Renaissance Heroes Review

Overpowered losing buffs and overpriced cash shop items overshadow Renaissance Heroes' simple pleasures.

Renaissance Heroes presents a vision of a world where the bulk of Leonardo da Vinci's unfinished inventions didn't fade away into obscurity for centuries, but rather found their way into the hands of steroid-powered Spanish knights and assassins disguised as harem girls. Humorously enough, its paper-thin narrative drive also rests on the recovery of a world-changing project that the Tuscan master never finished. (Indeed, it supposedly killed him.) And so, in the bloodthirsty spirit of the Italian Renaissance, the harem girls and the knights riddle each other with bullets and bash each other's head in with clubs in this team-based multiplayer shooter, all in the hopes of being the first to retrieve the blueprints for the lost project. If it weren't for several regrettable design decisions, Renaissance Heroes could have evoked the joy of no-frills first-person shooter arena games in the vein of Quake and Unreal Tournament.

Have fun storming the castle!

Much of the game's appeal lies in its Renaissance setting, which reveals a deep affection for the subject matter. In da Vinci's atelier, for instance, you dodge crossbow bolts and bullets beneath the massive, unfinished bronze horse da Vinci designed for the duke of Milan; in the library, looking up from the carnage rewards you with a view of da Vinci's famed flying device suspended above the shelves. That same affection for the theme extends to the characters and weapons. The eight playable characters, with their own small bonuses to melee or ranged weapons, walk an agreeable line between cool and outlandish, featuring everything from dandified Medici courtiers to resurrected knights from the Crusades 400 years before.

It's a shame, then, that Renaissance Heroes initially locks you into the first character you select. Only later does it inform you that unlocking a new character costs almost $10, although it alleviates the sting of this requirement somewhat by providing new character slots as some of the rewards for logging in daily. It's worth taking advantage of the slots, since it's fun to experience the different ways each character battles through this early modern wonderland. Loadouts feature four modifiable weapons with styles that meet somewhere between authentic da Vinci and unabashed steampunk.

Thankfully, it's usually just as fun to use the weapons as it is to look at them, particularly when you find yourself cycling through hefty blunderbusses and crossbows with a flick of your mouse's scrollwheel, along with lugging out limited-use special weapons that could pass for siege cannons. Unfortunately, the balance is off at times. Take the grinder. Because of its high accuracy rating and high rate of fire, it's not uncommon to see entire teams lugging them around. Elsewhere, headshots from the crossbows used by the dancer Aisha can drop even veteran players, and plentiful ammo recharge points--there's no reloading--mean that the little bombs that stand in for grenades sometimes fall like rain, even with a limit of two per character.

Who knew that guns were so prevalent during the Renaissance?

To developer ChangYou's credit, Renaissance Heroes' unique sprinting mechanic mitigates the grenade threat since you can use grenades and melee weapons only while running. This mechanic is awkward at first, but the availability of a practice room (and a needlessly plodding tutorial) eases you into the inevitably clumsy transition. After a few rounds, switching to melee while sprinting is as fluid as switching between the weapons in your ranged arsenal.

All this unfolds in a generally satisfying offering of six gameplay modes that hinge on reaching either 100 kills or a set time limit, even though the highly limited maps for each mode grows tiresome. The modes include old standbys like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill, and Capture the Flag (or Scrolls here), as well as less standard options like a 20-point one-on-one duel round. The most fun of all is TouchDown, which sends you charging through a ruined Greek castle to reach a goal on the opposing team's side. In short, there's little here that gets in the way of the simple--and slightly outdated--pleasure of hunting down up to six enemy players on the small but well-designed maps, and scattered power-ups for armor, health, and ammo allow even the lowest-ranked players to hold their own against veterans.

Oddly enough, it's that spirit of accommodation that chips the paint off the otherwise pleasing fresco of Renaissance Heroes. If you've been performing horribly--dying multiple times without scoring a kill--you trigger an absurdly powerful rage mode that grants massive boosts to your ammo, health, and power. The intent is to help balance out the matches (and possibly discourage camping), but it does so a little too well. You might trigger the rage mode and use it to score a dozen kills in a matter of seconds. It rewards playing poorly, and thus many players disable the option when creating matches.

The library is open, so prepare to be read.

The cash shop, meanwhile, leans towards the "pay to win" perspective, because it offers multiple cosmetic gear bundles for $70 that provide small bonuses to the character that matches the gear. An outfit for the Middle Eastern assassin Aisha, for example, yields a rage meter that fills faster, as well as a larger hitbox on enemy players for headshots. The upgrades are slight (although they add up), and you can hold your own against players ranked 20 levels higher with well-placed headshots and careful use of the environment for cover. Virtually all of the items you can purchase with cash you can also acquire by hoarding the in-game currency; the difference is that most cash items are permanent, whereas most weapons and stat gear are rented with in-game money, and are therefore only temporary. If you have the patience to hoard gold, however, you can unlock the permanent versions.

