Real Heroes: Firefighter is a brave concept that explores the respectable career path of a firefighter. Set in the first person perspective, Real Heroes: Fighterfighter puts you in the rubber soled boots of a Fire Academy Cadet as he puts his own life at harm to save others.
The concept of playing a real life “hero” over a leading character like a Space Marine, or a gritty World War II fighter can be a tough sale. I’m sure developer Epicenter Studios felt the burn when considering a publisher for their highly ambitious fire fighting title. Having a game where you play a firefighter might seem a little dull on paper; however once you get into the thick of things, this perception goes up in smoke. Real Heroes: Firefighter is a heart pounding adventure into the daily job of our cities finest firefighters. This one is a real surprise and deserves all the positive press it has been receiving.
I understand a 28-year firefighting veteran, Captain Bill Heins has helped with Epicenter's project, and it shows. Having a person who has done it all in the firefighting field would be an unlimited resource and it seems his input has had a positive effect on the games development. Epicenter has kept the action as real as possible and made the working man hero just as interesting as some space jockey from a far off galaxy. The fun factor has to be inputted so expect a little bit of indulgence, however in the end Real Heroes: Firefighter seems to reflect a little taste of what being a firefighter is all about.
Get it in Gear, Cadet
This ambitious offering starts you off as a firefighting cadet in Engine Company 13 who is quickly put through a training scenario before and pushed along into the real deal. Fighting through the tutorial will get you familiar with all the tools you will need to combat a raging inferno while teaching you how to play the game. Like other first person titles on the Wii, Firefighter makes you use the nunchuck and its analog stick as your movement and the Wii-mote as you eyes and interface. Firefighter is basically a shooter with an extinguisher instead of a bullet firing killing machine, although it’s not really fair to call Real Heroes a shooter. The controls are a little loose in the default settings, so a little tweaking might be in order. If you have played a shooter on the Wii in the past then you’ll feel right at home, and even if you haven’t, Real Heroes is easy to learn and master.
In the game you will be harassed by your fellow fighters as you are the new cadet in the field. The storyline is filled with a lot of dialog that makes you care for each member of the squad while you run through the paces of dealing with deadly fires. In the fire fight your teammates and captain will be intrusting you through the Wii-mote speaker in how to deal with the terrifying overwhelming task of taming a fire. Having two sound points, one from your stereo system, or TV and the other from the controller really helps draw you into the action. Like the real world, you need to use communication to get a job done and the barking orders are always pushing you through the game while you deal with more stress on the screen.
It’s truly a wonder that Epicenter amped the ambiance in this world so much that it could rival some situations in fictional games. This in tribute to the fighter fighters around the world makes you aware of the intensity of their job, and this isn’t even the real deal. Real Heroes: Firefighters will likely surprise you in how profound the action can be. Dosing fires, dogging explosives, dealing with gas leaks, and saving trapped civilians is only one part of what you’ll experience in Real Heroes. It is a little disappointing that your fire fighting heroics play out in a linear path, a little more freedom to tackle each situation would have been nice, however even on a directed path the game is still a lot of fun.
What helps Firefighter be an interesting and adaptive challenge is the enemy in the game, fire! In the place of a traditional enemies, you will have to deal with a equally dangerous foe in fire. Fire is totally ungrogiving as it destructive power wraps itself around anything that is flamable... which means, almost everything! Having an enemy that can surround you in seconds or come from any direction is an interesting turn to take in a game. The A.I. does its best to judge its enviorment and travels over different surfaces at different speeds. It's too bad the graphics can't keep up with the concept of the fire because its obvious its working in a dynamic nature, although you can't always tell.
No fire under the Hood
As I just refrenced, one area of Real Heroes: Firefighter that is obviously lacking once you fire it up are the graphics. Due to the small development team this is understandable, but ultimately it falls below the standards that have been set by other first-person games like the The Conduit, or something like Metriod Prime. As a whole the effects get the job done, but it’s nothing like the smoke and fire effect seen on other consoles. I can’t imagine how cool this concept would be ported over to the 360, or PS3 with a powerful graphics engine under the hood. Who knows maybe Epicenter will be headed down that road in the future. The main goal Firefighters had to achieve is making the world believable. Even with all the square edges and low resolution fire burning up the screen, Epicenter pulls it off.
The voice acting is done realistically that help make up a believe cast of supporting characters. The names listed in the credits is a who's who of celebrities including John Di Maggio (Bender from 'Futurama,' Marcus Fenix in 'Gears of War') as the non-nonsense Captain. Jamie Kennedy (Malibu's Most Wanted), James Marsters (Buffy), Jenette Goldstein (Aliens), Michael Jace (The Shield), and Jack McGee (Backdraft). Even without the celebrate nod, Firefighters is well written and even though it falls into a few firefighting movie trappings, its still entertaining and interesting. The sound effects also have enough punch to fill the void that the graphics fail to fill. This is good enough to make the on screen action seem believable as you brave through the fast paced chapters in the game.
Real Heroes: Firefighter shows respect to the real life men and woman who risk their lives to help prevent the unstoppable force of unforgiving fire. The gameplay is surpassingly intense and packaged into a fun campaign as a rookie firefighter learning the ropes. The game industry needs more inspirational games like Real Heroes: Firefighter, and even though the production might not stack up with other AAA Wii titles, it’s still a highly enjoyable game. Not only does Real Heroes: Firefighter hit home the point that graphics don’t make the game, it also proves that real life situations can be fun! For all those looking for something a little different, something a little more real, check out Real Heroes: Firefighter.
Gameplay:7.5, Graphics:5.0, Sound:7.5, Innovation:7.0, Mojo:8.0 Final: 7.0 / 10
Reviewed by Jimmy | 09.01.09
- fresh concept
- excellent tribute to the firefighters
- offers an educational look at real life situations
- excellent sound effects and voice acting
- intense gameplay that doesn’t involve killing
- great price point
- controls are a little loose
- graphics are a little rough around the edges
- could of allowed the player more freedom