The Quest For Glory series, a giant in the history of PC role-playing (and adventure!) games, has been gone for decades. But this month, their creators have returned with what’s basically a new entry.
It doesn’t carry the official branding, but Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a Quest for Glory game through and through. Co-creators Lori and Corey Cole have brought much of what was so endearing about the originals—a wealth of backstory, role-playing elements, puns—to this new game, which is so QFG it even leans on the old lore.
I first wrote about Hero-U in 2012, so it’s great to see it finally arrive in a polished and playable state six years later, via a long wait and a successful Kickstarter.
There’s a lot to love about Hero-U, but let’s get this out of the way first: this game is not pretty. I guess you could find a charm to it if you looked hard enough, but both the 2D art and 3D models in the game are pretty rough, to the point where I’d even say I prefer the look of the 1990s originals (or the recent tribute Heroine’s Quest) to what’s been made here in the 21st century.
Get past that though and what’s left is pretty interesting. I went into Hero-U expecting a QFG experience, and that’s mostly what I got. Skills were levelled up through repetition, there was a wealth of conversation to take part in, the clock passed in realtime and adventuring would occasionally be broken up by combat. So far so QFG.
But what I wasn’t expecting was that given the game’s setting—you play the role of a hero-in-training, confined to a school for heroes—there was also a touch of Persona and/or Bully to Hero-U as well. I had to attend classes, would be punished if caught wandering the corridors after hours, activities I chose to perform would consume time and there were even classmates to befriend (and try and romance).
All this stuff was fun, but getting between them was a pain. You have to move around the castle manually, and you move slowly, which gets pretty tedious after a while. Thankfully, the Coles are working on improving your movement speed in an upcoming patch.
Outside the role-playing action, writing is the other pillar of a Quest for Glory game, and it’s no different here. Almost everything you can click on has its own little description and story, and I wince at the thought of how much work went into fleshing out every lamp, desk and dagger in the game. Just know that if you want to get chatty in this game there are a lot of puns. Probably too many.
Hero-U isn’t the epic experience you might have been expecting given the series’ history. It’s a more intimate, confined game where a daily routine has been implemented to separate your role-playing from combat. But if you can accept its limitations, this is a fun new way to experience some classic old-school adventuring.