The Hero Project: Redemption Season Review: Did You Ever Know That You're My Hero?
Hello Readers, as some of you may know, I generally refrain from reviewing video games. I find that, more often than not, I get twenty minutes in and decide that a game just isn't right for me. This has happened so often that I've grown close to swearing off spending money on video games all together, a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone who hoped to escape their mundane life via their computer screen for at least a few hours. However, I've found that I have been soiled, not by the release of actually entertaining games, but more by the promise of control in games that have been released up to date. Tell Tale has promised a series of episodic games in which your choices matter, but that end up primarily deciding what skin is worn by the NPCs that hate or love you. Mass Effect swore that our decisions would effect in game resolutions, but then just gave us one last choice that changed the color of the end game. However, I have found the game series that provides the control I, and you gamers like me, have sought for so long, and that game is anything related to The Hero Project.
The Hero Project is an entirely text based game, with no graphic simulations of anything. In it's simplest description it is a choose your own adventure interactive novel. However, unlike the old school paper backs, you are incapable of saving you page and going back when you make the wrong decisions. You are committed to whatever choices you make, and while this may seem like a bad thing, imagine how much more intense your Hardy Boys interactive novels might have been if you had no way of cheating. Every choice matters, from what combat style you use to fight off competitors, to the gender and sexual preference you assign yourself. Speaking of gender and sexual preference, it also happens to be one of the few games that allows you to play as whatever you personally identify with, which gives it an entirely new level of personalization.
In Mass Effect, the player was allowed to choose their gender, but you were forbidden from having male focused same sex relationships until the third game, and even then its depth was a joke compared to the heterosexual alien relationships that were opened up to you as a player. The Hero Project holds no such limitations. As you progress through the game it asks for your gender, providing you with options ranging the full gamut of personalization, from heterosexual male to asexual transgender, and everything in between.
The game also allows you to choose every approach to each issue. It tells you from the get go that you have varying animal related powers from day to day, that your younger sister is in pain due to a similar power base, and that you need to win a reality show super hero competition in order to pay for her treatments. Aside from that you decide your approach to social situations, your tactics in combat, and your general attitude toward your other competitors.
The best part is that there is real danger in your decisions. Choose the wrong path, or act too wishy washy toward one direction or another, and you may find yourself voted out of the competition, or knocked out by competitors before even reaching the semi-finals.
There's no question that there are problems with the game. Some of the characters sound like robots during a reading, but that may be intentional given everything I know about their personalities. There also seem to be a few repetitions of phrases every now and then, and a couple interspersed spelling errors, but overall the scenes are quite well put together, and actually manage to draw out a few laughs and actual emotions from the reader, so long as the player can look past a few minor spelling errors.
Bear in mind, that this may not be a game for everyone. I can play a first person shooter through from start to finish and not be satisfied, because I have been spoiled by overzealous marketing. However, if you're looking for a game that actually lets you make decisions, and that actually lets every user play as themselves, instead of forcing them in to normative classes, than The Hero Project: Redemption Season is for you, and it's certainly good enough for me to warrant buying the other episodes of the game. Did I mention it's stupidly cheap among today's modern market, costing three bucks at the time that I purchased it? That's not including the optional, but completely unnecessary, MeChip advice software that helps your character survive the game.
Final Say: Play It
(P.S.) - This is a sequel story to the previous Hero Project Game. It does not require that the player have played through the original, but you can import your previous character, and there is certainly background info that might come easier to veterans of the first episode.