(3DS)

Game Review

Heroes of Ruin Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

An heroic effort

If Heroes of Ruin was judged purely on the level of ambition and functionality on display, it would be hailed as the finest title on 3DS. It takes the capabilities of the handheld and attempts to deliver a fully flavoured action RPG, with all of the online play and functionality that gamers could conceivably demand of a home console title. It’s an epic undertaking from the team at n-Space that succeeds in many areas, even if it’s let down by some basic mistakes.

This is a title that sets its stall without any ambiguity, refusing any opportunity to take a creative risk. The world that you inhabit and its ho-hum campaign story are predictable and entirely unsurprising. That’s not to say that it’s lacking in effort, but the rather generic world is populated with all of the standard fantasy tropes you’d come to expect. Whether this consists of speaking to NPCs or reading books scattered around the hub world, Nexus, you can soak in as much lore as you please. At its core, the plot comes down to reawakening a guardian of the people, which involves travelling the lands and finding information and magical artifacts, occasionally dishing out justice to monsters that stand in your way.

What truly matters in Heroes of Ruin is whether the actual experience offers enough variety to overcome the lack of creative imagination, and fortunately that is the case. The actual story campaign may be short – under ten hours even for patient gamers – but it’s a title that encourages you to play and develop four different character classes, even providing as many save profiles for the purpose. The Vindicator is a tank with a rather large sword, while The Savage relies on power in close range combat; those who prefer to fight more tactically from a distance can consider The Gunslinger or The Alchitect. All four have a distinctive style and enjoyable range of skill moves, available as upgrades, that encourage multiple playthroughs for enthusiasts.

The true benefit of the varying styles comes to the fore when working with up to three other players as part of the online offering. When tackling large groups of enemies or a dungeon boss, having a mix of classes contributes to a genuine sense of tactical teamwork, with range attacks softening up and stunning an enemy before the melee specialists can weigh in at close quarters. It’s possible to play through the campaign in single player, and the act of loot gathering and levelling up provides reasonable incentive, but multiplayer brings a new level of immersion to proceedings.

The level of online integration is, by 3DS standards, exceptional. Those simply seeking to gain XP, cash and loot can join other games, with a number of rooms always available with varying standards of players. When starting a game to continue progress in your own campaign, you’ll have the choice of selecting solo, local play or online play open to worldwide players or just those on your Friends List. Other players can simply drop into your game at any point, and when you find a good group that sticks together and shares loot it can be exceptionally satisfying. The voice chat functionality, accessed by holding down the left shoulder button, also allows you to directly communicate and get to know your mystery team-mates. This drop in-play and communication is, to date, unprecedented on the handheld.

In our experience we encountered little lag, with the title’s servers doing a solid job of synchronising the action between players. Voice chat also works well, though headphones definitely help to pick up communications clearly. If your game is open to worldwide players it’s more than likely that the usual bad eggs will appear: levelled up players that storm ahead, complete objectives without waiting for you to join in and hog much of the disposable loot. If you’re the host and such inconsiderate players arrive you can boot them from the game in the start menu, though. In order to experience levels fully with others and without these risks – such as major bosses not respawning – it’s recommended to play with friends, or at least with others from an online community that you trust. We have a Heroes of Ruin online adventurers' guild for those wanting to play with decent folk.

n-Space's efforts to bring depth to the experience also go further, with a substantial range of items, upgrades and options away from the dungeons. A trading area for StreetPass is a good concept, if you can find the hits, while it’s possible to link your save profiles with an online account that also tracks progress on daily ‘web challenges’ that appear in-game. The daily challenges have been simple at the time of writing, such as killing a number of specific enemy types or collecting gold with other players, and the accumulated ‘Valor’ can be spent at a store with some particularly attractive goodies on sale. A stat tracker on the official website is also promised soon, rounding off the online component.

