Sometimes, you just want to play a lighthearted RPG and for that, few games are better than The Cruel King and the Great Hero.
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Most video game stories fall into certain moulds and you can easily fill in the blanks yourself. So, I wasn't expecting what The Cruel King and the Great Hero has to offer with its unconventional tale where a Demon King dragon raises the daughter of the hero who bested him in battle. Right off the bat, the beautiful artwork and whimsical soundtrack provide the perfect backdrop for the adventure ahead where you play as the daughter who's named Yuu as she ventures forth in the hopes of becoming a renowned hero herself. However, she's unaware that the reason why her father was a hero is that he beat her new adopted dad in battle which sets the stage beautifully. v1d30chumz 18-208-132-74
From then on, Yuu allies herself with a few comrades in the form of the adorable snow fox Rocky, the persuasive Cybat, and the human princess Flora. She seems to get along with everyone from humans to dragons and animals to monsters as she was raised in the wilderness alongside beasts without many humans around but she finds great companionship with Flora. Will that relationship take a turn when Yuu realises her father's past and the struggles that the Dragon King caused for humanity? You'll have to play it to find out.
As I mentioned, I absolutely love the visuals of The Cruel King and the Great Hero and it's the small touches that really make its world come to life. For example, Yuu has a skill in battle where her sword becomes engulfed in flames before she strikes her opponent. In any other game, this would be self-explanatory but here, it's accomplished by the Dragon King lurking in the background who discretely breathes fire onto her sword without her noticing. It's adorable and heartwarming stuff, especially when you see them snuggle up back at their home after a long day of adventuring. Oh, and the Japanese narrator always does a great job of setting the scene.
I know that I didn't discuss the gameplay of The Cruel King and the Great Hero yet but there's really not much to it. You essentially explore series of hallways that compose towns and dungeons while fighting enemies in a basic battle system where you attack and use Special Skills and items. The combat is super-simple yet it's still satisfying, especially after you learn skills that can strike multiple enemies in a line. There is a bit of strategy involved, too, as some enemies are weak to certain skills and you can apply buffs and status ailments to help give you an upper-hand. Up to 2 party members will partake in battle and it's fun to see what everyone is capable of. 😊
Between battles, you'll complete side-quests for NPCs and gather better gear. I enjoyed the quests at the start of the campaign but they eventually became kind of tedious as their rewards began to dwindle compared to the kind of gear that I would find in dungeons and shops. Speaking of which, equipping better stuff is rewarding such as when you find an accessory that restores your health at the start of each turn which is quite valuable. On the other hand, traversing the same hallway-like level designs becomes rather tiresome after a while. I also wish there were more gameplay elements added to help mix things up such as a crafting system or mini-games.
It may not be the deepest RPG but The Cruel King and the Great Hero is certainly one of the most heartwarming. In fact, I adored its story and cast of characters so much that I highly recommend it to anyone with a soft spot for unconventional lighthearted tales.
- + Simple RPG gameplay with satisfying skills, equipment, and combat
- + Heartwarming tale and fun characters
- + Superb artwork and excellent music
- - Most areas are too hallway-like
- - Side-quests can be a bit tedious
- - Could use more gameplay elements