Sunday, October 25, 2009

Half-Minute Hero is a really fast and frenetic RPG. No, wait, let me start this all over again. Half-Minute Hero is a pretty good real-time strategy game, and, no, no, no. Damn, scratch that intro, too, let me try this just one more time. Half-Minute Hero is an awesome shooter, and aww shucks, the hell with this! Half-Minute Hero is a damn good game, period, and to stick it into any one category wouldn’t do this magnificent title justice. How is this even possible, you ask? Surely, it must fit into SOME category, and it does, I guess, but one that I’ve never even SEEN before in all my years of gaming. And that’s the RPG/RTS/Shooter/Escort Mission/Racing genre, combining four different types of games into one solid package, making it one of the best PSP games to date.

To call this game original is an understatement. There are a total of three different quests, really (With another, Knight and Wizard escort mission, action game tacked on for good measure that you have to earn), where your primary goal for each of them is to beat the level in as short a time period as possible, and no more than 30-seconds total. Seriously, I kid you not. There are actually RPG segments that I completed in under 20 seconds, leveling up with every single random battle that I fought until I got to a point where I could actually defeat some of the many humorous bosses in only one hit. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper RPG without help from other characters, and that’s where the Time Goddess comes in, who replenishes your clock so you can save the world…but for a price, of course (Believe me, a time goddess who charges you so you can save the world isn’t even the quirkiest thing about this game).

But where are my manners? I’ve already launched into one of the many different quests in Half-Minute Hero without even warning you in advance, as I’m already talking about the RPG portion of the game right now. The thing is though, as vastly different as each genre is outside of this game, INSIDE of it, they all somehow snuggly fit together as one total package, making it feel like the RTS portion (More on that in a second) is just as easy to pick up and play as the RPG section, and just as easy to pick up and play as the shooter section. Seriously, Half-Minute Hero is a title for those who can’t stand RPGS or RTS games, as it’s so quick and simple that it goes beyond the plodding parts that so many twitch happy gamers are loathe to play through. On that same token, though, it’s also a game where people who love these respective genres will adore this game, too, as it’s both quirky and hardcore enough that you just can’t help BUT love its silly, outlandish ways. The RPG portion of this game is great all by itself, and it would be worth the price of admission just for that great, albeit short, quest on its own.

But it’s not on its own, as next up is the RTS section, which is actually, in my opinion, the weakest segment of the game as a whole but still great all the same. Unlike the RPG section, where, even in its quick format, you still fall madly in love with it, the RTS section may be a little TOO simple for its own good. You are offered a circle in which you perform spells in and you shoot out creatures with projectiles techniques, brute strength, and magic. As a whole, it’s effective, but even at only thirty seconds, it still seems a bit slow to me. It took awhile for me to get into it, but the further I got, the more fun it got, too. Again, it’s good, but definitely the weakest of the initial three games that you’re offered.

The shooting segment is by far my favorite in the whole package though. In it, you play a princess with a crossbow who has to get all kinds of different herbs, spices, and apples as a panacea for her father, the King. It’s a wild goose chase that is much more fun than it actually should be. And finally, there are the escort missions, which have to be earned. These segments are fun, too, as you fight off baddies during a timer/ But as wild as the other three games are, it actually doesn’t stand out as much as them and it’s a tad bit disappointing in the long run.

So, besides the slightly dull escort missions, and the good but not great, RTS quest, this game is perfect, right? Well, not exactly, as I have one MAJOR quibble with it that sort of sets it back, and really, it’s not really the game’s fault, but actually, more like mine. Well, being such a quick paced game, the one thing that suffers the most in it is the storyline, and that’s a MAJOR point with me for any game—the story. But the Catch-22 here, though, is that the storyline is actually REALLY good, as it’s funny and off-the-wall enough to keep you laughing all the way through. So, what the hell’s the problem then, Rich? Well, the problem is, that being such a quick and fast-paced game, often times, all I wanted to do was jump right into battle and not read the storyline at all. But on the same token, I wanted to read the storyline, too, just to giggle every so often and stay in the know with what my next task was. And thus came my conundrum of, should I just press start and bypass the great dialogue, or should I sit and read it all when I really just want to get to blasting or running into things ? My gaming fingers were so CONFUSED.

But that’s really small potatoes in the great scheme of things with this excellent game (And I haven’t even MENTIONED the great music, or the vintage, taking-it-back, 8-bit graphics that make this game distinctly reminiscent of past games and unique in its own right, too). Half-Minute Hero is SO good that it almost makes me believe in the PSP again as a viable handheld system. Almost, I say. It doesn’t matter if you like RPGs more than RTS games, or shooters more than action titles. Pick this game up if you have a heart on for good dialogue and fun. You won’t be disappointed. This game freaking rocks.

Players:1 player (Ad Hoc)(2-4 Players)
Platform: PSP
Developer: Marvelous Entertainment
Publisher: XSEED Games
Rating: Four and a half stars

A clip from the game:

No comments: