I Am The Hero Review
I Can Be Your Hero, Baby
I’ve never been a huge fan of fighting games but, sweet Hadouken, I Am The Hero is probably one of the few that I’ve actually enjoyed quite a bit. It still contains a lot of issues I’ve encountered with other titles in the genre; namely, it’s overly rigid control scheme, but I Am The Hero’s gorgeous aesthetic style and hyperactive combat had me hooked into its campaign for the entire four hours it took to complete it.
Clearly inspired by the stylistic showmanship of revenge exploitation movies, I Am The Hero throws you into a neon-soaked world filled with caricatured enemies to beat the living daylights out of. Ironically, I had no idea why I was fighting these people, or what even the heck was going on, for that matter.
There appears to be a story but any of the details quite literally get lost in translation; that translation being the conversion of the writing from Chinese Mandarin to English. It makes for some unintentionally humorous dialogue, but any semblance of a cohesive narrative is nary to be found here. Nobody’s expecting the next Citizen Kane, of course, but a brooding tale would have made a suitable fit for the heavy, atmospheric visuals of I Am The Hero, so it feels like a bit of missed opportunity.
But, holy cow, the combat. Crazyant rig your first character with a set of moves so extensive and visibly badass that playing as him is – for the most part – an absolute blast, should you be able to accommodate the inflexible controls. You can kick people into the air, smack them into the floor, and generally lay into them with great speed and impact; racking up combos well into the hundreds with relative ease.
These punchy, frenzied and adrenaline-fuelled battles feel like a mix between Smash Bros, Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, Street Fighter and The Matrix. Unfortunately, the hotkeys aren’t quite as responsive as I’d like them to be, and pulling off even simple moves can go awry due to the slightest miscommunication in directional input, making it tempting to just button mash all too often. This probably won’t be an issue for fighting game pros, but neophytes may find I Am The Hero a tad too inaccessible in that regard.
I said ‘first character’ earlier for a reason, by the way. While you can unlock a bunch of new characters as you progress throughout the campaign, these are merely the one-dimensional enemy types that you normally find yourself fighting against.
Naturally, their move sets are nowhere near as extensive or developed as that of the eponymous “Hero” himself. They make for a fun novelty, but playing as them feels both ineffective and repetitive. Luckily, the co-op options – which naturally doubles the entertainment of the combat – allows both parties to play as the same character, so no one is left stuck with the runt of the litter, so to speak.
This co-operative feature is a double-edged sword, however. For starters, you can only enjoy the game with friends in the “workshop”; a wave based mode which throws an endless amount of enemies at you in defined environments. This is certainly satisfactory for practicing your moves on an infinite number of human punch bags, but the campaign’s pace and diversity still represent the cream of I Am The Hero’s crop.
“These punchy, frenzied and adrenaline-fuelled battles feel like a mix between Smash Bros, Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, Street Fighter and The Matrix.”
I also experienced an unnatural amount of lag when playing online, especially when I wasn’t hosting the lobby. For a game which already suffers from partly unresponsive controls, this issue makes I Am The Hero almost unplayable when it occurs.
In theory, I Am The Hero is a sexy, quirky and fast-paced beat-em-up, but I just wish the mechanical redundancies wouldn’t so frequently hold it back from consistently packing the punch that is promised by the game’s on-screen visuals.
I Am The Hero feels like an experience that could really be something with a bit more of a touch-up in development, so perhaps this remains an experience to keep in mind as further updates and patches come out.