Fire fighters have one terrifyingly difficult job. They save people from collapsing buildings, put out massive fires, and so on; some get paid to do so while others simply volunteer. Tapping into the psyche of fire fighters in a life threatening situation is near impossible, but Reef Entertainment's Real Heroes: Fire fighter 3D attempts to recreate the experience of being a fire fighter, one that might put some people off of fire fighting for good.
Fresh from your stay at the academy, you've earned your first job as a professional fire fighter in the lovely city of Los Angeles. As you are still on probation, your fellow fire fighters refer to you as 'probie' and they say it a lot, so you'd better get used to it.
Despite being a complete novice to the fire fighting world, you're given an awful lot of responsibility straight away. After all, there's nothing like being thrown in at the deep end. As you work your way from fire to fire, you will meet some interesting individuals that are meant to represent some typical scenarios. You have some people who're a bit too attached to their pets and some who are stubborn as mules - refusing to budge. It's these experiences that make the game seem that much more authentic, however, that's not to say it's well executed.
One of the nice things about the way the game is laid out, is that there's a lot of variety. Many games of this nature will have you doing the same things over and over again. However, in Real Heroes, sometimes you're dealing with gas lines, sometimes you're dealing with fallen electrical wires. It's never the same situation.
Too much choice isn't always a good thing though, and some of these situations that are executed in a way that can only be described as absolutely dreadful. For example, at the end of certain levels there's a kind of "fire finale", which requires you to put out all the fires in a certain area. The only issue is, you could have put out a fire in one location completely, but somehow the fire keeps comes back in full force. In other words, the fire is constantly spreading at a ridiculous rate and putting it out is way more frustrating than it needs to be. Yes, this could potentially be something that fire fighters do actually deal with on a regular basis, but even still, in game format it's quite tedious and didn't need to be so.
Certain elements are also quite glitchy. For example when using the circular saw to cut through walls, if you don't cut through exactly right it could leave you unable to continue. The game is also not really made for left handed people. Having to use the stylus to direct the camera is very hard, so much so that it's easier to just disregard the stylus entirely and use your fingers. Along with that, the controls are extremely slow which makes it very stressful when fighting fires. The aforementioned example of putting out a constantly spreading fire would be much easier if your fire fighter didn't turn around at a pace that can only be described as snail-like.
There are also issues with the AI. Some of the casualties that you need to save aren't very compliant and will instead choose to stay in the flames of the fire rather than follow you out of the burning building. Why? Because there was one tiny speck of fire blocking the pre-planned path they wanted to take.
The items menu works well with the 3DS touch pad. The only real issue with it is the fact that while trying to navigate through with the camera, you can easily select items you don't necessarily want. You could be sitting there happily putting out a flame with your massive hose, but make one false move and you’ll be trying to whack at the flames with your axe.
Unfortunately, Real Heroes doesn't necessarily offer much when it comes to presentation. The character models appear very dated and the music isn't memorable. The game's antagonist, being fire, is very unpredictable and is constantly moving much like it would in real life.
Although the animation is not overly fantastic, the way the fire behaves is very interesting. There’s one mission in particular where you have to save films from two different rooms. While you’re collecting films from one area, you could find that the other area has become completely engulfed in flames. It's just a shame that this wasn't really capitalised on by other elements of gameplay.
In some ways Real Heroes: Firefighters 3D provides an accurate representation of some of the things that firefighters must have to go through. Fire is also implemented in a semi-decent manner. However, the controls are pretty awful, the AI is dire and the graphics don't do the Nintendo 3DS justice in any way. Overall it makes for a very poor offering that's rather hard to recommend.
|» Flame mechanics are pretty decent.|
|» The levels vary, offering a nice change of pace.|
|» At times, offers an interesting insight as to what it means to be a fire fighter.|
|» Graphics are very dated.|
|» The gameplay can be rather glitchy at times|
|» Controls are slow and don't mesh well with the 3DS's touch pad/stylus.|