Players engage in post-apocalyptic exploration and turn-based party combat in this single-player escapade from the makers of the Age of Sail series. Designed in the isometric RPG style of Fallout, Baldur's Gate, and similar "Infinity Engine"-styled classics, Metal Heart has players guiding a team of up to six adventurers through the unwelcoming wilderness and wastelands of an alien planet. Their cargo ship damaged in an asteroid field, Captain Lathan and his co-pilot Cheris are forced to crash-land on the remote planet of Protion. As they begin to search for a way home, they realize that they are not alone. Protion is inhabited by humans, cyborgs, and mutants, most of whom were brought to the planet to work as slaves in secret mining colonies. Since the mining colonies run the only ships capable of leaving the planet, Lathan and Cheris must infiltrate the organization and find allies among the oppressed.
The Fallout games are considered two of the best role-playing games ever, so it seems to make sense that games that clone the attributes of those games should be widespread but they aren't. Some games use certain aspects, but there have been precious few post-apocalyptic games made to date, none of which have used a turn-based combat system.
If this is what a 2005 follow-up to Fallout looks like, there probably won't be another.
Perhaps that sounds harsh? But this game, while having many positive attributes, just isn't fun. Movement is painfully slow. Minutes to cross a region isn't out of the question, and when you get a quest that makes you go through three regions and back you have at least a 30 minute quest. Pretty much all are simple, one-dimensional Fed Ex tasks where you deliver an item, collect an item, or kill someone. It's all a recipe for a drab and boring game.
The text translation and dialogue is just plain awful. The voice acting is ok, but the actors seem to be reading words and phrases they don't understand, and often don't match the subtitles onscreen. Some of it is unintentionally funny, but often times it makes instructions or plot points confusing or difficult to understand. The game has very little background sound. There isn't the abundant environmental sound found in other recent games. The music in Metalheart is techno based, but really doesn't work very well, and often sounds random.
The graphics and stability of the game are actually very good. The areas are well rendered and the characters show surprising amounts of detail given the isometric perspective. Also, unlike so many other recent games, I didn't have a single crash or major bug. A couple of minor problems did occur, though. I had one quest where the target walked off-screen once I attacked and I was never able to complete the killing task. Also, I went back to check if the text to dialogue in the tutorial was as bad as I remembered (they were), but then I played from a loaded game for over an hour, at which point I found that the save button was not available. I lost all of that progress, and then repeated the process and found that if I did the tutorial and exited before completing it, I couldn't save the game. Other than those things, the flow of the game works pretty well, and the game feels complete. There is no multiplayer so replayability is limited, especially since you don't choose your starting characters or classes, and have limited choices through the game.
Metalheart seems finished and well put together unlike other recent European imports. However, it just isn't fun. The story is reasonable, but the pacing and lack of depth in quests made it a chore to play for any amount of time. I cannot recommend this gam, unless you are a really big fan of Fallout who will endure anything to recapture the feeling of that game. Just to be sure of their value, I went back to some of those classics like Fallout and Arcanum. I still love those games, and when I returned to Metalheart, I still found it fell flat.
This game is rated M for language, violence, blood and gore. The blood and violence are presented in isometric style similar to other 2D role-playing games since Baldur's Gate, and in general the game is fairly generic and inoffensive. A mature teenager could handle the blood and violence without any issues. I had a much bigger issue with the language and sexual overtones. I have no problem with mature language and sexual content in a game, but expect it to feel like it belongs and is well done. In Metalheart the main characters do significant amounts of cussing, most of which seems out of place and over the top. Also, the sexual overtones seem out of place at times, particularly when the main female suddenly did a pole dance wearing a thong bikini in a bar to earn the party extra money. It just feels weird and dirty.
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