Electronic Arts has brought the popular Heroes Lore game series to the iPhone, with new features and environments in an immersing hack and slash RPG. Two fierce nations are engaged in a deadly war, and you must fight for one of them to gain renown and wealth. Regardless of whether you choose Neo-Soltia or Askra, there's plenty in Heroes Lore: Stigmata of Gaia to keep you entertained.
At the start of a new game, you get to choose to play as either Kei or Rits and choose a fighting class for them that enhances certain skills. Your adventure then begins in a game that claims to have more than 30 hours of play time. There are 6 main game areas, each with several maps, as well as 4 cities that serve as centers of trade. In order to succeed, you are equipped with 2 weapons, ranging in 5 classes from swords to guns. The game includes a multiplayer mode in which you can put your character's skills to test against real people around the world.
Heroes Lore contains most things that you would expect from a well designed RPG game and perhaps more. There is a detailed level up system that allows you to wield stronger equipment, improve weapon skills, and increase character attributes. Apart from the main storyline, additional side quests can be found in cities that will reward you with bonus items and potions. The 6 game areas are actually quite large, as each one has several connected areas. A simple battle system makes it enjoyable to fight the hordes of enemies in caves, forests, deserts, and other environments.
The game also includes several features that make it stand out from many other RPGs. A multiplayer mode lets you fight against both AI and real people in 1 on 1 or 2 on 2 battles. In each match, your goal is to knock out the opponent by using primary attacks and skills. In campaign mode, an excellent recipe system lets you creat potions and equipment by collecting ingredients and pieces. For example, you can create a normal health potion by gathering 2 red potions for no cost. In some more tranquil areas, enemies such as the henge will not attack unless you hurt them, but some, such as the man eating flower, will strike if you're within its vicinity.
A great part about Heroes Lore is that it contains 2 sides to a brilliant storyline that's fun playing no matter which empire you're fighting for. The enemies, especially the bosses, look beautiful despite their malevolence. The graphics are very polished, with interior rooms to buildings in cities, as well as interactive objects such as treasure chests. The background music changes with the tempo of the game, increasing in intensity during critical battles and cutscenes.
Heroes Lore: Stigmata of Gaia only has one control option that can be really awkward and inaccurate. The movement pad in the left hand corner disappears when released, and trying to move in a certain direction becomes extremely painful. When going into a new area, you'll sometimes go back to the map that you came from because of sheer impreciseness. This makes it difficult to navigate around trees and monsters, and can lead to death when you're at a low health. While the key to striking effectively lies in performing chains of attacks, the placement of the controls does not allow for many combos to be executed.
The game's animation is lacking as well. Your character walks in such a peculiar way that it almost makes you cringe. They'll also bump into almost every obstacle possible, making it extremely frustrating to move around. Some enemies also don't spawn until you're already very close to them and can cost you a nice chunk of health.
The 2 storylines to play through lets you go through the game twice with an almost entirely new experience each time. As in similar games such as Seed and Inotia, awkward controls are dead weights on what would be a fantastic game. Heroes Lore is worth considering for $1.99 and cannot be fully recommended until EA adds or improves control systems.