Class of Heroes

Decades ago, mysterious labyrinths appeared, changing the world forever, with these mazes ever-changing, connecting towns and villages across the world. Many adventurers delved into these labyrinths, with few returning. Particus is not the first Adventurer Academy in the world, though it ambitions to be the finest. Class of Heroes follows several students as they dare to brave the labyrinths. While at first a decent dungeon-crawling RPG, it quickly loses its appeal as it drags on.

Class of Heroes allows players to assemble a party of up to six characters of various races and classes, known as majors in the game, with each race and major having its own strengths and weaknesses, as well as special abilities usable outside combat, such as the thief's ability to disarm trapped treasure chests occasionally dropped after fights. Battles themselves follow the tried-and-true formula of having the player input commands for the party and letting them and the enemies beat each other up in a round. The player can put three characters in the front row and three characters in the back row, with characters in the back row able to attack only with ranged weapons.

As usual, turn order is unpredictable and random, and the option to escape from battle sometimes fails. The HP of normal enemies and bosses is also random, even with the same kind of enemies. The main thing combat has going for it is its speed, although button mashing through the battle text for said speed can easily grow annoying. Another fault is the impossibility of boss fights without use of the tension gauge that builds as the player fights enemies, which can allow the player's party, for instance, to attack the enemy simultaneously with 100% accuracy. Bosses can easily slaughter the player's characters in one fell swoop, making players wonder how they're supposed to beat them without the tension gauge.

The controls are even worse, with Class of Heroes being very user-unfriendly, given the constant need to retread the same labyrinths over and over to get from place to place, and the inability to tell how new equipment will increase or decrease a character's stats before buying it. Item synthesis is also time-consuming, with the only real bright point being the ability to save anywhere. Ultimately, control leaves plenty of room for improvement.

Story is another low point of Class of Heroes, with no real plot aside from that mentioned in the instruction book, no sense of conflict, and so forth. The translation is passable, aside from untranslated text that appears above enemies when attacking them in battle.

The sound is nothing to write home about, with only a few good tracks, and no music during dungeon exploration, which is baffling considering that most of the player's time is spent traversing dungeons. The graphics are also marginal, with inanimate enemies in battle and the player's party being invisible, and the character and monster art being the only highlights.

Finally, if players are lucky, they may be able to squeak through the game in a little under forty hours, though the extras can boost playing time well beyond this range. Ultimately, Class of Heroes is a bit of a disappointment, given the unbalanced combat, especially against bosses, general user-unfriendliness, and weak musical and graphical presentation. There are definitely better dungeon crawlers out there, so players need not bother with this offering, and while the game has received sequels, there aren't plans to bring most of them to the Anglophone world.

NOTE: This review is based on an incomplete playthrough of the game.

The Good:
+You can save anywhere.

The Bad:
-Nasty bosses.
-Too much repetition
-Sub-par music and graphics.

Score Breakdown:
Game Mechanics: 5/10
Controls: 3/10
Story: 2/10
Music/Sound: 4/10
Graphics: 3/10
Localization: 5/10
Lasting Appeal: 4/10
Difficulty: Unbalanced
Playing Time: 30+ Hours

Overall: 3/10

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