The dungeon crawling and loot collection, combined with this online setup, contribute to a compelling experience. As suggested earlier, however, niggling flaws and development mistakes do emerge, and have a habit of taking the gloss away. One issue is a low level of difficulty and poor balancing, where the desire for accessibility has taken away any genuine sense of challenge: we rarely died, and the punishment in those cases was to be respawned at a generously placed checkpoint. We also maxed out our currency about two-thirds of the way through the campaign: there’s so much loot on offer that it’s easy to accumulate wealth and buy anything you want, making much of the depth of the hub-world’s merchants and their wares largely superficial.

The ambition of this title has also led to some cut corners creeping into view. We encountered a glitch when a level we started failed to activate an objective, for example, forcing us to restart after 15 minutes of wondering where the boss encounter was hiding. Presentation and execution, while not necessarily bad, also suffer on occasion. The graphics are inconsistent, with a snow-filled environment’s pleasing aesthetic being undermined by washed out and muddy textures in an earlier forest stage. The 3D effect has the honour of boasting both impressive depth and being particularly tough on the eyes, while the frame-rate undoubtedly performs better in 2D. Sound is also a mixed bag, with some excellent music being let down by some cringeworthy voice acting. None of the issues are significant, but will be noticeable.

Conclusion

Heroes of Ruin does have a few rough edges and areas where greater refinement would have been welcome, but they don’t detract from an accomplished effort on 3DS. A short campaign is offset by four separate characters to develop, and the experience feels entirely suitable for a fully-tooled handheld action RPG. It’s the online structure that truly raises the bar for the platform; crawling through dungeons is a lot more fun with others to share the glory, and the inclusion of voice chat in particular is a highlight. In many respects this is a by-the-numbers title, but the end result does bear the resemblance of a masterpiece, even if it can’t quite survive the closest of inspection.

More Stories

Game Trailer

A good, long look at Square Enix's upcoming action RPG Heroes of Ruin, coming to 3DS in summer 2012. Find out more at http://www.nintendolif

User Comments (69)

BenAV

#1

BenAV said:

Eight sounds about right from my time with the game so far.
It's really fun, but it's just the end game content that seems to let it down.
Still really looking forward to playing through the game with all four characters though!

Expa0

#2

Expa0 said:

Looks like either a button masher or one of those modern pc-style RPGs, either way I couldn't be less interested.

Shiryu

#3

Shiryu said:

I'm so hooked on this. Yes, it's a dungeon crawler with lots of grinding, a formula that is ages old but this one... fits in my pocket and it's hassle free. Definitely recommended for Diablo fans out there. And I should get back to finishing the weekly quest...

Raptor78

#5

Raptor78 said:

I for one have enjoyed my time spent in the world of ruin. There have been a lot of negative comments around the web, mainly from people who stormed through the game instead of enjoying it... so it must have been entertaining enough to plough through the whole thing in the first place. N-Space themselves have seem to do their best at responding to these concerns and critisisms which can only be a good thing.
It isn't the perfect game, it has a lot of minor faults and things but its entertaining and does a damn good job of it too. For those people who havnt yet got it such as the US and were looking forward to this title, stick to your first instinct but be prepared for a short main game. There is plenty to do with the daily challenges and such like and online works really well and is fun... but then again the amount of money I used to through at the arcades playing Guantlet was stupid so i love these little multiplayer hack n slash games.
Overall I think it was a good review. :)

Bankai

#6

Bankai said:

Oh dear, I'm sorry guys, can't agree with this review at all.

It is by far the weakest Diablo clone I've played this generation, and that does include Dungeon Alliance on the Vita. A "few" rough edges is a massive understatement.

6ch6ris6

#7

6ch6ris6 said:

i played over 9 hours so far abd i only have 50% or so.

people say the campaign is only 10hours. then i must be doing something wrong...or right.
i do all the quests and try to see everything this game has to offer. like you would normally do for a game you spend at least 40€ for.

why are people rushing through this like their lifes depend on it?
just enjoy the game!

Captain_Hookey

#8

Captain_Hookey said:

wow, this got a better score than expected! i'll definitely have to get this game some time. voice chat? i'll have to get it sooner than expected!

