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Fantasy Hero

Fantasy Hero

Written by Matt Mirkovich on 1/13/2015 for Vita  
More On: Fantasy Hero

The Vita has been in desperate need of a Monster Hunter title since the console was released back in 2012. In the near three years since a lot of companies have tried to fill in the gap, but no one has been able to capture the magic that is Capcom’s monster hunting juggernaut. Arc System Works has given the genre a go now with Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy, with a heavy focus on story and co-op gameplay it seemed like this could be one of those titles that might shore up some of the mediocre efforts of the past on the Vita. Unfortunately after a few frustrating missions and been there done that hack-and-slash gameplay, Fantasy Hero offers little that hasn’t been seen before.

Fantasy Hero lets you pick between one of four heroes at the outset; Acress, the sword wielding hero-to-be with a super sentai-esque transformation technique. Ashta, a genius mechanic who commands a powerful robot to do her bidding. Mask, a martial arts champion who looks like he belongs in a wrestling ring. And Haul, a Beastkin Crow who takes down enemies from afar with his pistols. These four heroes are fighting to protect their village from the Decoders, beasts who have run humanity thin and to the point of near extinction. Completing missions will unravel more of the story, what the Decoders are after, and why our heroes are able to command the powers that they do. It’s pretty bare-bones, there’s the human that works with the Decoders mystery to solve, the plucky side-kick who harbors some sort of secret that the enemies are after, pretty generic stuff. And there are spelling errors all over the place, as if the game were run through a spell checker and no further thought was given.

Gameplay is a simplistic affair, select missions from the board in the center of town, and you’re on your way. These missions can either be story based, or can be used to power up your character, which you’ll want to do a lot as you’ll be going solo quite a bit through this game. The missions typically revolve around eliminating all enemies, or finding a specific item that is retrieved from defeating enemies. No matter what you’ll be cutting down waves of enemies that stand between you and your goal. It gets rather repetitive until you start unlocking more skills, but the ramp up is slow going and you’ll hit a wall where monsters can outpace your abilities which will require grinding on some of the lower level missions. Even more damning is the repetitive nature of combat itself, the square button doles out your standard combo, which can be ended with the triangle button which serves as a powerful attack though it requires some time to wind up.

You’ll also be picking up tons of materials that can be used to power up the weapons you’ll be finding out in the field. Some materials are obviously more rare than others and will require some farming, if you could just run out in the world and do that, that’d be great, but instead you have to queue up a mission and play it to completion each time. You could opt to die in the middle of the mission, but you’ll only receive a minimal amount of experience for your efforts. Even more annoying is the lack of checkpoints, so if you die, that’s it, the mission is over and you have to start from the beginning. This can be mitigated by playing in the game’s ad-hoc multiplayer, but this means you’re going to have to corral a few friends to do multiplayer sessions.

Each character has their obvious strengths and weaknesses, but it’s kind of odd to run in to areas where those strengths seem to be completely discarded. Case in point, I had a mission I was running with Ashta, and she has the highest defense in the game. I’m on the sixth story mission, which means things should still be fairly doable, but on multiple occasions, one enemy is able to knock me down and take over half of my health in the process. Unfortunately due to the recovery sequence, I’m defenseless while getting up, and I think you can figure out where this is going, yup, back to the village, with a minimal amount of experience in my pocket, and a decent chunk of time lost. Which seems to be the most problematic aspect of this title, it doesn’t completely respect the amount of time and effort you’re putting in to it.

Fantasy Hero isn’t a particularly great looking game, the character models look a little awkward in their attempts to mimic your typical anime series. The enemies are loaded with palette swaps, and you’ll be seeing a lot of the same areas, so it’s pretty easy to get lost even with a map on screen but at the very least the locales do look nice. The audio is pretty standard fare, but you’ll be hearing the same dialog from each of the monsters, and they all sound the same, so if you multiple enemies of the same type, they’re all going to make the same sounds as you beat them up.

Vita owners are still lacking that one great game that people have been hoping for to match the Monster Hunter experience. Soul Sacrifice is close, but not quite the same, and sadly Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy is even further away than that. It’s a game that might be enjoyable with a group of friends, but being forced to play this game locally with friends is kind of a bummer, especially since Dragon’s Crown is able to handle online multiplayer. In the end there are a bunch of games that Fantasy Hero cannot stand up to, so give this one a pass, there are plenty of other titles that are willing to reward your investment of time.

If Fantasy Hero were a PS Vita launch title I might be a bit more forgiving, but at this point we've seen that there are better games out there. The bland hack-and-slash gameplay and unforgiving death mechanics make this game more of a chore to play than it needed to be.

Rating: 6.5 Below Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

In a past life I worked with Interplay, EA, Harmonix, Konami, and a number of other developers. Now I'm working for a record label, a small arm of casual games in a media company along with Gaming Nexus, and anywhere else that sees fit to employ me.


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