Review: Hero Siege
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There are plenty of games out there that aren’t bad per se, but don’t give a particularly compelling reason to play them. Loot-based games can run afoul of this issue if the loot is no good, and combat-heavy ones have the same issue if the combat is boring or repetitive. I’m bringing this up because Hero Siege isn’t really a bad game, but it fails to do anything that isn’t done better elsewhere. It’s built out of a potent combination of systems, and just never achieves anything of note with them.
The story is… okay I honestly have no idea what the story is, or if there even really is one. You play one of a dozen or so heroes sent to some town to slay infinite monsters that are aggressively milling around the area. These fights take place in randomly-generated arenas where waves of foes approach from the cardinal directions to menace you. Beating five waves of monsters summons a boss, and every five levels ends with a face-off against a world boss. You’ll score piles of gold, gear, potions, and artifacts for your trouble, as well as experience to level up with.
What you end up with is a funky mix of Diablo, Binding of Isaac, and Robotron. Defeating enemy waves is your primary concern; there are usually additional monsters and hazards around the map but you only have to kill the wave-spawned critters to progress. The map elements are all randomly generated and include optional mini-dungeons that contain potent artifacts which can boost your stats or skills. Equipping gear is important but the artifacts provide the most benefit, and are also what you lose when you die. Experience and gear stays with you but dying means starting over from the village with no artifacts.
This all sounds like a good way to kill an evening or two, but the trouble lies in the execution. Unlike the games I alluded to earlier, Hero Siege is sloooooooooow. You’re slow, your attacks are slow, enemies are slow, abilities are slow, everything happens at a glacial, uninteresting pace. In fact, you can manually trigger new waves whenever you want and there’s almost no reason not to pop them all at once, because the enemies take so long to reach you and attack that you can whittle them down in relative safety. I say “almost” because you need decent gear to make this work but the balance of levels and equipment is so out of whack that it’s entirely possible to become functionally immortal not halfway through a full run.
There’s 20 or so arenas to battle through (with more to unlock) and some ridiculous number of difficulties for when one gets too easy, but the flawed formula never changes. You’re ALWAYS going to be hacking or blasting away at snail-crawling enemies with weapons that either one-shot them or take ages to wear them down. There might be ways to spice things up in the town but I wouldn’t know how, because all the residents there offer goods or services I’ve never heard of in exchange for things I don’t have. I suppose it’s all endgame stuff which does me no good in the boring stretch I’m at, and renders the town essentially pointless.
The graphics are decent enough 2D with some meaty effects and dense monster packs, but there’s nothing particularly memorable about any of it. The voiceovers for the different classes stand out for being super cheesy and over-the-top at least, and the rest of the sound design does what it needs to without much impact. Really the whole game is a very safe, unambitious loot grind that fails to offer anything to keep you invested. Even if you’re a fan of endlessly growing numbers the mindless, boring combat is bound to turn you off. Hero Siege isn’t bad, but I can’t find anything really GOOD to say about it and that wouldn’t make much of a recommendation.