Kyloctopus

#9

Kyloctopus said:

@Lollipop Any other flaws mentioned in the game? Or is it just the same flaws that are more frusturating than how Thomas said it?

Pokefanmum82

#13

Pokefanmum82 said:

i don't care what people say I'm still getting it. I have it on pre-order. Have since I knew it was coming out. I just wish I didn't have to wait until July 17th to play it.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#14

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Good revw. Pretty much what all the reliable reviewers are saying and rating. Solid, but not for me. Enjoy.

mr_chun

#15

mr_chun said:

Great review, glad to hear it turned out well. Can't wait for it to drop in the states!

DreamDrop

#16

DreamDrop said:

1 month wait for US version!!! Damn, I can only weep at the reviews and videos for a month...I didn't expect the game to get 8! Well even if it got a 6, I would still get it because it's one of the games I've been closely following ever since its introduction. To those who aren't buying, are you forgetting there is DLC support on the 3DS? I bet my cards on new DLC 2-3 months down the line.

SkywardLink98

#17

SkywardLink98 said:

Dang, I'm not really one to replay games a bunch despite incentives, so a 6 hour campaign isn't gonna cut it for me...
Plus the glitches sounded awful...

Bulbousaur

#18

Bulbousaur said:

I might get this, but I need to read a few more reviews before I make up my mind. Too bad most review sites are based in the US, so there won't be many more until it releases there...

Weedy

#19

Weedy said:

I bought this game on release day and agree with the review. A very ambitious game, if only they'd had a bigger team with more money to work on it we might have had a triple A title.
I just hope that some DLC does come out to fix the bugs. Maybe us europeans are just BETA testing this for the Americans!

Stargazer

#22

Stargazer said:

Looks pretty good. Very disappointed about the ease of collecting tons of money and having nothing to do with it. And not having a new game + with a harder difficulty? That should be a no-brainer, n-Space. You make a hardcore game with a casual difficulty level SMH

rjejr

#25

rjejr said:

I'm really surprised there's no easy - normal - hard choice. They expect you to play through it 4 times with 4 different characters but you can't ramp up the diffculty?

Important question - does this have local co-op? The review mentioned "servers". 10 hours would just about eat up the car rides for summer vacations for the 2 boys in the back seat. We'll be done traveling by the time NSMB2 comes out so we'll save that one for the 15 hour holiday drive.

CanisWolfred

#26

CanisWolfred said:

It does look kinda generic. Even if it's a good handheld Diablo, I still can't really justify it with Torchlight 2 on the way. Maybe later down the road.

Geonjaha

#27

Geonjaha said:

@rjejr - Yes, it does have local coop. You can check out the demo as well to sample it first (the demo also comes with online play and local coop).

SaSoBe

#28

SaSoBe said:

Got it yesterday! Too bad I have no time to play it right now. Have to finish The World Ends With You before Kingdom Hearts comes to Europe, then play that. So... maybe after those two games. But awesome review, thanks!

TheConsiglio

#31

TheConsiglio said:

Already in my wallet, glad it got a good review score but when gameinformer gets there hands on this we're talkin' about 6 or a 5.

MakeMyBiscuit

#34

MakeMyBiscuit said:

Great review. I really hope this game does well so all this effort is rewarded. I know I am going to try and pick it up when it comes to the U.S.

ReaperX30

#35

ReaperX30 said:

Great review. I probably would still have got this even if it got a 6 as a portable diablo clone is just what I need now. I picking it up as soon as it's on store shelves here on July 17th.

Kitsune_Rei

#37

Kitsune_Rei said:

Glad it got a good review, but I'm still on the fence. I'm actually a little grateful it was pushed back to give more time for specific info to come out.

ThomasBW84Admin

#38

ThomasBW84 said:

@crazyj2312 The level cap is 30, and as you'd expect progress gets slower as you get nearer to the maximum. The idea is to play and level up each character class, which will take a bit of time. It'll also be interesting to see whether there's scope, after the US release has happened, for DLC or dungeon updates. The most recent 3DS system update made it possible (like with Mario Kart 7), so who knows?

