Back in April of 2015, a charming little game called Hero Generations was released. Simple, yet deceptively complex, the top-down rouge/4X hybrid sent you on a quest to become as famous as you could be before your time was up. Each move you make takes a year off of your life, you need to acquire fame by performing quests throughout the world, before settling down and having a child. Your journey then starts anew, as the child of your previous hero. Today a remake was released, Hero Generations: ReGen.This mini-review isn’t going to cover the game as much as the “upgrade” it received. The original is a very fun game that can be played simply or with some more complexity, and though the price seems a bit much for what it is, if you’re interested it’s worth a look during a sale. As a bit of a side note, this review will end with a short list of goods and bads, which I plan to use as my template from now on. Various other gaming sites and magazines use this formula, and I’ve always enjoyed it as a quick way to get a simple run-down of a game. This is also a bit of a spoiler for an opinion piece I have coming out sometime in the future, about review scores. Total self-promotion, totally not ashamed. 😉
Remade in the Unity engine, Hero Generations: ReGen is quite a bit more powerful than the original, which was (I believe) a Flash game. Much more is animated, the fog of war being moving clouds rather than simple white squares. The entire map loads all at once now, too. In the original you were confined to your current world, travelling to a new world required loading screens. They weren’t super long, but the fact that you got them multiple times per character meant that the time spent looking at a white screen could start to add up. I’m happy to see that in ReGen, loading screens are all but gone. Finally, a simple button for randomly choosing trait cards when a new generation is born removes some of the mediocrity of clicking a half dozen or more cards.
The game also seems easier, although that could just be RNGesus smiling upon me. But it’s easier in a good way, so don’t all you Dark Souls players think that’s a bad thing. The core game mechanic is based heavily on dice rolls, if you have a strength 20 for example, you’ll roll a die from 0-20 during battle. If your roll is higher than your opponent’s, you win. That’s all the same, however the game seems a bit friendlier in the way of giving out items and bonuses that can help you. However I feel like this is a bit of a placebo effect due to my short playtime compared to the original, I have no bad memories weighing me down yet. So, you can ignore this entire paragraph.
Some issues came along with the upgrade, too. One that most bothers me is the lack of an upgrade throughout different life stages. As you move throughout the world and age, you’ll hit milestones that will strengthen you, and then eventually begin to weaken you as you reach old age. The original gave you cards to flip that would give you bonuses at each stage of life, and though you just got one you could add a nice bonus to your strength increase, or help lessen the blow of a strength decrease. Without that, aging can be anywhere from bland to frustrating, getting extra life when you hit old age would allow you to explore that much longer.
The game is also almost too nice, in a way. Sure, your big character profile at the side of the screen looks nice, but it takes up the space of the enemy profile as well. Yes, there’s a tab you can use to examine the enemy, but the extra click that’s required, and the fact that you can’t have two profiles at once, is kind of a big negative for me. It does allow you to examine multiple monsters at once, if more than one are on a tile, was a feature frustratingly lacking in the original game. Honestly, I’d like that a lot more. My favourite Civ mod (you thought I’d get through a review without mentioning that game, didn’t you? :P), and arguably one I’d have a hard time functioning without after using it, does no more than shuffle the UI around a bit and put info from menus onto the main screen. It’s a bit hard to read at first, and is arguably more cluttered simply due to the extra information on a single screen, but it’s the kind of thing I enjoy a lot better. The same goes for Hero Generations, I’d much prefer the simpler, more compact view to the big large one, or best of all a hybrid of the two. A view that’s highly-detailed in both graphics and information? Well that’s the best of both worlds.
Is Hero Generations: ReGen worth picking up? If you don’t have the original, yeah, I’d say it is. Maybe check out a let’s play or find a more in-depth review of the actual game mechanics before doing so, as it kind of is a bit of a niche game. If you enjoy strategy games, you’ll probably like it. If not, maybe pass it up. If you are grabbing it, it might not hurt to wait for a sale. Is it worth getting if you do own the original? Eh…probably not. If you have the original in your Steam library you will get a temporary coupon that offers a fairly significant discount (Ori and the Blind Forest did something similar on Xbox), such that it’s a pretty good price. Still, I’m not sure it’s a reasonable “upgrade” price for what was changed, but that’s up to you. If you like better-looking, faster remakes, and don’t mind paying for them, go ahead and pick it up. I understand a lot of what was added simply couldn’t have been patched into the original game because of the new engine, but that doesn’t keep me from feeling like this is a game that should have more in it to justify it being a remake.
Hero Generations: ReGen is available now for Steam and mobile platforms.
+ Nice graphics overhaul and much smoother engine compared to original game
+ More information available vs. original, if somewhat buried
– Does not feel like enough of an improvement to justify a new game
What do you think of Hero Generations: ReGen? Did you play the original?
Tell us in the comments below, or on our subreddit!