Been There, Done That
A name like Heroic Expedition conjures images of bold explorers braving the dangers of the unknown. At least, that’s how developer DH Games wants people to think about their Gacha RPG. Sadly, the game never quite manages to make itself stand out from the crowd.
The plot of Heroic Expedition follows a band of adventurers as they travel the land collecting five fragments of the magical ore used to create the world. Long ago, an evil Thunder God tried to steal the ore but was defeated and was sealed away by the Goddess of Light. He remained trapped for thousands of years until a band of adventurers accidentally set him free. Fortunately, this is a fantasy world, so there is no problem that you cannot fix by sending more adventurers after it.
The player selects five heroes and leads them into battle against equally sized groups of enemies. Heroes break down into five factions referred to as Forest, Ocean, Chaos, Dark and Light. Chaos is fire with a different name, but otherwise, the factions pretty much function how one would expect. Forest, Ocean and Chaos operate on a rock, paper, scissors logic. Meanwhile, Light and Dark heroes do bonus damage to each other but less damage to heroes of the same faction. Heroes also come in four classes: Tanks, Warriors, Mages and Priests. If you’ve played a mobile RPG before, you’ve probably seen a variation of this same setup. The heroes themselves are generic as well. That is when DH Games aren’t ripping off Disney and DreamWorks characters.
Things get a little more interesting when the fighting starts. Heroes and monsters battle in a wedge formation with three in front and two in back. In most cases, heroes and monsters attack whoever is at the tip of the opposing spear. The characters on the flanks are the next highest priority, followed by the two in the back. Certain characters ignore this rule, so it’s essential to know who you’re dealing with. Auras are another interesting mechanic, offering bonuses for mixing and matching characters of different factions. However, this still needs to be balanced against elemental strengths and weaknesses. It’s a fun addition to the combat system, and it’s one of the few things that make the game stand out.
Unfortunately, combat starts to drag after a while. The player’s involvement begins and ends with setting up their party’s formation. You win or lose every fight the moment you hit Confirm. This would be fine if the battles did not take so long to play out. But even at 2X speed, a lot of fights feel like a drag. This is particularly true when fighting enemies of around the same level as your heroes. Heroic Expedition also has a real pay-to-win problem, although it isn’t the worst example I’ve ever seen. You can still complete the game without spending money, but that means relying on either a painful amount of grind or waiting for enough AFK rewards to pile up.
Towns and Travels
Heroic Expedition features 1 vs. 1 and team-based multiplayer, although the gameplay experience is nearly identical to Campaign. There are also a handful of unlockable modes, such as Expeditions and Dungeons. Both add a few unique features to the game, such as unlockable bonuses and even a trivia minigame. Additionally, both modes track heroes’ health from battle to battle. Dead heroes remain unavailable for the duration of the adventure. They are an excellent way to earn gold and items, but combat is still dull.
Lastly, we must talk about the town building elements in Heroic Expedition. Ideally, it should be an integral part of the game that somehow complements the other mechanics. However, that is not the case with Heroic Expedition. DH Games could have dropped the town building feature without meaningfully impacting the game. This is not to say the town is useless. The player unlocks buildings during the Campaign and building them adds new features to the game. Those include the alternate game modes mentioned above. However, it’s not materially different from locking those features behind campaign progress. Sure, you can also customize the Manor with decorations. But there are only 13 including trees and roads, and half are trophies for winning ranked PVP matches. It’s not the worst town-building, but it still feels like an afterthought. I suspect DH Games only included it as a way of padding the features list.
Overall, Heroic Expedition wasn’t a painful experience, but neither was it particularly rewarding. It is the epitome of a middle-of-the-road mobile RPG with little personality of its own. The few unique mechanics are just not enough to raise it above the level of mediocre.
Is it Hardcore?
Heroic Expedition is a generic, middle-of-the-road mobile gacha RPG with few unique features and too little personality.