquer the evil.

This story centres around two of the aforementioned legendary heroes - the grand monk Metacles and the super-strong Crux - and Rogue, who aspires to become a legendary. This trio is tasked with escorting the twin princesses to school, but unbeknownst to them, the road is full of evil monsters. This basic premise is enough to get the ball rolling, and the roguelike journey begins.

Screenshot for Has-Been Heroes on PlayStation 4

The main battle screen is made up of three horizontal laneways, with each hero occupying the lane as an onslaught of enemies make their way to the heroes. The gameplay is similar to the traditional Plants vs. Zombies titles in this regard. However, when a hero makes their attack, the game pauses and allows for one of the other two heroes to switch lanes with the offending hero. This is useful for taking down enemies with very large health or stamina bars, and allows for double- and triple-teaming. Heroes have a circular icon that allows them to attack once it is filled, so keeping an eye on these is key to placing well-timed attacks and combinations.

The lower half of the screen is occupied by the abilities and items sections, alongside the map. The map is where the main movement through the game takes place. Made up of a series of randomly generated nodes that represent a new screen, they can be made up of different areas or battles that lead to the end boss of the stage. The navigation through the dungeon-like levels feels more akin to Odin Sphere. Along the way, treasure chests can be opened to unlock new items or gear, while paying merchants can unlock new abilities for the heroes to incorporate into their arsenal.

Screenshot for Has-Been Heroes on PlayStation 4

Abilities are the biggest game changers, and learning some of the more valuable ones can greatly reduce the overall difficulty of completing the stages. Early on, Has-Been Heroes can be brutally tough to get through. However, as the heroes collect the souls of the slain enemies, they are absorbed into a sphere, which, upon reaching the quota, unlocks new abilities and items that are thrown into the randomly generated pool of options for the subsequent runs. This is a useful gameplay technique, which allows for constant progression, even though the heroes have to start from the beginning with each death.

To further change the gameplay, every time a run has successfully made it through to the end, a new hero is unlocked for future use in the following runs. These heroes add new dimensions to the trio of heroes, and allow for flexibility in changing strategies and the like to ensure that each run feels as unique to the previous ones. On top of this, new environments and stages are also unlocked, allowing new stages to add to the individualised adventures.

Screenshot for Has-Been Heroes on PlayStation 4

The main gripe is that the battles overall feel like a lot has to come down to chance to succeed. While it takes time mastering the craft of switching the heroes between lanes, and combining abilities and attacks to conquer the enemies, the tide of battle can quickly turn with an overabundance of enemies that overwhelm the heroes through no fault of their own. While learning to meticulously defeat the larger enemies can make the remaining battles easier, sometimes getting overwhelmed early on can easily bring about a quick end to the run, and no strategy could have avoided that situation.

The other issue arises when finding an ability or item, the game does not offer any sort of way to see what they do before picking them up. This creates all sorts of issues when trying to decide which hero should pick up said items or abilities, which is further amplified by the inability to switch the items or abilities between the heroes. Therefore, if Rogue needed the item that increases her stamina bar, there is no way of knowing which item would do it until it has been picked up, which is aggravating and nothing short of annoying.

Screenshot for Has-Been Heroes on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Has-Been Heroes is a funny and charming title that blends the age-old tale of heroes embarking on an adventure with the humour of them escorting the princesses to school. This is a game where the heroes will die a lot, and the roguelike nature of constantly repeating the runs through the randomly generated stages is helped by the permanent ability and item unlocks that get thrown into the pool of choices for future runs. Unlock new heroes to further change up the three-hero line-up as they occupy a laneway each and battle waves upon waves of enemies in this unique, but highly frustrating adventure title. With most of the battles relying more on chance with the random generator, mixed with the high difficulty spikes of the boss battles, and the inability to see what the abilities and items do before assigning them to a hero, Has-Been Heroes falls short of being one of the more epic adventures of all time.

Developer

Frozenbyte

Publisher

GameTrust Games

Genre

Strategy

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

Good review, although you can see what each item does before buying it (providing that you've at least bought it once, so in the next run you'll see the description of what it does).

However i do agree with the difficulty spikes, its so frustrating to get to a boss only to get overwhelmed. It also really depends on the luck of the spell and items that you get. Regaining health is the hardest part!

Thanks for the feedback! True, provided you've bought it it'll tell you what the item does, though whether you get those abilities or items showing up in future runs to complement the combination of characters that you've gone in with relies on the luck of the draw, as you've said.

Also I didn't mention the frustration in regaining health, but that probably deserved a mention in there. Really, you may luck out with a health camp, though it could also be a camp that only refills the shields.

 

I returned the game after 6 days (theres a 7 day return policy) , I couldn't handle the randomness of the game. It's not so much skill as it is luck of the draw. That is not how I like my games to be.

I got the game half the retail price in Australia (promotion with buying the switch) and I still think it was over priced for what it is.I'd recommend to avoid this game until it's a few $'s or pounds in the bargain bin!

I agree with your statement of waiting for a price drop for this game considering that it feels more like an interactive journey that rests solely on the roll of a dice with the randomness of it all. It's like playing a board game where the characters will live or die by rolling a specific number, with no bearing on the player's skill level at all. 

In saying that, the concept was great and there is definitely a platform there to build upon.

Agreed, although maybe we are conditioned to how games are too easy these days.

The grind felt pointless to me though. At least in NES days the grinding was recognising the pattern and remember it (e.g. Where the enemies spawn)

The game can get overwhelming pretty quickly with the hoards of enemies. 

They could have just put in a 'difficulty option' to remedy this, they still could patch it in. Definitely would be interested in a sequel if this was sorted.

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