Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Age of Heroes VR wears some pretty familiar inspirations on its sleeve. It really tries to harness the feeling of major boss fights from MMOs, all while delivering it in an immersive virtual reality experience. Some aspects of this title work better than others, but the potential here is pretty hard to deny.
I have sunk a lot of hours into MMOs over the years, and there are two aspects to those games that has always captured my imagination – exploration and large boss fights. Of course, these moments are at their best when they combine. Perhaps one of my favorite moments in World of Warcraft was the first time I made my way deep into the northern mountain passage in Duskwood to discover a strange sliver of elven-like woods – and a massive, cranky dragon to boot. I was pretty low level at the time, so I sat back eating popcorn and taking a few screenshots as I watched a rather massive battle taking place down below between the dragon and a gaggle of Alliance players. Eventually the dragon won out and the players got wiped, but it was a pretty spectacular show – and in large part this is the kind of feeling that Age of Heroes VR is attempting to encapsulate.
Age of Heroes VR is focused on a trio of classes that allow players to come together and skips the exploration aspect of MMOs and cuts to the chase of big boss fights. This of course has a way of making the game feel less like the MMOs it claims inspired it and more of an arena style fighting game that pits you against legions of smaller critters like shambling skeletons before taking on the big bad boss behind the encounter.
It helps that the combat is pretty intuitive with the classes, focusing on a handful of different attack styles that allow you to move around while trying to either take the enemies out or keeping them distracted. In particular the Warlock was interesting, because the character has a bit of a puppet master feel to the attacks, summoning minions that attract the attention of your enemies.
The product values are a bit of a mixed bag at this point. The music was the type of high fantasy fare I would expect from a game like this, and while it is not terribly memorable, it certainly fit the the game’s overall style well enough. The spoken dialogue does not hold up nearly as well – it was frankly kind of cheesy and needs some replacement I think. The visuals are pretty spectacular, and certainly reminded me of many of the MMOs I have played in the past, with some great use of color and contrasting light sources. The animations are a bit rough in places, but I understand that this is a very early access title and that it is still actively being worked on.
If Age of Heroes VR can find that sweet spot where exploration can lead to moments of discovery, I think it will wind up providing a much more compelling package. Right now there is not a great deal of content to explore, which keeps you on a somewhat straight and narrow track. It works well enough to shepherd the player into some cool climactic fights, but for me those boss battles have only ever been part of the equation. The art design shows signs of being pretty strong, some some sweeping vistas and moments of fantastical otherworld discovery could wind up being what helps to make this a more complete game as it continues to move further through its development. The potential is here, but there is still a good ways to go.Score: N/A