By Joe Sigadel / July 23rd, 2015
|Title||Class of Heroes 2G|
|Release Date||June 2, 2015|
|Genre||Dungeon Crawler, JRPG|
|Age Rating||Everyone 10+|
You think you had problems at school? Maybe you got some bad grades once in a while, but how about having monsters invade your class out of nowhere? Or being made to wander mazes to pick up odds and ends your teachers and fellow students asked you to get, knowing each step you take could be leading you closer to your demise? Where your exams consist of exploring ancient ruins, where if you open the wrong door, your entire party could fall to a deadly poison trap? Welcome to Class of Heroes 2G.
Class of Heroes 2G places you in an academy setting, where you are tasked with making a team of young intrepid adventurers. That’s right, the core curriculum at this school is going out into the wilderness, taking your lumps from nasty monsters out to kill you, and hopefully not getting lost in the labyrinths you’ll be traversing to meet an early end. Despite its squeaky clean, mostly family-friendly cutesy moe anime aesthetic, this game is not going to pull any punches on you. It’s not just inspired by tough Western-styled dungeon crawlers, it is one. It seems like an odd juxtaposition alongside a theme of attending classes, doing homework and taking exams. Yet one could say that playing Class of Heroes 2G is like attending the School of Hard Knocks for getting into this genre.
You start out with character creation, and the game provides you some pre-made toons to start you out with at level 2, to give you a headstart if you like. Or you could do what I did and make characters after your friends to see how long they last, with possible death awaiting them at every turn. The game has a nice variety of races to choose from, with humans being the most balanced and capable of just about anything. There are also demi-human characters that specialize in upfront combat, spellcasting, archery, you get the idea. So, for example, a Fairy character has high evasion and agility, but low stamina, making them ill-suited for front line combat, but very good at archery and picking locks. They also happen to die very easily because of their low health, so watch out! On the other side of the spectrum are Bahamun, who have very high strength and stamina, and I selected two of these to serve as warriors. They proved very effective with their Diablos Sword ability that strikes three times after taking a turn to charge. You’ll probably want to consult the game manual that’s available, both on Gaijinworks’ website and in-game by pressing the PS button on your Vita, for a couple of reasons. The manual lets you know what races and stats you will need to create what you want, and you can look at what the requirements are to make advanced classes.
You have a party of six to work with — three in the front and three in the back — so I recommend some strong upfront melee fighters, a sorcerer, an archer so that you don’t get caught off guard opening trapped chest, and possibly another sorcerer or puppeteer to balance it out. The Puppeteer is a support class that helps you by putting nasty debuffs on your enemies – provided you’re lucky enough to get them to work, because they failed a lot of the time for me. Sorcerers are invaluable to have, they possess great offensive potential and can heal, buff and debuff like there’s no tomorrow.
The labyrinths themselves are tricky to navigate, and the game will put in all kinds of nasty surprises to make your party’s life miserable. For example, early on in the Witch’s Woods, you have to contend with electrified floors and walls, with tiles that turn your party around in circles so you accidentally run into them and take damage, as well as place you on a “conveyor” so that you’ll end up somewhere you don’t want to be. Oh, and did I mention teleporting tiles? If you’re not used to this sort of trolling from a video game, you’re going to find yourself getting frustrated pretty quickly. As Steve said in his review of the PSP version, you’ll want to save often.
As you progress through the game and reach different schools and towns, you’ll be able to upgrade your equipment, and change your classes if you so choose. Changing classes is very beneficial, because you get to keep all the stats and abilities that you got from leveling your previous class. It should be noted that some class changes require you to meet specific conditions, like having an exact race, stat allocation and alignment. For the long term, be sure to plan out a party that will work well with each others’ strengths and compensate for weaknesses. Make sure they have compatible alignments so that you’ll be able to use group abilities easier, too. There is a vast amount of labyrinth exploring to do in Class of Heroes 2G, with over 125 maps to wander, and they will take hours to get through on your first go. This is a beast of a game, it will take you at least 60 hours just to get through the bare minimum story content. If you can’t get enough of it and want to do every single thing that’s assigned to you, that’s almost a day’s worth of content in of itself.
Other than shopping and resting your party in the dorms, schools are your hub for quests and where you’ll use alchemy to make new items with your materials. That is unless you happen to have an alchemist in your party, in which case you can do it anywhere. The problem I have with the alchemy system is that I didn’t find it all that useful. By the time I got to a new area, I had more enough money from fighting to just buy whatever new equipment and items I needed from the shops. Initially, the game had a seemingly schizophrenic sort of difficulty, where some encounters were cakewalks and others had me running for my life. However, by keeping my gear up to date, changing classes, and gaining levels and spells, I was eventually able to turn the tables on the game.
Sound-wise, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about here. While you’re navigating the labyrinths, there’s no music at all, which I admit I didn’t really enjoy. I’m sort of an audiophile, so having nothing there but the occasional ambient sounds in the background really turned me off. The battle music is decent, nothing amazing, and the school and town themes are cheery, saccharine, and quaint. I wasn’t wowed by the graphics, either, but this is a port of a PSP game, so I can’t be too harsh on it. The labyrinth environments are pretty plain (someone watching me play the first dungeon, the Beginner’s Brush, said it looked a lot like a golf course. I couldn’t help but agree.). I thought the character avatars you could choose from all looked really cute.
It’s a bit hard for me to say who Class of Heroes 2G is best suited for. If you’re the sort of person who grew up with hardcore dungeon crawlers like Wizardry and you want to play one with adorable anime characters, you can’t really go wrong here. I see that as a niche within a niche. You may also like it if you’re a fan of the Etrian Odyssey series. I appreciate it for what it is, but it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. Nonetheless, I’m the sort of person who likes playing something different every now and then, and you could say this game filled that need for me. If you’d like to try it yourself, getting a hard copy is difficult, but you can find it for $44.99 on PSN.
Review copy provided by developer
Class of Heroes 2G is available on Amazon:
class of heroesClass of Heroes 2GDungeon CrawlerGaijinworksJRPGMonkeyPaw GamesPlayStation 3PS3Review