Review: Class of Heroes 1&2: Complete Edition (Nintendo Switch)

Class of Heroes 1&2: Complete Collection is a pairing of two dungeon crawlers that originally saw release on the PlayStation Portable. Class of Heroes: Anniversary Edition and Class of Heroes 2G: Remaster Edition comprise this package, and both are also available individually. Although Bill and I each took a game, we’ll review the collection as a whole because our thoughts are largely similar, and because it’ll be best if we work through those thoughts together.

Kirk: Both games in this collection are the type of dungeon crawler where you move through levels block by block, mapping them out (automatically) as you go. You’ll encounter monsters, of course, with which you engage in turn-based battles. Your squad is composed of students from either Particus or Crostini Academy, depending upon which game you’re playing.

You’ll choose your team based on the various races and classes, or you can create your own student (more on that in a bit). Your professors then send you off to the labyrinths to either learn your lessons or die.

Of course, this is provided you’re even able to get off campus. Bill, would you like to get anything off your chest?

Bill: I suppose my first thought on Class of Heroes is that it’s really upending my preconceptions of what a “game” is. Because my assumption would be that a “game” would have “rules” and be “comprehensible” to “play.”

Class of Heroes: Anniversary Edition starts with the well-worn trope that it’s the first day of school! But you’re at a school for adventurers! After some opening ceremonies dialogue, you’re not so much “dumped” into play as “beaten about the skull with a lead pipe” then “bound and thrown into a sack,” followed by the game “rowing you out into the middle of the Swamp of Interface Madness,” then giving you a hearty boot off the side.

Kirk: It will come as no comfort to anyone that I had a similar experience with Class of Heroes 2G. I get that old games didn’t tend to hold your hand at the start the way games do these days, but this isn’t just a lack of hand-holding, it’s criminal neglect.

Bill: I (and I mean this “literally” quite literally) literally could not figure out what I was supposed to do at this point. It quickly became apparent that when this game initially came out, there had to be some kind of printed manual that explained what all the character classes did, what their abilities were, and the best way to use them. I finally managed to put some kind of party together, got stuck, and was asked to form another party.

I’ve played a lot of RPGs in my day. I’m familiar with the concept. But just trying to get off those initial screens felt like trying to navigate an ATM in Spanish for a Chinese bank. It was impenetrable.

Kirk: It’s especially annoying because this is the Anniversary Edition you’re playing. I played Class of Heroes 2G: Remaster Edition, and although it wasn’t quite as bad for me, the orientation process could’ve used a bigger overhaul.

In 2G, you’re welcomed to school by a classmate who’s not terribly helpful, then told to create your character. Or to not create your character. It’s up to you, I guess? But if you do create one, there’s nothing to explain what any of the options are or how they’ll affect your abilities. You also don’t know which classes and skills your classmates will have, so you could end up with someone you really just don’t need. Which I did. So, I started over and skipped the character creation part; the game gives you a balanced group at the start.

But that doesn’t make things any easier. You can accept assignments to complete in the dungeons, but there are other school locations to visit. Should you? I don’t know. Unlike most games that let you know whether a particular area or feature is available yet, Class of Heroes just lets you meander aimlessly.

The same happened when I actually entered a dungeon, as there was no map—nothing to tell me where I’d been and where I was going.

Thinking this couldn’t be right, I backed out to campus and found I had to manually buy a map in order to make a map. And even then, the map is buried so deep below the items you can’t afford that you could be forgiven for leaving the store before you even find it.

All of this just to get started. But how’s the gameplay once you’re actually able to play the game? Bill?

Bill: I turned to the highest authority of our time—some people on the Internet—for help, but even they could not avail me. All of the commentary about the game, most of which was from a different port, was from people explaining that this was a super-hard game that was all about grinding levels, with little-to-no story, and that this was the point. You had to be the kind of person who enjoys extremely frustrating games because overcoming the challenge of it was the whole idea.

Kirk: It’s telling that the description of Class of Heroes: Anniversary Edition explains, “A true hero knows when to fight and when to flee!” So, skipping gameplay is a feature, then? And your game came with randomly generated levels, so there’s not even the comfort of familiarity. Class of Heroes 2G gave me more traditional, static maps (over 100 of them, in fact) that were at least fun to clear out.

Anything at all good about your game?

Bill: The only other thing I can tell you about Class of Heroes: Anniversary Edition was that I liked the anime style of the characters. They had a fun, cute style that would be a wonderful addition to a game that was fun, cute, and in any way accessible.

Kirk: Same here on the artwork in Class of Heroes 2G: Remaster Edition, even if the character outwork outshines the gameplay visuals. They dropped the ball with the audio, too. The voice acting is fine, but the sound effects always felt disconnected from anything that’s actually going on around you. They were more alarming than anything, like the fabricated screams in a beachtown funhouse.

With the help of a YouTube video and the actual PSP manual I found online, I was eventually able to get over the game’s initial hump. Unfortunately, what lay beyond wasn’t really worth the effort. Maybe it would’ve been in 2010, but there are so many other games out there now that serve up dungeon crawling in a tastier manner. Class of Heroes 2G: Remaster Edition just made me want to start playing those. So I am.

Although this was admittedly more of a trauma support session than a review, we’ll still rate these games for those who skip straight to that. Bill gives Class of Heroes: Anniversary Edition a 3/10 (poor). I feel that Class of Heroes 2G: Remaster Edition deserves a bit more: 5/10 (average). So, if you really want to dig into something old to find something new, we at least suggest going with just 2G. Before you do that, though, let me know; I have some better dungeon crawling suggestions for you.

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