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Heroes War

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

(A war featuring more than one hero)

Product: Heroes War | Publisher: Com2uS | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, RPG, Strategy | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.3.8
Heroes War iPhone, thumbnail 1
This is a freemium game review, in which we give our impressions immediately after booting a game up, again after three days, and finally after seven days. That's what the strange sub-headings are all about. Click on the links to jump straight to day three and day seven.

Heroes War is a name that will set many a writer's teeth on edge.

Either this is a game about a war containing more than one hero, in which case the title works but reads awkwardly, or it's supposed to be called Hero's War - or even Heroes' War - but the developer doesn't have a firm grasp of apostrophes.

As for the game itself, that's something you and I will explore together over the next week, as I check in with you every few days to reveal whether or not I'm having any fun.

First impressions

Okay, Heroes War, it turns out that what you're offering is, in a way, a war of many heroes. I still don't like the title, but it does at least make sense.

But I'm not sure that the gameplay makes any sense.

Heroes War is the Active Time Battle of the modern Final Fantasy games, without the emphasis on plot to join the fights up. There are still story beats, played out in lifeless text between missions, but it's all very skippable.

There's also no need to womble around a lovingly crafted universe - you just choose which mission you want to go on next, enter a scrap, and come out the other side.

For me, a large part of the fun of role-playing games is exploring a hand-crafted universe. Hitting an enemy with a sword and watching him bleed numbers is all very well, but I want to feel like I'm inhabiting the world, and not just doing sums in it.

It's also basic in terms of presentation. Attack visuals lack impact, character models are okay but don't move with any real sophistication, and the music is forgettable electro-tinged urban stuff. The sound effects are wonderful, though, and add heft to each blow you land.

Day 3: Squall about the money

It's only when you get into the rhythm of Heroes War that the payment walls start to become noticeable.

IAPs explained
24,000 Gold will cost you £1.49 / $1.99, and you'll get 60 NeoStones for the same amount. You'll get a fair amount of upgrades or energy refills for that, or you can splash out on recruiting a new character.

The best value comes from the Starter Package, though. 69p / 99c nets you 30 NeoStones, 20,000 gold, ten keys, and 50 Recovery Potions. That's a bargain, and well worth grabbing if you're still enjoying the game after half an hour of play.
For one thing, each of your characters has a finite amount of Energy. This recharges over time, but since each battle you join takes a portion of energy as payment for access, it's quickly used up. So if you're keen to keep playing, you'll fork out cash to recharge your characters.

Each character can be allocated equipment, too, and again there's an economy here. Items should be upgraded whenever possible so that you deal maximum damage and feel as invulnerable as possible, but it'll cost you Gold to do so.

You can find new equipment in dungeon runs that feature multiple consecutive battles, but there's a cooldown period before you can try running them again.

These dungeons also work on a risk and reward system - the more battles you fight before taking the prize, the better the prize becomes, but fail to complete the run and you lose everything.

I'm enjoying the numbers game a bit more than I thought I would, which is a bonus. I especially like the grind of levelling-up characters so that they become more powerful, as the process flows well.

However, I'm still craving a bit more story than I'm getting.

Day 7: The quest continues

After a week I've given up on the story and instead sunk my teeth into the fast-paced combat and the enjoyable battle grind for experience and loot.

The turn-based combat is gradually opening up and exposing its intricacies. As your characters increase in level they gain special attacks, such as strikes that absorb health, poison enemies, slow movement speeds, and so on.

Using this arsenal effectively in tough battles is paramount to success, but you can also spam the standard attack for encounters where you're over-levelled.

Alternatively, if you're confident you'll win a scrap, and you've beaten it once before, you can press the fast-forward button at the bottom right of the screen. This plays out the fight automatically, allowing you to power through stages for more goodies and XP.

I've spent 69p / 99c on the Starter Package, and it's probably one of the best value IAPs I've made in a freemium game.

It's allowed me to seriously buff my party's equipment and purchase more characters for my team, which has extended the amount of time I can play the game significantly since the energy required to enter a battle is per hero.

I've focused on the single-player content, as I always tend to with this type of game, but there's a decent PvP offering here too. You can fight friends or strangers, though you'll always see the same character types used over and over, since there aren't too many on offer yet.

Thug dude, bow lady, invisible bloke, wolf monster - the game needs a few more options in this department, as when you take things online you find your party isn't all that unique.

Heroes War turned out to be a very pleasant surprise, then, both in terms of grammatical accuracy and gameplay. If you favour stories over swordfights then you're out of luck, as the plot here is stretched thin. But if you relish battles - and especially if you enjoyed games like Unlimited Saga on PlayStation 2 - then this is one for you.

How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below.
Heroes War
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 16 August 2013
Ignore the dull plot and iffy visuals, and you'll find a straightforward RPG that revels in its simple but satisfying battle mechanics
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