A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Glory of Heracles is a standard turn-based role-playing game. It tells a story about a fight between good and evil and contains age-appropriate narrative. Fantasy combat plays a large role (most of the game is spent in battle), but attacks involve flashes of light rather than buckets of gore, making them pretty easy to stomach. Mild profanity (“hell” and “damn”) is present but used sparingly and only for dramatic effect. Note that heavy amounts of reading are required in order to learn how to play the game and to fully appreciate the narrative.
What's it about?
As a traditional role-playing game published by Nintendo, GLORY OF HERACLES follows a group of immortals as they try to figure out what’s rotten in the state of Greece and thentry and fix it. Action switches back and forth from jogging across the world map and into dungeons, where players are presented a steady stream of randomly occurring turn-based battles, and exploring populated areas where we can trade items, chat with locals, and pick up both primary and secondary quests. It’s for one player only, and that player had best enjoy reading because he or she will be doing a lot of it, first in the game’s tutorials and later in narrative scenes.
Is it any good?
A couple of small things help set Glory of Heracles apart from other Nintendo DS role-playing games. The first is the setting and characters. Most role-playing games work with purely fictional locations and heroes, but this one draws on players’ familiarity with Ancient Greece to create what seems like a more believable world. Second, and perhaps more important, certain attacks can receive boosts if the player successfully plays a little mini-game, such as sorting roman numerals or rapidly tapping the centre of a circle. Consequently, there’s more to do than just tap out instructions to move the narrative forward.
Of course, these aren't novel features. The real draw of any role-playing game is its story and characters. Glory of Heracles’ narrative and presentation are competent and polished up nicely, but they don't really stand out from the pack. The characters are caricatures (the amnesiac, the egoist, the burly warrior), and, without giving too much away, their epic quest (or something like it) has been seen before in many other games. Luckily, the young-ish gamers at whom Glory of Hercules is targeted probably won’t be familiar with many of them yet, so it very well may seem fresh and exciting to them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about ancient Greek mythology. Their gods often acted with the emotion and unpredictability of humans. How do you think this behavior affected the way Greek citizens viewed their deities?
Families can also discuss how so many role-playing games are similar in theme and narrative. As a creative exercise, try to think of a storyline that you haven’t seen in a role-playing game before. What would the catalyst for our heroes’ journey be? Who would they go up against? What would be the consequences of failure or success?
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