Sunday, February 3, 2013

Well-Ensconced Heroes - Renaissance Heroes Review

   Renaissance Heroes is a first-person shooter developed by Changyou and hosted by Gamefuse, currently in open beta. You play as one of six different characters who battle each other as part of the background story of trying to find the blueprints to "The Da Vinci Machine", a vaguely defined invention by Da Vinci himself that could change the world despite the fact that during the final stages of testing it, it exploded and that is why the blueprints were lost in the first place.

   The game has a lot missing from it since it's still in beta phase with multiple features promised in future updates, so I'll avoid reviewing any parts of the game that are likely to change significantly over time. Let's get to it...
   Concept: Interesting
   A first-person shooter using 15th century technology just sounds interesting amidst all of the modern military shooters coming out these days. Combined with its respectable graphics, the game can be pretty visually pleasing.

   Controls: Functional
   The controls in Renaissance Heroes work as well as usual, but with the added innovation of putting sprint and melee on the same key. While it can be a bit awkward at times, since it doesn't enable you to quickly bash someone without pulling out the melee weapon first, it fits the fast-paced gameplay style quite well.

   No Ready Button: Easier to Start Matches
   When you enter a room, you are automatically ready, which means the match will start even if you aren't ready yourself as long as you aren't in the room.

   Rage Mode: Annoying
   If you are getting killed often enough without getting any kills of your own, you will begin filling a rage meter. Once the meter fills, you will spawn with cool-looking black wings and be given a massive health, armor, and damage boost for a (long) limited time. This seems to be primarily to balance out team scores.

   Gameplay: Does Not Work
   There are several facets to this one, so I'm going to split them up into separate topics.

         -Pace: Does Not Fit The Concept
         I will start this off by saying that this may be something that only bothers me, so skip to the next topic if you please. The gameplay of Renaissance Heroes is similar to the game Quake. There are power-ups, health, and armor sitting around the field to pick up, lifts to be jumped on, and bunny-hopping to be done. This is so far removed from the setting in which the game takes place that the Renaissance seems to be little more than an afterthought, since it contributes almost nothing to the actual gameplay.

         -Taunting: Also Does Fit The Concept
         You can taunt after killing someone to receive a small boost to HP (and ammo if you're using a taunt you got from the shop). This fits into the previous topic. While it's not really a bad system, it just doesn't seem to fit the environment.

         -Imbalance: Discouraging
         A certain amount of skill is required to do well in this game, but that isn't to say that gear doesn't matter.
Zoom in on the score made by HoT
         Shop power-ups are currently available to everyone, and they give a moderate buff to certain abilities depending on which ones you equip. Then there are weapons, which follow what is normal for MMOFPS games, in that the guns you start with are crap. You get access to buying better ones as you level up and then you can further upgrade those weapons through "weapon tuning", which let's you grant buffs to certain areas of a weapon at the expense of others.
         In short, you should do well here as long as a higher level player isn't on the enemy team. It's not impossible to do well with the vanilla weapons, but you will definitely be at a disadvantage. Luckily, leveling in Renaissance Heroes is pretty fast, so you won't be in the dumps for very long. At the time of writing this review, the max level is 20 and you can reach level 10 within a couple of days if you play it a lot.

         -Pickups: Forced
         If you choose to ignore the pickups, you will be completely stomped by everyone who doesn't. Your starting HP will be wiped out in a few shots, and your starting ammo will empty out into the walls behind your intended target pretty fast. While normally this wouldn't be much of a problem, a match between players of similar skill will turn into a match of who can grab items off the map the fastest, since the one with the extra armor, health, ammo, and explosives has a higher chance of winning of the fight. Unsurprisingly, the frequent ammo pickups leads to frequent grenade spamming, so watch out for that, too.

         -Ally Collision: Get Out Of The Way
         There is no friendly fire, but allies can block your bullets and grenades. This encourages fighting by yourself, since having a teammate in front of you can easily mess you up.

   Community: Tiny
   I know I said would avoid topics that may change over time, but I feel proper warning should be given. At the time of writing this review, there are extremely few people on the game.
   Despite there being five game modes, there are rarely more than three rooms open at a time right now, and they are all usually Team Deathmatch. Just a heads up.

   Final Score: 3 out of 5

   This game was a great concept with messy execution. I don't feel like they should have went with the twitch-shooter gameplay style if they were going to use the Renaissance setting. Taking that away, the game still does not do well with what it has. On it's current route, it's set to have a reputation of simply being an under-performing Quake clone, and it could have been so much more if it simply went with a more serious presentation. All this said, it can still be a fun game to play if you are willing to learn it.

He was MVP? Did NOT see that coming.
   Extra Things to Know
   - There are only 5 weapons, currently. Machine gun, crossbow, melee, grenades, and cannons (special weapon).
   - An alarm will sound when certain powerups appear on the map. Pay attention.
   - Pay attention to the tutorial.
   - You will collect banners over the course of the game. They make the area behind your name look cool.
   - There is an achievement list. Get at it.
   - Five game modes! Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Seize the Scrolls (CTF), Duel, and Touchdown.
   - Quests are given during every match that will grant you a bonus if completed.
   - Each character has minor buffs associated with them. You can only play one at first, but as you level up (at levels 7 and 16), you will get extra character slots.
   - There is no reload. Just keep firing until you run out of ammo.


  1. Hey, I'd like to request a review for the game S4 League. Also, how would you review this if the concept didn't matter at all?

    1. Hey, long time no see. If the concept didn't matter at all, simply take out every line of the review that mentioned it. Which means ignore the Concept and Pace sections, the last line of the Taunting section. The score stays the same since the score is based purely on fun value.

      On the subject of the S4 League review, FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF-fine. Watch for it in the coming week. I'll try to do it within the next few days, but college work may get in the way. Excuse the initial, violent reaction.