IGN Preview of Dawn of Heroes
Turn based strategy games are engaging, primarily because of the depth of tactics that can be wielded against your computerized opponents. Whether it's surrounding enemies, using special abilities or brute force, there's a variety of ways that you can destroy your opponent. However, these games can also provide a lot of frustration for players, as enemies will frequently gang up on and demolish units without hesitation, making some battles completely unfair. This criticism can frequently move players away from the genre, keeping them from enjoying anything with the story or the gameplay itself. Wicked Studios and Majesco have clearly spent some time trying to address this issue while providing a quirky and amusing story with their upcoming strategy game, Dawn of Heroes.
The backstory of Dawn of Heroes is set in a land called Brimthule, which was recently attacked by a seemingly invincible beast called Ragnakore. Sallying forth to confront the threat to his lands was King Leroy, who fought valiantly but discovered that his attacks were useless. As a last ditch maneuver, he turned himself and Ragnakore into statues, with the hopes that heroes would discover the creature's weakness and destroy it before the kingdom was destroyed. Unfortunately, after the king's sacrifice, his six barons split the realm up into individual baronies, complicating the search and making life harder on its citizens. A year has passed, and while most people have let the memory of the king's deeds fade with time, a magical belt that tells prophecies (I'm not making that up) has not, and has sought out two mercenaries as unlikely heroes to fulfill the destiny of destroying Ragnakore. As they move throughout the land, they'll acquire more party members, creating a formidable squad to take on enemies.
Players can bring up to five different party members into each mission, and at the start of battle, your party will be automatically positioned on the battlefield. You command your heroes with your stylus, and while each character has a specific move range, you're able to move as much as you want to within that range until you decide to take an action, like wielding a support ability to heal or power up friends, or launch an attack. Attacks come in one of three types: physical, magical and affliction, and both your parties and enemies have varying levels of resistance against these kinds of attacks based on their character types. For example, a guardian, who's a melee based character, is strong against physical attacks, but a controller (akin to a voodoo priest or priestess) is usually better against affliction.
There is a rather significant twist when it comes to combat, however, that you'll need to pay attention to when facing off against large groups of enemies: Dawn of Heroes enforces a fair play rule to prevent any unit from being ganged up on. Thanks to the fair play rule, any unit on the battlefield can only be attacked twice before they're deselected as a viable target. This provides some virtual immunity for the rest of the round, so if your unit survives both attacks, an ally can restore their health or they'll have a chance to move out of danger. There are two potential exceptions to the fair play rule, however. The first is if there's only one enemy left on the battlefield, at which point it's fair to launch into them. The other exception is if you face off against what's designated as a champion enemy, like a dragon, which isn't subjected to the fair play rule because going against them isn't a fair fight to begin with.
At the end of a fight, your party will receive experience points that will help them level up their characters, providing additional hit points and abilities for your heroes. You won't have to worry about your most frequently used characters outdistancing your reserve characters, as any party member that you have, whether used in battle or not, receives experience for fights. What's more, any new heroes that join or are hired in towns at mercenary guilds will automatically level adjust to fit into the roster of characters you've acquired. This is particularly useful because players can constantly return to previously completed battles to farm gold and experience for harder battles to come, as well as potentially receive items from enemies that can be equipped to strengthen characters or be sold for a tidy profit, potentially to gain new party members to help you fulfill your destiny as a hero.
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