Heroes Lore III is a great action RPG with a few hiccups

Over the past couple of years, the iPhone has become a great system to play “classic”-style RPGs on. The list of quality RPGs for the phone has been growing pretty quickly, and Electronic Arts has just added another title to it with Heroes Lore III. This an epic game that gets most of the necessary elements right, but still has some room for improvement.

So here’s the story: there are these two countries, Neo-Soltia and Askra, and they’re at war (naturally). When the game starts, players can choose to play as either Kei or Ritz, both of whom have pretty different adventures to take players through. After that comes the decision on character fighting style, and from there the game gets pretty hectic pretty quickly.

Heroes Lore III contains a massive game world. There’s supposedly over 30 hours of play time in the game, which, after about ten hours in is a claim that’s easy to believe. There’s a lot of ground to cover, too, between the six main game areas and four cities that players can explore.

Heroes Lore III

Battles themselves are fast-paced events, especially when one is using firearms, and combat is very easy to learn. Overall, the gameplay is pretty solid. Of course this is an RPG, which means that players will engage in some fairly deep character customization as they start levelling up with a number of attributes and skills to upgrade. Based on the options available, it’s safe to say that you’ll never play the game exactly the same way twice.

There’s even a multiplayer mode in the game, allowing players to go against AI bots and/or real people in one-on-one or two-on-two battles. It’s a clever little mode that adds a surprisingly refreshing sense of fun to the overall game experience.

The game looks like a hi-def version of the old school, 16-bit RPG’s that so many iPhone owners grew up playing. The presentation offers a top-down perspective with anime-inspired characters and monsters. There’s a lot of detail and polish here, and it generally looks pretty good (although some of the environments begin to look a little overly-familiar after a while). The dialogue is delivered via some gorgeous painted portraits that overlay the action playing out on the screen. The only drawback in this department is that the graphics sometimes feature stilted animation that can be a bit jarring to witness.

Heroes Lore III

The audio, too, is great. The game’s soundtrack is consistently appropriate, no matter what the setting. It’s surprisingly fun and fast-paced during battles, and it stays unobtrusive during the non-combat segments.

If there’s one major problem with Heroes Lore III, it’s that the controls need a bit of tweaking. As it stands, there’s only one control scheme available and it’s far from perfect. There’s a movement pad that appears in the bottom left corner of the iPhone’s screen, attack buttons on the right, as well as various item buttons that appear around the edge. Trying to move the character accurately is sometimes a chore thanks to the awkward turning/aiming mechanics. This starts to get a little frustrating when one has to maneuver around an obstacle, or move from one screen to the next only to find themselves unintentionally doubling back.

At the moment, Heroes Lore III is a deep, fast-paced, and fun RPG that has a couple of hiccups; one of which proves to be pretty frustrating at times. However if players can overlook the wonky control setup, there’s a pretty rich title here that will likely thrill anyone who played (and loved) RPGs on consoles back in the 1990s.