Review: Heroes of Ruin (3DS)
Title: Heroes of Ruin
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Square Enix
Tagline: Quintessential hack and slash loot grind for your handheld
Family Friendly: Click here for more information.
Verdict: Buy it Already
I came into Heroes of Ruin knowing about as much as the rest of the gaming world. I had watched the videos that were out there and I even had some hands on time at E3. But up until I received my copy for review, I would have had a hard time telling you what exactly the game was in a conversation. This upset me a bit after playing through the game, as I found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences I have played on a handheld. Sure, it is not a home run, and it does have some technical faults that hold it back, but even with that, I had a load of fun playing it. It is by no means perfect, but for someone looking to grab a good Diablo-like experience on their handheld, you might not find a better experience.
Heroes of Ruin is, at is heart, a hack and slash combat game, where you kill enemies, grab loot, rinse and repeat until you finish the six to eight hour campaign. From the beginning, you can see the inspiration that developer N-Space used when creating the game, as the loot progression system and combat feels akin to Diablo III in some aspects. Sure, you are using a few more buttons but it latches on to those elements and converts them flawlessly to the handheld experience.
As Heroes of Ruin starts, you pick one of four character classes – Gunslinger, Vindicator, Architect or Savage – and then start off into the main adventure, which plays out in dramatic fashion as our ship is attacked by a Giant Squid and the crew is shipwrecked on a beach. Missions are activated by finding people with markers above their head and then accepting the quest with a push of a button. From there, you head out to hack and slash swarms of enemies, proceeding to the objective and then talking with the quest provider to earn your reward in gold and XP. I would love to tell you more about the story, but it is a bit unremarkable. You head back to the main city in the game, called Nexus, and then pick up more quests, most story driven, but optional ones are available as well to boost your XP.
While the story doesn’t really stand on its own merits, it never really bothered me, as I was having a ton of fun just playing with the combat. The controls were easy enough to pick up with two buttons controlling combat at the start with the other two face buttons being used as you add new powers via leveling up. The powers seems to be unique enough to each class and a generous drop of potions make it so you rarely run out of your mana pool to use all your supplemental skills along with your basic attack.
Things go a bit awry when things get hectic and frantic on the screen, as I noticed some screen stutter and hiccups when large effects or large groups of enemies would be on the screen at the same time. It does not happen all the time, but it happened enough to be noticeable and irritating. It doesn’t help that I am getting all this cool loot from battling enemies, but when I put it on my character, it never really looks all that different. It is like the world of Heroes of Ruin is being viewed through a lens that has dirt caked on it. At times, it looks brilliant, making excellent use of the 3D on the 3DS, but at other times, things just look muddy and crude.
The star of the show though when it comes to Heroes of Ruin, is the embracing of the online capabilities of the 3DS by developer N-Space. Here is where the game carves its own niche in the handheld gaming world. Heroes of Ruin supports not only local multiplayer, but full online, four player co-op via the Internet. It also hooks in a full voice chat system that works, although the chat does sound a bit hollow, like a tiny speaker trying to bark out sound in a large room. But the multiplayer works fantastically, with players seamlessly dropping into my game, or me dropping in to theirs. No hiccups or problems ever came about while playing online, and the game most definitely wants you heading online with this game. When starting a game, it automatically sets the game to Online Worldwide instead of solo. When you get into a game with three other people, the game is a blast to play, and to my surprise, the frame rate stays pretty stable. Players can also trade with others in their game to help each other out when it comes to equipment.
Heroes of Ruin plays great, and captures a certain experience with flying colors, and yet, will probably be missed by the masses. Sure, it is never perfect, and it does have a lot of rough edges, but it is a ton of fun to play. But here’s the rub – poor advertising and a lack of telling people what this game is all about leaves Heroes of Ruin destined to be a commercial failure. This is a sad fact because even with its uneven performance, Heroes of Ruin is just a bundle of fun waiting to be played by all.
Hack and Slash:
- Fun, addictive gameplay
- Excellent use of online features
- Tons of loot to be had
- Graphics are a bit weak
- Voice chat is a bit weak
Heroes of Ruin offers up a a lot of hacking and slashing of enemies, normally of the strange animal variety. However, the fighting is sterile of blood and enemies seem to be knocked out rather than killed. I would find it safe enough for those 10 and up, if only for the strategy and character building skills that are in the game.