Hero of the Kingdom III Review

Hero of the Kingdom III Review
by Bryan Scheidler

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What is Hero of the Kingdom III? Before playing the game I didn’t know anything about this series. Was this an RPG like Final Fantasy or a hack and slash game like Diablo, I didn’t know. The developer sent me a STEAM code to give it a test run and after a few days of gameplay I still wasn’t sure. It wasn’t until I had beat the game that it finally clicked, Hero of the Kingdom III is a visual novel. When I say Visual Novel what I mean is the game is more focused on the story than on things like combat mechanics. This isn’t neccesarily a bad thing, it is just important that you understand what this game is before jumping in.

Here is how I would describe this game in one sentence: Your character walks around gathering resources, talking to people, then using those resources to solve problems. To give you a better sense of the game lets go through all the main aspects of the game: exploration/travel, resource management, combat, graphics and the story.

Exploration/Travel:
The game has the character exploring and traveling through 4 areas of a map. Besides the starting area all the other areas get revealed as the story and character progress. Nothing ground breaking here, but what I really did appreciate was the quick travel and the quick commerce features of the world map. Once an area has been explored you can instantly travel there from another area. More importantly, while in the world map screen you have access to every shop keeper in the world that you have met. This game mechanic probably saved me 1-2 hours of just traveling back and forth to buy and sell things. I don’t know if this was part of the first two games or a common RPG element, but I loved this.

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Resource Maagement and Combat:
It may seem strange that I have grouped resource management and combat together, but they are 2 sides of the same coin in this game. The way combat works is that every enemy you come across doesn’t have a health meter, rather it shows what it will cost you to defeat it. For example, a small rat might cost 2 hearts (the equivalent of energy or action points) and 1 metal sword. If you have those items, then you win instantly. Equipment like the sword or shield has a duribility and can only be used a certain number of times before breaking. Other resources you might need for combat are potions, hammers, spears, etc. Considering how combat plays out the majority of the game comes down to resource management: gathering materials, selling materials, buying items for combat or later in the game crafting them. The funny thing about this game is that it actually is a good simple lesson in how a free market works. You gather supplies and you can sell them for money, then you use that money to buy other products. Later in the game you must decide if it makes more financial sense to buy what you want or make it yourself. You’re out of energy, do you cook or do you buy prepared food? You need a new spear it will cost more to buy it, but it will take time to find resources and craft it yourself. I realize that makes this sound less fun and more educational, but don’t let that scare you away the entire thing was actually very relaxing.

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Graphics:
Hero of the Kingdom III defintiely has a specific style, think Super Nintendo early “3D” graphics. The level of detail in the game fluctuates depending on item. Highlights include the backgrounds/scenery and the item icons, all really detailed and really well rendered in my opinion. The things tht felt a little lacking were the character models for the animals and NPC’s. They got the job done but I would have liked a little more detail.

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Story:
Considering this is a visual novel, the story is important, if the story is no good, people aren’t going to want to play very long. For the most part, it is a standard heroes journey. A young hero on his own in the world has a mystical connection to something larger going on that he must deal with. All in all the game does a good job with it’s version of the hero’s journey, until we meet the main enemy. I won’t get too much into the main villain of the game, but I will say I was a little underwhelmed by him. Additionally, if you go into the game not realizing it is a visual novel the ending may seem a little anti-climactic.

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So what’s my final verdict on Hero of the Kingdom III? Was it worth the 9 hours I invested into it? Honestly with all the criticisms I have with the game I am still glad I played it. It was a great distraction, very relaxing, and after rage quitting things like Fortnite it was a nice detox. Hero of the Kingdom III is available now on STEAM along with the first two games in the series which I will probably be checking out next.

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