Early 3D Dot Game Heroes Impressions

It should only take an instant for a gamer seeing this for the first time to recognize the influence behind 3D Dot Game Heroes. For better or worse, this game is a 3D version of the original Legend of Zelda with elements of A Link to the Past mixed in, pixels and all. As a fan of the Zelda series, watching the trailer for 3D Dot Game Heroes was the moment that made me say, “I want a Playstation 3.”

If you are looking for a ‘new-retro’ Legend of Zelda game, this is it. Graphically, 3D Dot Game Heroes takes the 8-bit pixelated look and fleshes it out into 3D to create extremely striking visuals. In motion, everything seems to move like the original Legend of Zelda did, too. Even with the horsepower driving the visuals, the game still manages to capture the 8-bit charm.

The graphics aren’t the only element to be taken from the Legend of Zelda series. 3D Dot Game Heroes tows the line very closely between homage and plagiarism when it comes to its music, story and gameplay. Tweak a few notes here and there and you probably match the 3D Dot Game Heroes overworld theme with the Legend of Zelda theme. The story revolves around collecting key items from a certain number of temples, another common Zelda trope. As a game, this plays essentially like A Link to the Past. Besides your trusty sword, there are a number of items and weapons that will appear all to familiar to Zelda players.

I’m only on the second temple, so I can’t go too into detail about specifics. I can say though that the first temple is fun, but the second temple so far is notably more difficult than the first. Also, to save yourself some time, buy a candle before you enter that second temple. You’ll thank me later.

There are bound to be Nintendo fans who will hate this game on principle. They’re definitely entitled to their opinion and those who feel that this is simply a Legend of Zelda rip-off may not be too far from the truth. So far, I feel like the intent of the creators was to make a game that pays tribute to Zelda and other classic video games, but I’m not sure it does enough to stand out as its own thing. I will have more detailed impressions on In Third Person in the coming days. Till then, I think I can safely say that any Legend of Zelda fan looking to play a ‘new-retro’ Zelda should at least check it out.

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