RPG Action Squared
When I think of Square-Enix and RPGs, I usually think of Final Fantasy. That's why I was surprised by the presence of Heroes of Ruin for the 3DS, an action-adventure, real-time strategy, role-playing game. If that description seems over-complicated, fear not, as the gameplay is intuitive and easy to master. In Heroes of Ruin, players can take control of one of four players to combat slews of enemies. Their mission is to try to find a cure for a dying sphinx named Adoraxes, who is also the ruler of the city of Nexus, where much of the game takes place.
With an isometric camera, it's easy to dismiss Heroes of Ruin as a Diablo clone. However, there are some unique ways in which the gameplay distinguishes itself. First off is the multiplayer / co-op, which allows players to drop in and out as they please at any point in the game. I only got to experience the single-player for the demo, but co-op will support voice chat and allow players to navigate the "ruins" in groups. Second, there are four classes revealed so far, including a Architect, Vindicator, and Savage. The demo had me playing as a Gunslinger, who wields guns to blast enemies away and can also evade enemies by dodging backwards. The animation of the enemies is very articulate, and insect creatures sometimes jump on top of the character. These must be warded off by pushing the B button rapidly. Loot abounds and can be exchanged for gold by pushing down on the D-pad. There are also hidden paths which reveal more treasure and provide incentive to explore the geography.
The forest where the Heroes of Ruin demo took place looked haunting, and some of the visuals in 3D with the layers of trees oozed atmosphere. Death was followed by respawning in one of many checkpoints, and while there were lots of enemies, I was never frustrated by the difficulty. The boss fight that was the climax for the demo rounded out a solid experience. With the portability of the game, you can pick it up and play it in small doses, or take a long seat and play with three of your buddies. It's very convenient for those who want to get to the next level or raise more loot while on the road.
Developed by N-Space, the company that created Geist and ported many of the Call of Duty games to their portable outings, this looks like a promising new franchise. I had been looking for some information on Final Fantasy at the Square-Enix booth and was pleasantly surprised by Heroes of Ruin. With games like this, perhaps we can expect more than just more fantasies. Look for Heroes of Ruin to come out tentively on July 17, 2012 (June 15 in Europe).
He has been working in film and games for over a decade. On his off time, he likes to travel the world. His short story collection, Watering Heaven, was just published by Signal 8 Press.
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