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Review: Hero Siege

At a Glance

ESRB Rating: NR - Not Rated
My Rating: Ages 13 and up
Genre: Arena based hack 'n slash
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2014
Review Published On: August 3rd, 2018
Played on: Thaddeus

Available from:

Humble Store, Steam

Save System:

When you quit the game, your items, experience, and location are saved. However, your progress in the current stage is not, so you'll need to start it over again. Because of this, it might be best to always return to town prior to quitting the game.

Summary of
Major Issues:

Blood and gore are frequently seen, and while some of the gore can be disabled, a lot of it remains.

There are also a lot of references to Satan, demons, and occult practices.


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Monsters, meet monster truck!

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Goods for sale in an underground bunker

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A story of ice and fire

Game Overview

Live in the town of Inoya could hardly be worse. Horrible creatures are constantly attacking what remains of the village, and it's only a matter of time before it falls under the control of Damien, the son of the Devil himself. Thus, the call has gone out for heroes to come and save the day. Unfortunately for them, the heroes that answered their call were just as psychotic and violent as the monsters they'd be fighting.

Welcome to Hero Siege, a game that's designed around the concept of gleefully slaying an uncountable number of hostile creatures and equally insane boss fights. Compared to many games available today, it's extremely simple and straightforward, but that's actually it's biggest strength. You're here to have some fun, not get involved in a serious story.

After creating your hero, you're unceremoniously dumped in the middle of town and sent on your way. The town itself is really just a hub that allows you to manage your equipment in a safe environment before you head into the fray. Once you take the portal to the level of your choice, the game proper begins.

Each stage is a huge arena filled with monsters, traps, and treasures. You're free to wander about gathering up loot, but you do have a goal to work towards. Specifically, you need to slay enough of the local monsters to summon the area's boss. Slay the boss and you'll be rewarded with more loot and a portal to the next stage. From here, it's a case of rinse and repeat to your heart's content.

This also highlights one of Hero Siege's bigger weaknesses: it's based around repetitive grinding, and that's not everyone's cup of tea. Add in the large amount of blood, gore, and demonic references, and you have a game that Christian gamers probably won't be comfortable playing. It might be better to skip this game entirely if you're bothered by the content; after all, there are always other games out there.

Points of Interest

Many unique classes
Currently, there are fifteen unique playable character classes. Each character features their own voice overs, playing style, and abilities. Additionally, new classes are added as DLC every so often. With this many ways to play, there's going to be a character you'll enjoy playing, and with the huge number of save slots available, there's plenty of room for experimentation. The only downside to this is that there is always going to be a class that's easier than others (*cough*Rednecks*cough*), leading to complaints about the game being unbalanced.
Two game modes
When you create a new character, you have the option of designating them as a "Hardcore" character. This means that they won't respawn; the character and everything they have on them will be erased when they die in battle. If you don't want to play a game with permadeath, that's fine too; just leave the option unchecked and you'll respawn in town. You'll just lose the relics that you've collected.
Additional quests
One way to get more experience and loot is to complete quests that the villagers offer. Most of these are randomly generated along with the arenas, but there are a few storyline quests that become available at the start of the game. There are also two holiday quests that can be done during Halloween and Christmas for prizes and achievements.
Up to seven Acts
Each Act consists of five stages, with the fifth stage ending in a special "throne room" boss battle. The main game takes place through the first four Acts, with the remaining three Acts available as DLC. The best part of this design is that the town's portal system allows you to start at any stage you've previously reached using that character. This way, you can either jump around to the stages you want to play, or if you haven't cleared all of the levels yet, you can continue from where you left off.
No game is ever quite the same
There are score of relics you can find and use to fight the forces of evil, and which ones you find is completely random. Likewise, the arenas always have unique layouts, and the boss for each stage is also randomly chosen. Even though the last stage of each Act has a specific boss, the exact form of that boss is still based on luck and chance. Odds are, you'll need to play for a long time to see everything.
Co-op Multiplayer
One of the neat things about this game is that you can play alone or with friends. You don't even need to go online; two players can fight the hordes together using the keyboard and a controller. Playing online is the only way to earn some of the game's achievements, as they are based around friendly competition.
Steam Achievements and trading cards
What would be a better way to commemorate your monster slaying skills than with some achievements? There are more than fifty achievements to earn, many of which require you to find and kill a specific incarnation of a monster. The odds of finding those special versions of the game's bosses increase on higher difficulties, and naturally enough, there's also an achievement for completing the game on each difficulty. The truly hard to get achievements are the ones that require you to beat the game with a Hardcore character.

