Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar
In a world where a great evil arrives every 177 years, three heroes are sent out on a quest to locate a long lost artifact. Unfortunately, the trio doesn’t really know much about this “Artifact of the Ancients” they were sent to retrieve. With time quickly running out, they stumble upon the artifact and believe that they have saved the day, but in reality this is just the start of their adventure.
If you enjoy role playing games with combat, looting and item crafting, but detest all the trudging around and talking to clueless NPCs you’ll get a kick out of Heroes & Legends. The game streamlines the role playing formula down to its core elements, so you will be spending your time predominantly slaying the extensive line-up of enemies that stands between you and your goals.
The game is split into fifteen levels, each of which sees you squaring off against multiple groups of foes. You can only have three party members at most, selectable from the total of five which you ultimately have access to. During combat, heroes and monsters take turns automatically attacking each other based on their speed stats. Your input is limited to dragging a hero to where you want them to be in the line-up and activating their special abilities at the right time. Abilities take time to recharge, but can make the difference between victory and defeat. More powerful abilities take longer to recharge and the countdown timers are frozen when the character is not actively engaging an enemy, so don’t think you can have anyone sitting on the sidelines and just recharging their abilities.
You only fight three monsters at a time and when they are all vanquished the next group appears. If a character dies in battle, they can only be revived by using a potion from your inventory. However, your inventory can only hold a maximum of five items and these depend on what is dropped by defeated foes. The quality of the items is based on the combined luck of your characters, so if you push all your stats into strength or defense you won’t be seeing many quality weapons or shields appearing. If you don’t use or equip an item in your inventory the bottom item drops off as new ones appear at the top. This means you can’t hoard potions for bosses which can make some battles rather tricky.
If your party is wiped out or you defeat all the enemies on a level you return to the map screen. Here you can break unwanted items left over in your inventory into raw materials which can be crafted into new weapons or armor. You can also upgrade the armor of your heroes or equip new abilities that are unlocked from leveling up. You can equip up to five abilities per character and have to choose between offensive or defensive skills. Finally, there are events that pop-up randomly on the map, which can influence your stats or inventory. These usually just boil down to a choice between two things, helping a blacksmith that is being robbed by sacrificing your own equipment in return for strength or doing nothing for example. Even worse is that sometimes both choices are detrimental to your party, so I mostly skipped them after a while. If the story levels are too hard you can also take part in random battles to gain more experience, so if you are not into grinding the game can become a little repetitive.
Only characters who actually kill enemies gain experience, so you can use your powerful characters to whittle down an enemy’s health and then position a weaker character to deliver the killing blow and reap the rewards. When you level up you get to select one stat to boost which can be anything from strength and charisma to luck or health. Because new characters are only introduced after a few levels I found myself sticking with the original three instead of attempting to grind the newcomers to acceptable levels. Even so I had to take part in quite a few optional battles just to gather enough resources to craft the higher tier armors for my characters in order to stand a fighting chance.
The 2-D visuals in Heroes & Legends are quite nice with decent characters and imaginative enemy designs. Included with the game is a bestiary of all the enemies you encounter, which is a nice touch and quite humorous. As much as I liked the designs though, the animations are rather sparse. This obviously speeds up the combat, but a couple of more animations would have really added to the polish. As it is, the static backgrounds and stiff animations can make the game look and feel a bit like it is aimed more at mobile devices than powerful computers. The story sections are told via static screens and text, but once again the artwork is really good, if somewhat lacking in variety. While there is no speech the audio is decent enough with some nice tunes. Once again, more variety when it came to the audio tracks would have been nice, but I enjoyed the ones that were on offer and never felt the urge to mute anything which is always a good sign.
All in all it took me just over ten hours to complete the main story and afterwards I also spent a few hours on the optional challenge mode. Challenge mode is a nice bonus where you start with level one characters and then take on enemies that are grouped into categories, such as creatures, titans, magicians, terrors etc. Each category you defeat unlocks the next, so if you like the combat in the game this mode can keep you busy for quite a while.
While there are a couple of things that could have been improved, I enjoyed Heroes & Legends enough to stick with it right to the end. Since the focus is purely on combat the game can get somewhat repetitive, but thankfully there is enough strategic depth to keep it interesting. The crafting system is nice, but by boosting the luck stats of your characters it’s possible to get everything you need during a battle. If you are looking for a traditional role playing game then Heroes & Legends is probably not going to rock your world, but if you want a role playing experience where you can jump in and out without getting lost or wasting time then give this game a shot.
- OS: Windows XP
- Processor: AMD Phenom 9750 orPentium D 800+
- Graphics: 512 MB
- Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
- OS: Windows XP or later
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo orAMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+
- Graphics: 1 GB
- Hard Drive: 300 MB available space