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Class of Heroes Anniversary Edition – Review

Class of Heroes is an old-school dungeon crawler RPG from Zero Div, originally released for the PSP in 2008 and now remastered for current generation consoles and PC. I generally tend to enjoy RPG grinding and have heard of this series mentioned alongside the likes of Etrian Odyssey as hallmarks of the genre so when the chance came to review the game I jumped on it. However, as they always say “never meet your heroes”, the reality of the situation is a far cry from what many fans have proclaimed through the years.

Official artwork of the 4 "main" characters you start with in game

Let’s get this out of the way first, if you want a story then look elsewhere. Some basic quests offer a little world-building or insight into the supporting cast of teachers and NPC students, but this is very much a mechanics-driven game, and those mechanics are both very deep and very frustrating. A great deal of your play time won’t be spent mapping out dungeons or in battle like you’d expect, but in layers upon layers of obtuse menus, sorting your items, attempting alchemy, or attempting to appraise every single item you find. 

The art gallery for Class of Heroes

This game is riddled with utterly baffling design decisions and there is practically no quality of life to this gameplay. As a couple of examples, you have to appraise every item you find – even if you’ve found it before. Unless you pay for this service, it is only a chance of success with the possibility of even inflicting the fear status if you fail. 

Menu for identifying items in inventory

Another thing is that if your party wipes in a dungeon, you usually return to the school and have to create a new party to venture forth again and attempt to rescue your lost characters. Except there’s a boss fight which appears as a random level and if you lose you instead get a Game Over. This is completely contrary to the gameplay loop previously established and feels like it’s there simply to hurt the player’s morale rather than as a challenge. 

Battle screen for the aforementioned boss

The art at least is very cute, with very bright and distinct character profiles, making them very recognisable at a glance. It also has quite decent music that evokes the feelings of adventure and joy at the academy, and tension within the danger of the dungeons. The voiceover is purely in Japanese and is passable. No performance is offensive in any way but there’s nothing particularly standout. 

The main menu at home base

Controls are very good and easy to understand, however, you have to go digging through the aforementioned menus to find out what they are. A simple quality-of-life upgrade would be for the tutorial section at the beginning to cover more of this, however, this appears to just be the PSP original repackaged and with a graphical touch-up, with no other improvements in sight. This is a shame as Class of Heroes 2G does include numerous improvements to the formula that would be easy to implement and drastically improve the experience.

The battle screen for Class of Heroes

In all, while I can’t say I disliked all my time with this Class of Heroes and it does show glimpses of greatness, I cannot in good conscience recommend it. It works quite well as a second screen game where I could zone out and simply press attack and button mash my way through, but I would say the only reason to play it is from a gaming history perspective. 

Class of Heroes Anniversary Edition is available alongside Class of Heroes 2G physically, but if you decide to buy digitally, I would save your money and buy the second game instead. You can find my review here

Platforms: PC/Switch/PS5

Developer: ZeroDiv

Publisher: PQube





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