|Publisher: S2Games Genre: Strategy & War|
|Min OS X: 10.4|
|Heroes Of Newerth|
September 6, 2010 | Jon Carr
Requirements:Mac OS X: 10.4 | CPU: Intel Processor | RAM: 1 GB | Graphics: 128MB fully OpenGL 2.0 / GLSL 1.20 compliant Geforce or Radeon
The inspiration for Heroes of Newerth has a long history. Based on a 2003 mod for Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft 3 called Defense of the Ancients (or DotA), it became so immensely popular that full fledged games were based on the idea, starting with Gas Powered Games Demigod in early 2009, and Riot Games League of Legends released later in the year. Now S2 Games, whose former credits include both Savage titles, have entered the DotA fray with Heroes of Newerth.
For those unfamiliar with DotA the concept is simple. In this Strategy/RPG blend, you pick a hero and starting from one corner of the map fight your way to the enemy's base. In your way are, of course, enemy heroes, defense towers, and the AI's continually spawning waves of units or creeps in predefined lanes. Each lane has a series of defense towers leading up to the enemy base. Destroy the towers and then destroy the enemy base. You level up your hero by killing other enemy heroes, creeps, or destroying towers, and then in standard RPG fashion upgrade your abilities and equipment to become more powerful and effective. A tutorial is available to get you familiar, and the loading screens offer handy tips on gameplay.
Heroes of Newerth lives up to its name by having a large selection of heroes to choose from. From the towering Behemoth to the diminutive yet deadly Nymphora, there's something to suit your style of play. Each hero is placed on a side, The Hellbourne or The Legion, as well as a category, either strength, agility or intelligence. You can mix and match either side's heroes on a team, and no hero is particularly "better" than another, though some heroes are more effective versus certain foes. Each hero has three abilities plus an ultimate skill, as well as six slots to hold equipment and items. Some heroes are easy to manage, with only one or two active skills, while others require precise micromanaging to get the best out of them. With over 70 heroes and counting it will take you some time to work through them all and find your favorites, but it's always fun to try a new hero, and if you really want there is a practice mode in which you play solo and test out skills and items.
The gameplay is straightforward, but deceptively nuanced. Over time you will discover what constitutes a balanced hero team, what items to buy, when to push or to retreat, and the locations of ambush spots on the map. As a new player expect to die frequently, but you will learn through experience or through the friendly suggestions of teammates. There is a strong community, but it can be a harsh introduction with more experienced players yelling at you, or expecting you to do certain things based on the hero you picked. Still, it's not hard to find players willing to offer advice, or a clan you can join and play with, or players you'll want to add to your friends list.