Phle

#40

Phle said:

I got this on EU release date and I've played through some of the game. I like to take things a bit slow, so I haven't gotten more than 25% through the main story and I've mostly played by myself. I like what I have seen so far though. This kind of game usually don't reach consoles like the 3DS so at the moment it's a bit unique title to own. I would absolutely recommend giving this a try if you like this kind of titles and enjoy playing together with either friends or unknown gamers around the world.

Henmii

#43

Henmii said:

The demo was fun, but I am not sure if I'll buy it. I had to laugh about the dialogue, though! So corny and cliche: "Die villain!"

Wowfunhappy

#44

Wowfunhappy said:

This review read more like a 7, or maybe even a 6... :(

I'm still definitely getting this game though. I mean, online voice chat! On the 3DS!

emiru69

#45

emiru69 said:

Good review. The game looks nice but I'm not into "Diablo" games, I just get bored quickly. Also 6 hrs campaign it just too short for me.

Raptor78

#46

Raptor78 said:

There is a lot of emphasis on playing through with all four types and 6 hours is quite a quick run through... taking it steady and doing daily challenges while going through it took me nearer 10 hours solo... so I wouldnt look at it being a 6 hour campaign, it feels around a 30+ hour to 100% four characters and then daily / weekly challenges and online multiplayer will add even more.

Freak-Show

#48

Freak-Show said:

If people don't want to buy it thats fine by me. That just means it'll be more available so I can get it.

Ernest_The_Crab

#49

Ernest_The_Crab said:

Hm...seems like a decent portable clone of Diablo. Then again it doesn't seem like it has much competition considering, the sheer terribleness that was Dungeon Alliance on the Vita.

Squirtodile

#51

Squirtodile said:

I've sold games with an 8 within months, and told myself i'd never sell some games that got an 8. So thank god for the demo.

rjejr

#52

rjejr said:

@Geonjaha - Thanks for the feedback - 10 days ago, I was kinda distracted by the Nintendo Direct stuff and forgot all about this. And we will be checking out the demo - when we get it next week.

saikun

#53

saikun said:

Bought this game and I'm happy with it so far. I think it's more an attempt to break some new grounds on 3DS, use the potential of the handheld and that also has to be recognized.

Many things to polish and improve: The online interaction, endgame content, and many more, but still worths the buy. After all, I'd rather have a starting point to make a better game than nothing at all.

skoobasteev

#55

skoobasteev said:

@Brick
-_- To you too. H is one of the few consenant sounds that you CAN put the word an before. Nice try though. On another note, I love RPGs and MMOs and I am very excited for this game to come out here in america, even if it isn't perfect. I've never had the convenience of taking one of these around with me, and it sounds awesome.

P.S. I am aware it's not a MMO.

Koos

#56

Koos said:

Loved the demo. Didn't quite get everything yet including the online but it was fun with awesome graphics

golephish

#57

golephish said:

just about to try the demo. I am excited at the promise of rpgs and the 3ds... hopefully it will be as fun! — currently finishing tales from the abyss...

MofieWilson

#64

MofieWilson said:

I'm really enjoying it so far, but haven't gone online yet. Trying a few characters out first, I have started with a Vindicator. Going to try the Gunslinger class out when I get home from work in the morning, then maybe take my level 10 Vindicator online.....hmmm :)

Squirtodile

#65

Squirtodile said:

Ugh, every review is 8-9 or like 2-5! I cant decide! Maybe ill just wait for a price drop, NSMB2 is out soon and KH 3D is great.

DaJusticeyJDude

#66

DaJusticeyJDude said:

Got the game on release date it's really good. I love playing online with voice chat and leveling up its super fun. I recomend it.

SLiM

#67

SLiM said:

Buddy of mine has bought the game, so I'm gonna pick up the game as well. Looking forward to hearing if the voice chat is as good as they say :)

RhythmThief

#69

RhythmThief said:

Gonna get this game only for the voice chat. I want to feel the thrill of wearing a headset while playing and cursing in the middle of a fight. Hopefully I can get this before Christmas :)

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...