Renaissance Heroes is fun, but it's simple fun that gains most of its strength from its unusual aesthetic. Strip it of that, and it feels like any given arena FPS from the 1990s. But if you're just looking for a simple, fun twitch-based shooter with just enough thematic differences to distinguish it from its countless contemporary military counterparts, you'll find it does its job well enough to warrant a download. Whether or not you stick around will depend on your tolerance for a balancing mechanic that turns sorry players into gods and a cash shop that grants in-game bonuses--however small--to players willing to fork out the cash for them.

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The Good
Wonderfully realized fantasy Renaissance aesthetic
Unique sprinting mechanic
Fun deathmatch-focused gameplay with decent mode variety
Scattered boosts in each level help balance gameplay
The Bad
Rage mode is extraordinarily overpowered
Locks you into one character without warning you
Cash shop items grant boosts that affect gameplay
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Leif Johnson (pronounced "Layf") is a freelance writer whose works have appeared on GameSpot, IGN, PC Gamer, Official Xb
45 comments
ahztek666
ahztek666

This game is bottom of the barrel, utter shit. I played one match and then uninstalled. A pathetic rip-off of Quake III and UT, but manages to destroy anything that made those games great. The movement is slow, the hit detection is ridiculous, it takes about an hour to kill a person (exaggeration, obviously) and you can only melee while sprinting! What a joke, ill take my Blacklight thanks.. At least that is a well balanced, finely tuned game that plays as it should, plus no P2W.

starduke
starduke

Well, I must say, any PVP game that has even a hint of P2W gets a no play from me.

sdleader
sdleader

This game gave me starting issues with their Xtrap LAN something error. It was very, very annoying and apparently there was no working fix for it since January! I wasted my bandwidth to download the broken game. I tried their solutions, and it didn't work for me. I rate this game 0/10.

Poinciana
Poinciana

Muslims are going to go in a up-roar with this game, lol. Aisha was one of the wives of Mohammad. She was 7 years old when he had sex with her.

EternalAbraxas
EternalAbraxas

The game isn't bad. But even if it's a P2W game, people who played UT and/or Quake (and were skilled in those games) can easly win even against the ones who pay. And for the "RAGE" calling it overpowered ye could be true, but it's made to mantain the K/D ratio for noob players. I played many hours (without paying ofc) and noobs with rage are nothing special. And skilled players will never get rage or rarely will. All in all it's a nice game, can't match UT or Quake but its free and the Renaissance/Steampunk environment is pretty well done.

FreedomPrime
FreedomPrime

Just play unreal tournament. people still play it and it's way better then this shit.

wavelength121
wavelength121

first Mech Warrior Online, won't stand for it here either

keech
keech

Yet another game that shows developers and publishers can't be trusted with micro-transactions.

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

Nice HUD! Shitty microtransaction format. Some of these companies could make so much more money just making a regular full featured game and just charge $40 for it. Worked for Test Drive Unlimited.

ElfShotTheFood
ElfShotTheFood

Ironically, if this was $20 and it didn't cost real money to acquire upgrades I'd buy it, since I'm a huge fan of Unreal Tournament and Quake III and this game looks a lot like those.

Sushiglutton
Sushiglutton

Standard gameplay+shitty business practices = pass

alien33
alien33

Boycott this game and its real cash shop bulls**t

Shaolinstylez
Shaolinstylez

I remember when they used to make mods even better than this for half life and they were completely free. Times are changing.

ArataWata
ArataWata

Played it, hated it, just play Quake Live instead.

jeivindr
jeivindr

The library is open? Are you quoting RuPaul?

xlord121
xlord121

Even if there are a ton of new FTP crap on the market people need to stop staying the future is just FTP and Pay-2-Win

There are plenty FTP games like blacklight retribution, planitside 2, LOL, DOTA 2, team fortress 2 + even Star Wars mmo is a good singleplayer game plus HEAPS MORE


And i dont think companies like Valve, Cd projekt, insane amounts of indie devs are going to go FTP entirely or ever make it Pay-2-win if they do

cbxero
cbxero

This pretty much epitomizes what is wrong with the Pay To Win model. I would never spend a dime on this type of crap.

