3D Dot Game Heroes Hands-On

We slay bunnies and other foul beasts in From Software's upcoming 3D adventure game.

43 Comments

Some of you may take a quick glance at 3D Dot Game Heroes and have words like "rip-off" or "clone" spring to mind. While the game may remind you of classic action adventure games that may or may not involve a nameless boy armed with a sword and boomerang, 3D Dot Game Heroes is an homage or, as publisher Atlus put it, "a love letter" to the memorable retro games of the past. There's no denying that the gameplay is all too familiar--that everything to the world, music, and story is something that has been done before--but it's never been done quite this way.

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3D Dot Game Heroes doesn't take itself seriously. You can tell immediately by the storytelling and the dialogue when you chat with non-player characters that are scattered throughout the world. As the hero that is destined to save the kingdom of Dotnia, you must seek out six sages and their respective orbs to protect the kingdom from evil. The colorful world of Dotnia was in 2D 8-bit, but the king felt that 2D was boring, and it was time to enter a new era--one in 3D. So now, you're exploring a 3D world from an isometric perspective as a pixilated 3D hero.

Your hero can be customized, pixel by pixel. Several templates are available to choose from, but if you want to play as an animated golf ball, you can, or you can play as a tree stump, depending on your preferences. As long as you have the patience and know how to piece the little blocks together into a cohesive shape that resembles something, then you can save the world of Dotnia as Donkey Kong if you like. You'll have to create six templates, one for standing, a couple for the walking or attacking animations, and another that is labeled "hurray," which is essentially your victory pose. Regardless of who or what you decide to play as, there are enough references to other games for you to feel that wave of nostalgia, especially during loading screens, which been have redone for the North America version to include familiar games.

Like certain games of the past, you're directed to one dungeon after the other and must trek across the map to find the entrance. Once inside, you're breaking pots, avoiding traps, and slaying skeletons or scorpions all to find little keys that will ultimately lead you to an even bigger key that will lead you to the final boss, which guards a sage or orb or both. You'll also come across new weapons on your adventures, like a boomerang, and even though we didn't quite finish the third dungeon, it was obvious with all the pillars outside that there will be some sort of chain or whiplike device to help you travel across gaps.

Villages located throughout the world give you an opportunity to rest or purchase items like healing potions, bombs, or additional arrows. Inns are conveniently located near temples so that you can set your revival points. Otherwise, you'll be bumped back to the king's palace, which is smack-dab in the middle of the map. If you die when you're in a dungeon, however, you'll just start again from the entrance and your progress will have been saved. Your health and magic will also be full again.

Lawn mowing has never been easier.
Lawn mowing has never been easier.

Cracks that you find in walls or outside should always been blown away by bombs because you'll never know what you might find. Healing pools, free money, and other stuff could be hidden for you to discover. We stumbled across the From cave, where the NPCs inside had some amusing things to say about From Software's previous game, Demon's Souls. Most of the time, NPCs don't offer anything useful in regards to your quest. For example, we interrupted a guy who was urinating by a tree and peed on himself, which was good for a few laughs, so it's worth talking to everyone just to see what they have to say.

3D Dot Game Heroes may not be visually impressive when compared to other fully animated 3D games out there, but it's done well. Water effects and depth of field have also been added to make the pixilated characters pop out. It's fun to listen closely to the melodies and sound effects as well, because you may find some key tunes or noises that will take you back. Look for 3D Dot Game Heroes when it is released exclusively for the PlayStation 3 on May 11.

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EQShaman

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39.99, suck it EA

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NightlyOne

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Demon's Souls was a GREAT game. I'm also an avid Zelda fan. Since this game is also being made by Atlus/From Software, it's easily become my most anticipated game.

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termadoyle

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meh.

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Schwarte

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I so want this. Videogame nostalgia ftw.

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ahpuck

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If you are going to rip off a game to make another, may as well rip one that is known for excellence through out the years. the 39.99 price is icing on the cake.

