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First Impressions: Heroes of Ruin

Posted by James Newton

To arms!

There haven't been many new franchises so far in 3DS's short life so far, but RPG masters Square Enix and handheld specialists n-Space are busy preparing a very promising new IP for release in 2012: Heroes of Ruin. We recently went hands-on with the game, and from our early impressions it's one that should hit your radar.

From the off it's clear that Heroes of Ruin's biggest influences don't come from the Japanese giant's revered Final Fantasy series, but Western dungeon-crawlers like Diablo: the combat is entirely real-time, with the main focus being connecting multiple players together, and it's here that the game should make you sit up and listen.

For starters, it's online compatible for up to four players, with Square Enix looking to implement voice chat for parties to make teamwork a little easier. You can open your game to anyone or set private slots if you just want to party with friends, with a friendship levelling system coming into play to reward regular play with the same group. It doesn't matter either if your friends are massively over or under-levelled compared to you: the game will change accordingly, scaling damage down for weaker players and stronger fighters drawing more attention from the enemies. Square Enix also promises that it won't matter if you're further in the story than your friends, or are drastically lagging behind: the concept behind the game is removing barriers that traditionally prevent players partying together.

It's also removing a lot of the other small hindrances that slow down action RPGs, with a particularly quick menu system. If you walk over an equippable item, its statistics appear on the top screen: a quick tap of Up on the D-Pad equips it immediately, while Down will sell it just as quickly. Mapping skills to buttons is easy too: three touch screen buttons represent X, Y and A, and tapping them cycles through your available skills until you've got a set-up you're happy with. You can still go through traditional-style menus if you want more in-depth control.

There's no shortage of skills and character customisation either: as well as the 80,000 or so dynamically-generated items, there are distinct skill trees for each character class with the ability to put your skill points into statistics instead, meaning you could have a group of four characters of the same class but each with totally different statistics and playing styles.

We were also told about some of the game's StreetPass and SpotPass features which should ensure a steady stream of new content, with more information on these due to be revealed later. n-Space is pushing the connectivity features of 3DS more than many other studios so far, and hopefully what we've seen so far is just the start.

The game we played was in an early pre-alpha build, so much of what we were told about wasn't playable at this point, but if n-Space can deliver on the game's potential this could be the best showcase yet for 3DS's connectivity features, even dwarfing Wii's brightest beacons.

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User Comments (46)

RogueBologna

#3

RogueBologna said:

2nd most looked forward to 3ds game. Really excited to finally have a game that really takes advantage of all the features of the 3ds.

eviLaTtenDant

#4

eviLaTtenDant said:

Sounds great. Could turn out to be a great experience never / seldom experienced on Nintendo platforms before. If they can achieve that they have one happy customer here. :)

Bankai

#11

Bankai said:

My only concern in this is, if they're promising that it won't matter whether the party members are way ahead or way behind you in the story, then 1) the multiplayer component is just grinding away in dungeons apart from the story, or 2) there isn't much story in the first place. Either would be disappointing, I like my RPGs storyful and my multiplayer experience seamless.

But this is Square Enix, so I'll give them a go anyway.

zeeroid

#13

zeeroid said:

Intrigued, but not yet sold. I've been burned by Square Enix far too often of late.

eviLaTtenDant

#17

eviLaTtenDant said:

And you have to make up for the shallow Bust-A-Move Universe big time, Square Enix. :P
Thanks for reminding me, zeeroid. ;)

Samholy

#20

Samholy said:

i WANT this game. even more since i recently played torchlight. it looks a bit similar in its diabloesque kind of game.

on my 3DS and from squareenix? bring it on !

moosa

#21

moosa said:

@11 WaltzElf: Valid point, but western-style RPGs don't tend to be as drenched in storytelling as jRPGs. And it's a little weird to expect lots of storytelling in an online multiplayer environment. That doesn't work.

James

#22

James said:

@WaltzElf From what the producer on-hand was telling me, there's plenty of story here — I've since forgotten most of it but it sounded like there's a fairly sizeable world built up around this.

X-145

#26

X-145 said:

Square Enix, you've done it again! this looks and sounds awesome! The one thing needed in RPGs, online multiplayer, will finally be! Something dragon quest 9 needed. Lets hope this doesn't disappoint...

Glade

#30

Glade said:

Let's see....
Made By Square Enix, Real time Dungeon crawling RPG, Lots of content, Awesome online(so far), Voice Chat, Great skill system. Plus it's an entirely new IP. Yep, this looks like one heck of a great game :D

Alpha2797

#33

Alpha2797 said:

Sounds cool. I'm gonna wait for a video or review when it releases, which is a long time away.

Linkuini

#36

Linkuini said:

At the worst, I can see this tiding me over until a new Dragon Quest comes out on 3DS. From what I've read about it though, the game takes itself a bit more seriously than I'd prefer. One of the reasons I prefer Dragon Quest over a lot of other RPGs is that the tone is so fun without being complex or overbearing; that sets a great mood for a multiplayer game, too.

Azikira

#37

Azikira said:

Heroes of Ruin has gained a level! Heroes of Ruin can now use the spell Awesome! It raises Heroes of Ruins "Must Get" stats!

JeanLuc_Vaycard

#39

JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

4 player online dungeon crawling madness? I'm sold. This is the best bit of news for me lately after all these cancellations.

MeloMan

#41

MeloMan said:

Original IP from SE that's name suckjuice... looking forward to the review.

Gamer83

#43

Gamer83 said:

Since there is an absolute lack of anything worth a damn on the 3DS I really hope this can deliver. On the other hand, it's Square-Enix, so yeah, not confident in this one.

Sgt_Ludby

#45

Sgt_Ludby said:

I can't wait!! And I think pressing Down to immediately sell items is genius!! In RPGs, particularly Borderlands, I would always pick up items with the intent of selling them later on, but would eventually drop them because I would forget to go to the store, causing me to run out of bag space lol

SkywardLink98

#46

SkywardLink98 said:

Sounds like it makes good use of all the 3DS's features. Multiple attacks you can cycle through sounds interesting. I'd set it up so I have a good set of attacks I like and use all my skill points on them, then go through a second time and use all different attacks. So like one main attack (Unless that's already decided) maybe a crowd controlling attack, and a buff to try to get a nice set of attacks to use during battle. A couple quick questions, 1 is this voice acted, and what are the controls?

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