[Review] Hero must die. Again – Nintendo Switch

Written by Joachim Ziebs
  • Developer: DEGICA Games
  • Publisher: DEGICA Games
  • Release Date: 27/02/2020
  • Price: £35.99 / $39.99
  • Review code provided by DEGICA Games

Your days are numbered!

Let me make this clear from the outset: Hero must die. Again is not a JRPG. Even though it looks like one, it is the exact opposite. The publisher even describes it as an anti-RPG and this description fits the game like a glove.

Hero must die. Again begins when traditional JRPGs end: the curse of the land/the evil oppressor or in this case Demon Lord Guile died through your hands. The land is free again! However, you yourself perished as well but are resurrected for five days to settle your things. Unfortunately, you have partial memory loss so what these things are, isn’t entirely clear. Additionally, you find out that the country you just saved is boiling under the surface: tensions between different races and differing religions threaten it after the common enemy has been defeated.

Keep an eye on the time!

Your rest-of-life adventure begins in the capital. Luckily, your old servant Thomas joins your party as support. And believe me, you need any support you can get. In contrast to traditional RPGS, where you fight monsters and grind to become ever stronger, you are the strongest right from the start. Also, your weapon and armour are the best you can get. Sounds like the next five days will be a piece of cake, right? Well, think again, because you’re about to get weaker the longer you live. Your health will decline, as will your strength and memory. Soon you won’t be able to wear armour or use your heavy sword. Oh, and you’ll forget your spells, too.

To complicate things further, everything you do takes time: moving through a dungeon, travelling from one place to another or even fishing for old boots. You’ll notice that you won’t be able to get everything done in just five days. Especially as you have to rest regularly, because moving around tires you out.

Getting weaker, step by step!

So, as a result, you come to enjoy the pleasant anime artstyle and music again and again, being brought back to life after your eventual funeral to change the world for the best. With each new play-through tiny bits of the world are changed and the story changes accordingly, making each and every play-through slightly different.

The writing of Hero must die. Again is a nod to standard JRPGs, as are the turn-based combat, artstyle and heroic music. Nice on the eyes and ears but nothing special. It is the unusual story of the end of one’s life that makes or breaks this game.

Groundhog Day – The RPG!

With eight different heroines to woo and at least the same amount of main quests to undertake, it will take you a lot of play-throughs to see each and every of the fifty possible endings. That means, Groundhog Day should be one of your favourite movies or you should have a weak spot for visual novels where you want to explore 100% of all the available narrative. Each of your play-throughs can be done in roughly five hours, quicker when you’ve done a few already and know what you’re doing, so it is entirely possible to 100% the game.

Conclusion

Hero must die. Again stands out because of its interesting reversal of the traditional RPG setup. In a way it is more like a visual novel with a lot of walking and exploring than an RPG. Still, at its core it remains an RPG as can be seen by the turn-based battle system and the leveling-up of your party members.

Pros

  • Reversal of a traditional RPG
  • Miniscule changes of the story with every play-through, making your decisions count
  • High replay value

Cons

  • Playing the game can get tedious after a number of play-throughs
  • Lots of play-throughs necessary to develop the story

Verdict
Hero Must Die. Again is a good game. It is, however, hard to recommend for RPG lovers because of it’s non-traditional setting. On the other hand, it is hard to recommend for visual novel connoisseurs because of the many battles you might find yourself in. I definitely liked it, but your mileage may vary.
3.5/5

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