With a name that at once conjures up images of the universal heroes of myth and office temps categorizing last year’s insurance claims, Heroes Saga-EN-Global can’t help but come off like one of the many disposable cash-grab games released onto the Play Store each month. The EN part of its winning moniker stands for English, as in Heroes Saga-English-Global as opposed to Spanish-Global, French-Global, etc…, and while this may refer to relative game servers, the name, taken as a whole, suggests that developer, GOOD Mobile Games is more concerned with keeping their assets in proper order than they are with sound production values. Either that or they just don’t have anyone on staff with a decent command of the English language. Having sacrificed numerous hours of my life to this mess, I can attest that the issue is more of the former as Saga is a vapid, barely-engaging pseudo-game designed to keep the woefully uninformed staring and tapping and paying. Unfortunately, as with countless freemium apps of if its ilk, the biggest issue with Heroes Saga-EN-Global is that players will too often end up paying hand over fist for entertainment that elsewhere they could pay for once and enjoy a whole lot more.
It’s not as if Heroes Saga-EN-Global is without redeeming qualities. The cartoony graphics are attractive and well done as are the animations that accompany combat, although they are the only thing that accompanies combat. More on that shortly. There’s also some kind of story. My best guess is that it involves building and leading a team of heroes, who are tasked with conquering a slew of territories and eventually saving Saga’s game world, though why anyone would want to do such a thing is beyond me. Per the freemium convention du jour, the heroes and enemies you collect exist in-game as digital cards. Once acquired, you can choose to either use new cards as part of your team of five heroes or opt to digitally bind weaker cards to strengthen other game elements, effectively leveling up your team by either binding new cards to one your hero’s five skills or to the heroes themselves.
In theory, part of the appeal is that the heroes you find are all drawn from a variety of cartoon and comic book franchises. As with the game’s title, however, the names of the heroes pose a bit of a problem. Who would have guessed that a group of developers, who slyly decided to call themselves ‘GOOD Mobile Game,’ would run into trouble naming things? To be fair, part of the problem is probably legal. Most, if not all, of the heroes of the American comic book variety have names that are rough approximations like a Bat Girl look-a-like called: Ms. Batty and a Green Arrow analogue called Oliver Jonas rather than Oliver Queen.
For the Asian franchises, GOOD Mobile Game, for some reason, either invested in purchasing licenses or threw caution to the wind as correctly named characters from Asian franchises like Inuyasha were present in the game as well as Western biggies like Naruto’s Sasuke and Dragon Ball Z’s Goku.
The meat and potatoes of the game, however, is using your team to conquer territories and best other player’s teams in battles. The problem—and this really cuts to the essence of what is wrong with this game and so many like it – is that everything in the game leads to its RPG battles. Once engaged in battle, you will find your five heroes opposed by five foes, with battles taking place against a variety of colorful backdrops. When heroes use skills in battle, the ensuing special attack is rendered in exciting, often pyrotechnic, animations. This all sounds pretty good, I know, but there’s one huge problem. You, the player, do nothing during all of this. You’re not involved at all.
What? There is a button you say….
Fine. The acceleration button: When you achieve level 7 you get to employ the acceleration button during battles. It’s your one input into the game’s action. You press that bad boy and the movie that is your team battling enemies unfolds twice as quickly. No. I’m not kidding. You get to make it move in double-time. Then, sometimes, maybe you don’t press it—maybe you just don’t feel like it— the battle happens at a normal speed. Then, maybe you’re suddenly feeling crazy and you just tap that suckah, and wham! Everything is moving twice as fast again.
It’s not a game if you don’t ever actually play it.
If you’re playing a game, you are in it. You are manipulating the details. You’re making things happen,. You are decidedly not sitting on the sidelines watching events unfold. This could easily be the poorest design decision a developer can make because—it really is worth repeating here: It is not a game if you never play it.
Although Heroes Saga-EN-Global features a brain-dead story and lacks anything resembling action or adventure, some players may find something to futz with in its RPG system. And while it is complex: You upgrade your commander (you) , your five partners, their six skills and at least one piece of gear per partner, the system never gains traction because the game never gives you a single solid reason to care about its story, its world or it’s characters.
Similarly, the complex system of rewards that feeds the leveling system falls flat on all counts. At the outset, the rewards in this dog come fast and furious, and from all directions, and they take various forms: There’s food, new low-end cards, gold and diamonds. And clearly the reason it’s the most complex aspect of the game is because the rewards system is the element that is most directly connected to drawing money from players’ wallets. The game’s resources: food, gold and crappy cards, are collectively designed to give you the impression that you’re getting somewhere by playing; whereas the only resource you purchase with actual money, diamonds, is exponentially more powerful than anything you earn. The number of resources, things to upgrade, and variety of crappy rewards all amount to nothing more than a complex shell game designed to obfuscate the fact that making your team powerful enough to consistently take on other players or move through this monotonous game at a reasonable pace requires the player to constantly spend money purchasing diamonds, rendering this so-called “free game,” anything but.
While Heroes Saga-EN-Global sports some decent graphics and animations, neither element can make an app a decent video game, especially when the game in question is missing so many essential ingredients. At the end of the day, the only aspect of Saga over which players exert a measure of control is adding the game’s various resources to different facets of their avatar and playable characters, which taken by itself is a pretty flat and boring exercise at best, that yet again, raises the question as to whether this game’s title, unnecessary and dopey as it is, isn’t more accurate than originally thought.
In short, skip it. It’s not worth the time it takes to download.
Not on its best day
Combat lacking player input and a leveling system bent on confusing players are two of the most outstanding features in this empty, boring pseudo game.