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GUARDIAN HEROES



 
General Description

Guardian Heroes is an arcade style 2D brawler developed by Treasure and released for Xbox Live Arcade in October 2011. Players control one of four characters, each of which has a unique move set, throughout the game's campaign. The stages are made up of scrolling 2D stages which have three planes that players can move between to battle foes. While the game seems initially like a fairly straightforward brawler, it actually has a highly advanced set of controls and each character has a wide array of magic spells, attacks and defensive maneuvers at their disposal. In addition, a character levels up over the course of a game and players can place skill points in attack, defense, speed, magic skills or luck after each stage. The game moves quickly, and players start new characters from scratch each time, leaving players room to experiment any way they like from game to game.

The game's campaign features many branching paths. Usually at the end of a stage players will need to make a choice that will lead to one of several different stages; it is impossible to see every stage in the game without playing multiple times. This naturally leads to many different endings, which are also impacted by a straightforward karma system. The game also includes an "arcade mode" which pits a fresh character against endless waves of foes, and a versus mode which - impressively - can pit up to twelve players against each other simultaneously.
 
Grade by Game Type Overall Grade
C- C-
Ratings at a Glance
 
Facts: 1 Title: GUARDIAN HEROES
Creativity: 6 Publisher: Sega
Business: 1 Developer: Treasure Co. Ltd.
People: 1 Year: 2011
Problem: 5 Genre: Action Arcade
Simulation: 0 Strengths: popularity, creativity
Popularity: 8 Platforms: Xbox Live
Extra: 0  
Rating Details

Classroom Facts


Classroom facts aren't present in Guardian Heroes outside some basic math when allocating experience points. There is also text-only dialogue between characters in most chapters.

Creativity & Imagination

By the Player:

Players begin the game by choosing one of four characters, each of which has their own strengths and movesets. They match basic archetypes - one has defensive and healing spells, another is all strength, a third is quick and deals light attacks - but they can all be stretched into any play style over the course of the game as players level up. This is where players have the most creative control: each level gives them a point to place in one stat, and since each character starts with fresh templates at the start of each game, players have plenty of stuff to toy around with.
Outside of leveling players have plenty of freedom while playing the game. This is largely due to each character’s large and intricate move pool, consisting of several types of attacks, combos, aerial maneuvers, blocking moves, dodges and magic spells. The effectiveness of each depends on how players have built their characters and the type of enemies currently in play. Because there are so many options it is easy even for players that use the same characters to have very different play styles.

By the Developer:

Guardian Heroes is truly bizarre on a number of levels. In appearance the game looks like a standard 2D brawler, but its combat mechanics are close to that of a fighting game and experience points and character customization are a large part of the game's appeal. These are elements not usually mixed together, but they work here remarkably well, resulting in a coherent, eccentric game that continues to be rewarding and challenging over many playthroughs. A wide array of branching stages, an over the top versus mode and an endless challenge mode also explore its mechanics in different ways.

The game has an iconic soundtrack and a colorful, distinct art style that is enhanced in this new release of the game. The game's original graphic style is also available through a menu.

Business Skills

Business skills are limited to the placement of experience points after leveling up. Spreading these points out effectively is challenging, but games go by quickly so players are free to experiment with different builds each time.

People Skills

The game's campaign can (and probably should) be played by up to four players, who simultaneously move through the game's branching storyline and develop the game's four characters from scratch each time. Some characters have spells that can be used to support the others, though generally working together in Guardian Heroes is about pinning down the right enemies and splitting up the screen's real estate effectively. It's not the most strategic game, but its fast-paced, frantic stages give the game's co-op a unique charm.

The game's versus mode pits players against each other, which works well as the characters and mechanics are so similar to those in a competitive fighting game to begin with. However the true appeal of the versus mode is probably that it supports up to twelve combatants crammed into one screen; players can choose nearly any enemy or minor character they've met in campaign mode to control in these frantic battles.

Problem Solving

Problem solving in Guardian Heroes means figuring out how to use a character's move set to deal with foes. Players need to learn the rhythm of the game's various enemies to know when to use light or heavy attacks, when to use powerful moves to finish an enemy or lighter ones to keep groups at bay, how to use each character's unique spells and when to dodge or block enemy attacks. Rather than allowing players to move up and down the game is split into three planes which players can jump between at will. This allows players to use 3D space to maneuver around foes while keeping the game's 2D combat mechanics perfectly tight.

As players learn the system they'll be able to further appreciate a given character's stats and move set and will be able to level a character up more to their preferences and play style. The game's arcade-style replayability and wide range of options regarding move sets and statistics gives it a unique depth and offers players that enjoy its mechanics plenty of content to bite into.

Simulation

Guardian Heroes is not a simulation game.

Popularity

Guardian Heroes has received mostly positive reviews. Some critics suggest that the game's design hasn't aged particularly well, while most others praise its eccentricities and claim that the game is still a masterpiece.

Controls & Options

One significant option in Guardian Heroes is that players can choose between remixed mode or original mode, which changes many of the game's mechanics to match those of the original Sega Saturn version of the game. This removes certain defensive techniques and alters various controls, as well as changing the game's graphics to more closely match the original's. Besides this there are various audio and visual options available. The game's campaign offers three difficulty levels.

Tips

Guardian Heroes was rated Teen by the ESRB with descriptors for Violence and Blood.