Beanfun, Gamania and the Cartoon Network have collaborated on a 3D, MMORPG adventure game based around the cartoon TV show of the same name. The game sports eight playable characters and a story that sees players fighting to reunite the animal and human kingdom (in a clean way) since turmoil and war has separated the two, creating a war-torn society.

The game has an interesting story and a strong foundation in which the gameplay is based, the problem is that the execution of the gameplay falters with the uneven pacing and disjointed challenges that take away from the game’s promising mechanics. Still, not all is lost with Hero 108 Online and Beanfun managed to incorporate some noteworthy features to the game that makes it fairly playable.

The game’s concept revolves around a smorgasbord of gameplay elements, including standard grind-and-fetch questing, platforming, realtime beat-e’m-up aspects and skill-based combat. The game engine is actually quite versatile and is a moderate step forward in the world of MMORPGs, given that the game’s realtime combat and combo system give it more of a console-style gameplay feel than the typical MMO point-and-click paradigm.

The highlight of the game’s concept is that since it offers multiple gameplay elements there are a number of challenges and unique obstacles that players encounter as they level-up throughout the game. The downside is that some of the elements are forgone for a lot of the standard kill ‘X’ mob ‘Y’ amount of times throughout the early goings of the game, which is sort of a missed opportunity by the developers to showcase to newcomers how much more original and unique Hero 108 is compared to most other MMOs out there.

Hero 108’s actual gameplay consists of standard console-style controls. Players move around using the arrow keys, a gamepad or WASD; there’s an attack button for basic attack combos, a button for special skills and a button to cycle through special skills. In other words, if you can play a game like Marvel Ultimate Alliance or Justice League Heroes, then you can play Hero 108 Online. The game’s control and gameplay mechanics are extremely intuitive for both new and old-school gamers. Most of the gameplay consists of grinding on nothingness mobs for questing purposes, but in the later parts of the game there are instanced dungeons that requires a bit of platforming skills to dodge traps, dash through obstacles and balance across ledges. The mixed-genre gameplay that fuses in the platforming with the fast-paced fighting is where the game really shines, and makes it feel like more than just a free-to-play cash-in title.

Much like every other MMO out there, gamers will quest, level-up, earn new equipment and weapons, as well as unlock new abilities and features such as mounts and high level skills. It’s funny because the game almost treats itself like a ported game from the Wii or PS2 rather than an actual PC MMO, mainly due to the fact that partying and questing with others actually puts players out of their way as opposed to tying players within the community closer together, like in 2029 Online or Allods Online. The only time it’s actually necessary to party is for high level dungeon runs, which usually turns out to be quite fun with multiple players. Otherwise, the game plays out much like a single-player action-RPG, which isn't bad if you're looking for a console-style action-RPG.

Visually, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, sporting light-hearted, cartoony cel-shaded visuals and the standard assortment of deformed but kid-friendly heroes that most Cartoon Network shows are known for. The environment designs are more of a mixed bag; most of the traversable areas in the game are unremarkable set pieces canvassed by equally unremarkable palette schemes. Nevertheless, the visuals only really come into play when entering an instanced dungeon or viewing the short cut-scenes, where the artwork contains more panache due to the close-ups. Added to this, the dungeons exude more personality with their traps and platforming segments as opposed to the town portals and quest-grinding areas.

Hero 108 has promise as being a long-running online game, especially with its unique combination of the instanced dungeons that incorporate platforming and beat-e’m-up gameplay. However, given its strong appeal for a younger audience and its somewhat limited offering of customization for the eight playable characters on the game, most core gamers would probably find Hero 108 Online a game that doesn’t quite satiate the thirst for a real beat-e’m-up MMO, such as RAN Online. This is mostly due to Hero 108’s strong reliance on grinding and quest farming. Because of this the game’s pace is sorely faltered and many of the platform and fighting segments are overshadowed by the grinding. Still, if you’re the kind of gamer who doesn’t mind pouring a few hours into a game that focuses more on farming than leveling, then Hero 108 Online wouldn’t be a bad way to go.

Players: MMO
Platform(s): PC
Publisher: Gamania Entertainment
ESRB: E10+

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