Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption Review
About twenty five years ago when I was looking for a new game to play I came across a Sierra RPG/Adventure game hybrid title called ‘Quest For Glory’. At the time, I was gaming on a C64 and only thinking about ‘upgrading’ to an IBM PC. This game not only needed a ‘proper’ computer, but something called a 286. However, the game sounded so great I just had to get both it and a 286. This was my introduction to PC gaming. The series had 5 games in total and I loved every one of them. Sure, they weren’t ‘pure’ RPG’s, but they were FUN and bright and lively and chock full of corny humour and puns.
Sadly, that genre sort of faded away in popularity replaced by ‘shooters’ and hard core gritty RPG’s. Lighter, fun games weren’t for ‘serious’ gamers and then MMO’s arrived to further muddy the waters. I despaired of ever playing something similar again. However, about five years ago the creators and developers of the original series reappeared on Kickstarter with a plan to revive the genre for gamers old and new. Corey and Lori Cole, the husband and wife team behind Quest for Glory have finally released the first in what’s hoped to be a new series set in the same game world as the original which should appeal to all its former fans.
It was with some trepidation that I approached this new game ‘Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption’ as I didn’t want to be disappointed and have my memories of the original series tarnished, but my fears were quickly laid to rest. The Coles have picked up right where they left off twenty years ago with a game I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. It was everything the old series was and perhaps more. True, it’s painfully punny, but the heart that’s gone into this game is apparent in every aspect of the gameplay.
True to the original, it’s an adventure/RPG hybrid with quests, fights, puzzles, characters and story and it never takes itself too seriously. It’s meant to be a lighthearted and entertaining romp and it succeeds brilliantly. If you’ve had a rough day and need something to brighten up your evening, then this game might just fit the bill.
You play as Shawn, a beginning wannabe thief who gets caught on his first assignment by a mysterious stranger who convinces him to attend the local University for Heroes, or Hero-U as it is better known. (It’s either that or go to jail.) Here Shawn joins a class for rogues who might eventually become Heroes and learns the secrets of being a successful rogue. You learn in class and have opportunity to practice and improve your skills in such things a climbing, throwing, fighting, lockpicking and card play while also improving your strength, intelligence charm and agility.
While doing all of this you have to make friends, (or enemies), with the other students, the staff and a few other inhabitants of the school. You will need to find ways to earn money to buy extras such as a school uniform, lockpicks, weapons, etc, etc. In the early part of the game money can be very tight until you learn the secrets of playing Poobah.
Poobah is an ingame card game you get to eventually play with your fellow classmates and is the easiest way to get more money than you’ll ever need, if you can read other players’ tells and if you’ve practised your cardplay. Oh, it’s fun too.
While there are set events during the school terms and exams to study for, most of the quests are optional opportunities to upgrade your skills and stats, help out your fellow students, find good treasure, have a few turn based fights while exploring the school and the various dungeons below it. Most of these fights aren’t too difficult and many can actually be avoided by improving your stealth and sneaking ability. There is an achievement available if you’re able to avoid all the fights, but where’s the fun in that. Plus, most provide extra cash, or something to sell in the school store.
This is a fairly easy paced game, it runs for 50 days, but there is so much to do each day from visiting the training room, to researching in the library, to playing cards, or billiard, or darts, to sneaking around in the dungeons after curfew that time management becomes extremely important, especially in the early stages while you have just so much to learn. There are even optional courses in healing, science and magic you can take if you do well in the exams, but while they will give you additional skills and equipment, they will also take away time from other endeavours. You have to choose how you apportion all of your available time.
There is plenty of music, dialogue choices, funny facial expressions, jokes, puns, more puns and did I mention puns to keep you amused while you wend your way through each day. There are twists and turns, some of which you will never pick and even a particularly nasty teacher who wants to get you expelled if you’re caught doing anything wrong. The emphasis is on getting caught, which no self-respecting Rogue would ever do.
You have an inventory and can change what Shawn wears, though this is not reflected visually in the actual game. There is a detailed journal which is helpful for passing the exams and for knowing what to do next. As in all walks of life, if you want to be successful, constant practise is the key. It’s possible to get nearly all of your skills up to 100 if you really try. While there are several different endings on day 50, the one you are aiming for is the title of Rogue of the Year. If you enjoyed QfG or think you might have, then get this game and take a tilt at the title, you won’t be disappointed.
Information aboutHero-U: Rogue to Redemption
Developer: Transolar Games
Play-time: 10-20 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2018-07-10
· Publisher: Transolar Games
- Addictive (just one more day)
- Interesting characters with lots of choice
- Enjoyable story
- Corny, punny, humour throughout
- Old style (though beautiful) Graphics
- Some might not enjoy the corny humour
- Combat options are limited
- Training can be repetative
- No choice about character, you're a Rogue