As a bonus, you earn crystals whenever you meet the conditions for an achievement. Crystals act as a secondary rare currency in game, so collect them when you can.

Also, if you enjoy collecting them, this game has a series of Steam trading cards available.
Repetitive gameplay
Each stage is essentially the same as the next, the main differences being cosmetic. You have a randomly generated arena, lots of monsters, and some traps. Kill enough monsters, and you'll fight the stage's boss. That's the entire game in a nutshell. This might not be enough to keep someone interested long-term.
Death is cheap
Unless you're playing a Hardcore mode character, being killed only means that you're sent back to the town square without any of the relics you've collected. While weaker characters need those relics to survive against stronger foes, powerful characters can bulldoze their way through any of the levels without worrying about dying.

But, that's not quite what I'm talking about when I say "Death is cheap" this time -- Death himself is the final boss of Act II, and in my opinion, his tactics are annoyingly cheap. Compared to everyone else in the game, his attacks are drastically harder to dodge and do so much damage that it can ruin the fun. Several of his attacks can wipe the group almost instantly, leading me to suspect he's programmed this way specifically to prevent Hardcore characters from progressing very far.
Equipment makes the Hero
Perhaps the biggest weakness in the game's design is how your character's effectiveness is tied to the weapon you're using. Most weapons you'll find don't do more than a few hundred points of damage, but there are weapons for nearly every level that cause damage in the tens of thousands. These superweapons quickly transform even the weakest character into an unstoppable powerhouse, and are generally the first things you should seek out when starting a new character.

Unfortunately, this is where the randomization can be a pain, as it's hard to find these gems among the many items that drop.

Concerns and Issues

Magic and rituals
Various playable characters use their magical powers to fight against the monsters, though some are more noteworthy than others. The pyromancer, for example, simply throws fire everywhere, while the necromancer actively creates undead minions out of dead monsters. The demon spawn goes even further, as all of his attacks are infernal spells of some sort. Also, many of the relics you can collect have magical powers or properties. Of course, the monsters use whatever abilities are at their disposal to fight the players, including magic.

On the darker side of things, you'll encounter two types of questionable statues that can be found on the battlefield. If you touch these statues, the character will smear some of their blood on them, and in return, they'll receive a reward of some sort. When you activate the statue that looks like a woman, a voice says "Mother of the Christos" and you'll be given a beneficial reward of some type. The statue that resembles a demon, on the other hand, gives out punishments as well as assistance, making it more of a gamble.

Finally, there is a quest where you must remain on the steps of an altar for a set period of time. During this time, many monsters will spawn and attack you. Once you've been in front of the altar for long enough, the altar disappears and you can receive your reward for completing the quest.
Lots of references to Satan and demons
Probably the most offensive thing about this game is how saturated it is with satanic references and demonic iconography. Each stage features a pentacle somewhere on the battlefield. When you've slain enough of the local monsters (some of which are likely to be demons of some form), this pentacle activates and either summons the area's boss or opens a doorway to the boss fight. Several of the bosses are either demons or demonic in some way, most notably the final boss of Act VI (Satan himself) and the final boss of Act VII (a powerful demon named Mevius ).

Additional references can be found throughout the game. For example, the actual satanic cross is shown on some menus, and the heroes can arm themselves with "satanic"-tier equipment. The Satanic Bible appears as a relic, and many of the other relics are demonic in some way.

Of course, it's only fair to mention that there are references to the holy as well as the profane. The Holy Bible makes an appearance, as do other Christian artifacts. Lastly, the Archangel Gabriel makes an appearance as a bonus boss you can challenge in a special high-level bonus area known as the Wormhole.
Blood and gore
There's quite a bit of both. When you kill an enemy, they burst into a small shower of gore and a bloody corpse is left behind. The gore shower can be disabled by tweaking the game's graphics options to low, but the corpses will stick around as they're needed by the necromancer class as raw materials. Many enemies are already bloody before you engage them, and some of the grosser bosses use blood trails as an attack.

The environment is also typically decorated with the bodies of dead prisoners, bloody spikes, or even rivers of blood. Some of these corpses have been impaled, hung on nooses, or simply left to rot. The degree to which this stuff litters the battlefield depends on where you currently are fighting; ie, the more evil a location is, the more bodies are strewn about.
Compared to everything else, this is the least concerning thing about this game. Some of the characters, notably the Redneck, swear periodically.