Jul 11, 2013

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Class of Heroes II Review

CoH2_English

Back in 2009, a role-playing dungeon crawler called Class of Heroes was released for Sony’s PlayStation Portable. Though it didn’t receive stellar reviews, it did offer a good experience for dungeon crawling fans. Thanks to Monkeypawgames and Gajinworks, we finally are able to get our hands on the second entry in the series. One can only wonder if Class of Heroes II has done its homework and studied enough to pass the final exam. Or if this title might need to attend summer school.

If you played the first one, then you will have some understanding about the premise behind Class of Heroes II. You control a party of academy students who explore dungeons as they try to complete quests and learn more about your fellow classmates and teachers. As you unlock more quests and paths, you can visit the other two academies which host their own set of quests and classes. It is easy to see that the game puts more focus on the gameplay and difficulty than of the story. But this isn’t always a bad thing.

Class of Heroes II‘s story isn’t overly complicated, which I felt to be a good thing. You start out as a new student to Crostini Academy. Olive, a fellow student, greets you and offers to show you around the campus as well as explain some of the features within the game. Progressing the story is as simple as completing key quests found on the board in the library. However, you will want to be careful when deciding which quests to finish and when, as completing certain quests will cancel any open quests you have.

Creating a party member (or group of party members) requires some knowledge in what class, race, and affinity you want to go with. While Class of Heroes II does offer a group of preset characters to use, players are better off creating a couple of classes that aren’t in use in the preset party. Having the right party members is helpful when traversing the dungeons, though they can still be brutal. Quests have a rating on how difficult they can be. However, I did find some to be a tad misleading as they came off as tougher than some of the higher difficulty ones. Death is a given as you come across enemies who are either stronger than you or outnumber you. Luckily, you are able to bring a second party into the dungeon where your first one was defeated. Experience and gold gained from encounters are increased from the amount in the first title, which was something that I had disliked in that game. Leveling up is easier and much needed, as it is how you unlock class- and race-specific skills.

Pop Idol Battle Menu

Though this entry has done away with the use of randomizing the dungeon layout each time you visit, the dungeons can still throw you for a loop when you first arrive. There are some traps that can zap you while others prevent you from using magic. You also need to keep a bearing on your sense of direction as there will be times that you will step on tiles that change the direction you are facing. Another factor that plays an important role in the difficulty of traversing the dungeons is managing your resources. With a limited amount of space and numerous alchemy items dropped by monsters, it doesn’t take long to run out of space. You’ll want to keep a nice supply of health-restoring items as well as gather the materials needed to upgrade your weapons and armor.

Alchemy plays an important role in helping you to survive the dungeons. In Class of Heroes II, all you need to do is collect the materials needed to alchemize the items you want. You don’t have to purchase the recipes to create an item (though it is helpful). Gathering the items will usually be the hardest part in the alchemy process. It should be noted that there are some bugs related to alchemy that could cause some confusion (some recipes are swapped, for example). Luckily, Gajinworks is working on patching all known bugs at this time.

Moving on to how the combat works in Class of Heroes II, you will notice how quick battles can be if you know the right skills or attacks to use. Depending on which row your party member is located and the row of the enemy you wish to engage, you might have to rely on a magic skill or defend for that turn. Battles are handled in a turn-based fashion, with you choosing which action to perform and the row of enemies to act. Sometimes the enemies will be able to get the first attack or you could be lucky to scare them off/see them walk away from a battle. This can be good if you are trying to get through the dungeons as fast as you can. But it also proves to make things harder on you if you’re trying to get an item that a particular enemy drops that escapes from the battle.

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The graphics in Class of Heroes II have the usual anime style for character models and enemies. While each dungeon you’ll visit is unique in terms of map layouts and appearance, the graphics are not super crisp. Understandably, this is a PSP title and one that was originally released back in 2009 over in Japan. If you own both a Vita and PSP, it is better to play this on the Vita, as it does help to improve the looks of the graphics. Those who put a lot of value into having the best graphics available or those who are not fond of the anime style will likely be turned off by the graphics of Class of Heroes II. Which I feel is a shame, because the game does look better than some other titles I’ve seen and played on the PSP.

The music in Class of Heroes II is limited to towns and menus. When you’re going through the dungeons, it appears that the music is gone in order to allow for players to hear the telltale sounds of enemies lurking nearby and other ambient noises. This might not bother those who usually turn down or mute the game’s sound in order to listen to other music or the television. Prefer having voice actors speak their lines so you don’t have to read the text? You’ll be disappointed to know that there are no voiced lines in this game. I didn’t feel like it hurt the game much, however.

Expect to put an average of 60 to 70 hours into Class of Heroes II in order to beat the game. Some might spend more time than that, leveling up their characters and completing all the quests. You might not feel the need to revisit the dungeons once you finish the game. However, some might want to replay it to try out different classes and party combinations.

Class of Heroes II might not come off as appealing to those who aren’t into first-person dungeon crawlers, but fans will find something to love. If you played the first entry and were turned off by its issues, Class of Heroes II does fix some of the more annoying ones. This PSP title is definitely worth purchasing if you’re a fan. For newcomers, you might want to borrow or rent a copy to see if the difficulty level is something you can get used to.

Class of Heroes II
Platform: PSP
Genre: RPG, First Person Dungeon Crawler
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Developer: Zerodiv
Publisher: MonkeyPaw Games, Gajinworks
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
MSRP: $24.99


8.5
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About Elizabeth Burnette

Traversing the world of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Catch me on Twitter @TheLiztress and on the PS3 at The_Liztress