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

Renaissance Heroes even with all the bad still > or = to Xbox 1

EKGProd
EKGProd

The future of video gaming. Everything is Free to Play and Pay to Win. Microtransactions will replace owning a full game for one reasonable price, and games will no longer be designed around being fun, but around creating as many revenue streams as possible by gating important content behind pay walls and forcing you to cough up cash to stay competitive. 

Nice future. Not one I want to be apart of. 

uglypinkmoose
uglypinkmoose

Yeah getting owned by people who payed for power is pretty ridiculous... why even play!

sidestalk89
sidestalk89

I loved this gamed till I hit lvl 10... That's when the pay to win features kicked in and i uninstalled.

ShimmeringSword
ShimmeringSword

@wavelength121 I've been playing MWO since closed beta and I've yet to see anything you can purchase with cash that boosts your in game stats. Unless paint is somehow p2w , because paint is the only thing I buy and I'm tough to beat. I don't even play flavor mechs.

Moegitto
Moegitto

@ArataWata For $10 Steam is selling the Unreal pack anyway, you'll get almost all the Unreal games.

rahl247
rahl247

@EKGProd i dont pay for nothen if it seems that by not paying and its not balanced then i stop playen. i been playen dota 2 and have yet bought anythen and win most times after i learned the game

kalgert123
kalgert123

@EKGProd You're thinking it wrong

Free to play that do such a thing are considered the "F2P that has gone wrong", while there are still plenty of F2P games that have the microtransactions but serve more as a way to skip grinding or gives a cosmetic item, and I can count a few

Star Wars the Old Republic (Limited access but it's still good, you don't need to spend much to "win" at the game, most of the stuff there are just silly stuff), Warframe (Microtransactions serve as a "Pay money to skip massive grind" which I think is legitimate, getting a new suit of armor takes a long time), League of Legends (Cosmetics), Tribes Ascend (Different weapons but it's still a grind-cutter choice), Firefall (Cosmetic stuff just as well)

So basically don't judge that the whole future of F2P is gonna be "Oh you got to spend moneys to progress the game! :( ", because that is for the companies that did it wrong

For example Blacklight-something, that game introduced a few over the top weapons that made me uninstall it faster than you can say "Don't Starve's soundtrack is awesome", for example a ninja sword that was pretty much a speed-hack and a 1-shot killer, don't know if they nerfed it but I am not coming back to that game anytime soon, because that is one example of a F2P shooter that has gone wrong with the merchandise

While for the companies that do it right, they will offer xp/point boosts, cosmetic items and a possible grind-cutter offer to their microtransaction store, so don't lose hope that it's all gonna be "You got to pay moneys to get content :( ", the only place you can say that for is if you're playing an MMO, besides wouldn't it be odd that you could have all the content in that MMO without paying a dime? They need to make money somehow

StealthHimself
StealthHimself

@EKGProd Absolutely agree with everything said. This is sadly the direction the industry will go when profit margins massively trumps every other priority.

jeffpno
jeffpno

@EKGProd mind blown! so true bud so true. first sentence says it all.

kalgert123
kalgert123

@feared4power Tribes Ascend, League of Legends, Star Wars the Old Republic, Firefall, Warframe

Do I need to go on?

kpolicoff
kpolicoff

@feared4power Try Star Trek Online... it's FTP, and there's a ton of fantastic new content in the new release that's totally free. I'm having a blast!

oyvgi77
oyvgi77

@wtfineedaname @Poinciana You might want to learn some English before you post, lol.

Eraldus
Eraldus

@Lhomity @EKGProd I think that I've saw you come up with that stupid tin foil comeback at least three times already...

That guy nailed it pretty accurately, and only a naive person wouldn't agree...

ShimmeringSword
ShimmeringSword

@FreedomPrime You play the game regularly? Are you good at it? I play regularly and from my non-paying (aside from paint) perspective none of the cash only mechs are better, most are down right worse.

Go ahead and name a cash mech that is good, I'll name a cbill mech that is better.

RAD_RADIO
RAD_RADIO

@feared4power @kalgert123 Tribe and LoL are pay to win? Not even in the slightest. You can't even buy the game-play boosts (runes) with real money in LoL.
As far as I know people to 'pay' with tribes get a couple exclusive weapons and some cosmetic stuff (along with EXP boosts) and the weapons are by no means going to make you automatically win. It's all skill.

Renaissance Heroes More Info

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  • First Released
    released
    • PC
    Renaissance Heroes is an online multiplayer first-person shooter game set in 16th-century Renaissance Europe.
    5.5
    Average Rating23 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Renaissance Heroes
    Developed by:
    Bridea
    Published by:
    Gamefuse, ChangYou
    Genre(s):
    Team-Based, Shooter, First-Person, Action, 3D
    Theme(s):
    Historic