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xolivierx

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The game looks awesome. Finally the kind of game I miss, with good graphics. I just read from people's comment that it's by the people that created Demons' Soul, meaning there is a fair amount of chance this game is going to rock!!!!!!!!!!!! Bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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juden41

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This game is going to rock. Week one purchase for sure. Day one if I can.

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Grandstream

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Yes, it does look like a Zelda ripoff. But I imagine a return to classic style when it comes to RPGs is just what PS3 needs to bolster itself. And if Atlus/From Software can mesh together another successful title like Demon's Souls with this studio, then the PS3's exclusitivity isn't entirely lost concerning RPGs.

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payne6705

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it is such a blatant rip off of zelda games. Yet I HAVE to get it. It looks so good and plus its made by the guys who did demon's souls it has to be a day one purchase for me.

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Ansgarr

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ME WANT!!

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elusivemelody

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er... @uglypinkmoose haha nice. lol i used a * instead of a @ the first time.

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elusivemelody

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*uglypinkmoose haha nice

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uglypinkmoose

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@elusivemelody lol i set myself up for that big time ;D

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awyoung

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@Sophia: but you can still say "Lego" to refer to the collection of products or to imply something is made of the company's products. I was kidding anyway about not watching. Thanks for the preview.

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elusivemelody

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@uglypinkmoose That's what she said :D

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WllDan7

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This game is to zelda as dantes inferno is to god of war. This just seems like a 3d dot rip off to me.

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whatevawhateva

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HOLY CRAP!!! Now I've got to spend 100$ on games on may 11... I'll be glad to.

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uglypinkmoose

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it better be long and large for 40 bucks

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Dualmask

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Interesting. This sounds like it might be kind of fun.

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nuwaynuway

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looking forward to this 3d Ze$$da game :)

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darkfall_225

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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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BigStik

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damn, wish it were on 360 as well

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diegocancun

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Any realtionship with The Legend of Zelda (the first one) is pure coincidence. :P

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piratedrunk

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speedracer You can share them! you will be able to download them from several places including the games website. So stoked this is my most anticipated game for the rest of the year

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valientman

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looks pretty cool

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cuchikapoor

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Love the way how the pixels break bit by bit when you kill an enemy

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acknowledge101

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looks super quirky and super fun. the "fun" part i'm actually surprised by myself, as these strange-type games usually have a tough time accomplishing that bit.

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Pink_Troglodyte

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@Sophia NO! Even that website is wrong. The proper pluralization is "legodes," the term lego being derived from the Greek "legous."

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Sophia

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@awyoung - actually we're both incorrect, there is no plural for lego. << LINK REMOVED >>

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Notebook_holder

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Woohoo Legend of Z----- (gets brick thrown at head) I MEAN 3D Dot Game Did you really have to hit me with a brick :P this is going to be fun and funny

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awyoung

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I stopped listening when she said "LEGOS". It's Lego. Very excited about this game, however.

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speedracer216

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it would be cool if they let you share the characters you create with each other online - think Mii Channel

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hophiskillz

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gief!

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bloath

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so this is not going to be a downloadable game?

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freema

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@ ise1880 Are you sure you're not just speaking for the fanboys everywhere? Cause I sure smell a rat. In 2010 anybody who is a serious gamer owes it to himself/herself to own at least two modern game consoles. Otherwise you would just deprive yourself of hellofalotta great games!

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spellrunner

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I believe you can turn load times off, but then will not be able to view the nostalgic load screens.

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lozvil

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but this shouldn't have a loading time... :(

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GodsPoison

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May 11th, 40$, 3d dot game heroes, BUY IT!!!

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warrner11

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I am all over this goodness

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NaveedLife

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Loved Zelda, love FromSoftware, so I am sure I will be picking this up.

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ise1880

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I speak for everyone when I say, "I wish this was being released for XBLA"

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travicle

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I will take the opposing position in that debate. Bathroom humor is hilarious! Why? because everybody poops!

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mariostar0001

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Bathroom humor is really unnecessary. :x

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