For Glory is Glorious

Review of For Glory on XBLIG: Buy
This hack-and-slash side-scrolling RPG is quick but quirky fun.

By all rights, I shouldn’t like this game.  It’s extremely short (I beat it in about half an hour) and the hack-and-slash gameplay gets repetitive.  But its quirkiness and addictiveness are just too good to pass up for 80 points.

When I say “addictiveness,” I don’t mean there’s a hook that kept sucking me back in.  It’s addictive in the World of Warcraft or Diablo sense: more killing equals better gear, buying new gear is a rush.

In the game, you play a wannabe hero who sallies forth to fight the orc hordes, armed with only a club and a cloth tunic.  His name isn’t important—in fact, a new name is randomly generated each time he’s brutally slaughtered and respawns at the castle (which happens quite a bit).  Each kill earns additional Glory that can be used to purchase new weapons and armor after each death.

This mechanic is what makes the game so addictive.  After every death a new hero respawns at the beginning of the game, so I spent my first few lives focused on building up and cashing in Glory.  More expensive weapons, armor, and helmets offer dramatically improved attack power and protection.  Enemies that took four or five hits with the club might take only one or two hits with more powerful weapons, so after a couple of deaths, I was easily mowing down early waves of enemies.  Some pieces of gear can also bestow other effects, such as increasing Glory-per-kill, setting enemies on fire, or randomly “rapturing” enemies. (I’m not quite sure what the last one did—it bathed the enemy in a swath of light, but didn’t seem to kill them.)  In addition, the hero can equip one miscellaneous item, which can add other bonuses and effects to the mix.

Equipment also gives this game its whimsical feel.  Each piece of gear is illustrated in the game’s signature cartoony style, so changing the hero’s equipment customizes the look of the hero.  Quirky equipment descriptions set the tone, with terms like “incredible,” “astonishing,” “unbelievable,” and “unholy” in place of precise attack power bonuses.

Once I figured out the rhythm of the gameplay, it became slightly repetitive, but not so much that it overpowered the game’s novelty.  There are five main enemy types: slimes, gnolls (which look like evil cats), orcs, mages, and brutes.  More powerful versions of these creatures—fire slimes, frost gnolls, and dark orcs, for example—begin to spawn further along in the game, but they have the same attack pattern as their weaker brethren.  In addition, catapults located throughout the game randomly fire cannonballs and orcs.

It’s not obvious at first, but the game has an end.  The entire game is made up of a single featureless “level,” but the sky gradually reddens as the hero nears the end—a nice touch, I thought.  There’s a short boss fight which caps off the experience, but I didn’t find it challenging as I’d maxed out my equipment by that point.

I’m giving For Glory a Buy rating.  It’s not the longest or most engaging game, but the cartoony feel and subtle humor is entertaining.  The gear system is an interesting addition to what is essentially a bare-bones hack-and-slash fighting game, and I’d like to see it used in a more complex game.


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