Hero of Sparta was one of the first games for the iPhone, and after two years it’s back with a brand new sequel. Hero of Sparta II picks up right where the original left off bringing Argos back from Hades clutches in Hell, but now dealing with new attacks from Hades back on earth. Now you face a new hack n slash adventure that looks to build upon everything of the original.
There are 12 levels to explore across eight different environments, and many different bosses along the way. There is a new control system that gives you a pad for your attacks so you can direct your attacks rather than simply tapping a button. The game features optimizations for the iPhone 4, and separate optimizations for the 3GS.
Hero of Sparta II throws you right in the action from the get go, and grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. There’s never a dull moment with constant need to hack ‘n slash for survival. On your journey you’ll face tons of souls, and so many different mythical beasts you’ll have a tough time keeping track.
The game is definitely challenging as you’re facing multiple enemies at once. While you’re concentrating on certain enemies the others will get in multiple attacks so you need to be careful, and attack in as wide a scope as possible. You will be going along nicely, and then come across especially challenging stretches that you may lose a few times, but you can always retry, and you need to remember to upgrade your weapons.
Beating this entire game will take you awhile to say the least. Playing through the twelve deluxe levels across eight environments will feel like an extensive journey across multiple hours. The big enemy boss battles are great to break up the typical hack ‘n slash, and they provide great kill animations.
The artwork of the environments and characters is great, and it really is quite amazing it’s running on a phone. The attack animations of various sword swipes are great as well especially when you get the hang of the controls for fluid combos. The game doesn’t run as smoothly as you would like though, which is discussed below.
The game is good, but it’s not perfect mainly by giving you the same goal every step of the way. You’re always swiping the virtual attack stick while jumping, rolling, and shielding as much as possible. You’ll get new weapons, and magical powers, but it’s still the same mechanic over and over which gives you a swiping party similar to a button masher.
A really serious problem is the focus kill system which works well for gigantic monsters, but is annoying for the regular enemies. As you’re swiping away for the kill when an enemy is close to death the focus kill button appears at the bottom corner of the attack stick. There are many times when you want to dispose of an enemy quickly, but you’re finger while swiping naturally touches the focus kill button.
The focus kill is a separate animation that takes a little longer, and breaks up the action of the game. It’s great to see a couple times, but after the hundredth time you’ll absolutely hate the feature. The positioning of the button will guarantee you will see it over and over, and will want desperately to avoid touching it while swiping.
There are massive load times for this game so it’s not the perfect game for a few spare minutes, as you’ll be waiting for the game to load in that time. The cut scenes are bothersome at best with poor voice acting, and they just slow the game down as you wait for more loading, and switching of camera angles. You can skip scenes, but it still takes time as it launches part of the cut scene, and then has to go back to regular play.
On my 3GS unjailbroken running 4.0.1 after playing multiple sessions after multiple reboots of the device there still were problems. The game stutters along quite often when you’re in full combat mode. You can see the game progress frame by frame with huge slowdowns whenever the action contains attacking of three or more enemies which is for the entirety of the game.
The game feels unfinished or as though the 3GS was trying to run higher quality visual assets than it’s capable of. The game doesn’t run smoothly for sure, and it really takes away from an otherwise enjoyable experience.
Hero of Sparta II builds on mosts aspect of the original giving you a brand new experience. It’s a lengthy journey that is filled with action and fun that once you start you’ll want to finish. The game has a few issues especially around the visuals that are nicely designed, but don’t run the smoothest.
For $6.99 Hero of Sparta II is worth it for the enjoyable action, but does have some glaring issues keeping it from being ranked higher.