Bionicle Heroes Review

Coming off of the atrocious console version of Bionicle Heroes, I was admittedly not expecting much of the DS iteration. But to my surprise, Heroes was actually a solid portable FPS in the mold of Metroid Prime: Hunters. Thanks to the developer’s ability to play to the game’s strong points and the ability to make it significantly different from the console game, Heroes is a fun game — provided you can look past its problems.

As mentioned, Heroes has quite a bit in common with Hunters, starting with the control scheme. While an all-button setup is available, the preferable way to blow your enemies to smithereens is by handling your character’s running forwards, backwards and strafing with either the directional pad or the face buttons (depending upon your handedness), and aiming with the stylus. The trigger on your movement-side (left for righties, and vice versa) doubles as your firing button and to activate your elemental power. It works extremely well for a portable FPS, but you’ll definitely need to spend a few minutes tweaking the sensitivity before you begin playing. My only gripe is that depending upon how you hold the stylus, your hand may block off part of the touch screen, which doubles as a radar. Given that there are no other on-screen indications of where you’re being shot from, this can become an issue when you find yourself surrounded by enemies.

What the game boils down to, once you look past things control-wise, is a run-of-the-mill FPS. Venturing through a series of levels, you’ll fight enemies in an attempt to find the seemingly arbitrary end to levels, à la Doom. Overall, the levels are quite linear but the environments are typically large enough to sustain your interest, and coupled with the inclusion of secrets which are hidden throughout each level, Heroes‘ level design can be praised for its nice variety.

Heroes is a fairly straightforward experience in terms of overall gameplay mechanics — there aren’t any intricate puzzles to solve or anything of the sort. In fact, the only times that require you to deviate from the normal running-and-gunning are the occasional instances where you need to make use of your elemental power. An icon will flash on-screen when you need to accomplish something such as repairing a doorway, which is in turn taken care of by a simple button press. Not exactly rocket science.

But, considering that your average FPS doesn’t consist of many puzzles, this isn’t meant to knock on Heroes. The action is fairly fun and is the major focal point of the game. However, it can become extremely repetitive due to the lack of variation among enemies and the few weapons you have access to. You need to spend a few hours with the game before you’ll have access to most of the weapons, and by then you’ll want to stick with the newer weapons since the first wave will have been used to death. Compounding this problem is the fact that, throughout the game, the enemies are generally the same few types used over and over. And considering how unimaginably easy the game is (when you die, you respawn in the same spot without losing any of your progress), you’ll be able to dash through levels, letting you see those same few baddies again and again.

Luckily, the developers didn’t feel it necessary to focus on the story at all, which is wonderful news, considering how shallow the backstory is. With the exception of a very short briefing prior to each level, the story is effectively nonexistent. That might be a turn-off for some, but the potential story probably would have been more of a nag than anything else.

Technically speaking, Heroes isn’t going to win any awards. The environments often share many of the same textures throughout, and consequently you’ll find yourself in rooms that look identical to others you’ve previously visited. The repetitive character models wouldn’t have been such a problem had they not looked so generic and boring. Oh no, look out for that yellow spider…again.

You’ll more than likely find yourself reaching to turn the sound off after a few minutes of play. Like so much else in Heroes, the music and sound effects (especially those of weapons) are fairly repetitious and annoying. The problem with weapons is that there is never any difference between one shot and another, so firing becomes a sort of monotonous symphony of bleeps.

Ultimately, I was pleasantly surprised to find Bionicle Heroes to be such a fun game. For all of its repetition, you’ll still find yourself wanting to go forward to see what sort of new heroes you’ll unlock, or doubling back in hopes of finding all of its secrets. Whether you’re a Bionicle fan or not, Heroes is certainly a fun title that most anyone can pick up and enjoy.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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