The mobile gaming sphere is moving forward at such a pace that sometimes it can feel unreal.
What was considered the very best you could get in a genre last year, can feel like a dinosaur when played today, such is the rate of progress in graphics and gameplay.
Unfortunately, Hero of Sparta HD doesn’t just feel like it’s been left behind by the unstoppable march of progress, but also by the developer.
In true Gameloft style, Hero of Sparta HD is inspired by a popular home console franchise that just happens to be also set in Ancient Greece and just so happens to have almost the same game mechanics.
Whereas God of War has Kratos pounding heads and extracting enemies’ spines using a variety of weaponry and Quick Time Events, Hero of Sparta HD has Argos leaping around and making a nuisance of himself instead. Oh, and Quick Time Events.
The game plays out as a hack ‘n’ slash adventure, with control managed via a tiny virtual joystick, and contextual attack and defence buttons.
For goodness sake
From the off, it’s apparent this latest iOS conversion isn’t going to be such a smooth ride as the others in Gameloft’s HD stable.
The frame rate is abysmal, flicking between slow and unplayable whenever anything even slightly exciting happens on screen. This has the unfortunate knock-on effect of causing the controls to delay receiving button presses by up to a few seconds at a time.
In a turn-based strategy, this might not be such an important fault, but in a combo-based action game, having jerky animations and unresponsive attacks is dreadful, and completely destroys the experience.
Even worse, the graphics just aren’t that great either. Sat next to the smooth gloss of GT Racing Academy HD or The Sims 3 HD, they look blocky and lacking in detail, the extra-buckets of blood doing nothing to hide the generally unappealing design.
There’s still a quite enjoyable (if rather shallow) game lurking behind the technical faults, with some genuinely fun usage of the touchscreen to recreate the epic death blows that the God of War games perfected so well.
Yet N8 users will feel rightfully miffed as to why they’ve received such a duff port of an already dated looking iPhone game.