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Heroes of Ruin

by Jon Lindemann - April 10, 2012, 2:15 pm PDT
Total comments: 9

Square Enix looks to give 3DS dungeon crawlers what they're missing.

At PAX East 2012, I had the chance to try out Square Enix's n-Space-developed action RPG Heroes of Ruin. While reminiscent of Blizzard's immensely popular Diablo series, Heroes sports several technical innovations that make it a 3DS title to watch as it nears its June 26 release.

Heroes of Ruin thrusts the player into a dark fantasy world inhabited by evil monsters such as spiders, zombies, and witches. The goal is to make it out of each dungeon level alive with a group of up to four players. Each player's character has a health meter and a magic meter; health diminishes as you absorb attacks, and magic is used by performing certain special attacks against your enemies. These abilities let you slay baddies, solve puzzles, and collect loot along the way.


Levels are displayed from an isometric perspective (hence the Diablo comparisons), giving you a good view of the action and what other party members are doing. Environments are also somewhat interactive, with destructible walls leading to hidden rooms containing extra treasure. Our demo took place in a lush forest area featuring green vines, flowers, and fallen trees. All levels are randomly generated, so while they look good, they can also look a little generic at times.

The game's controls are fairly simple, utilizing the 3DS' Circle Pad for character movement and its face buttons for attacks and potion use (you can map specific potions to face buttons for quicker access as well). The touch screen is primarily used for inventory management and a map of your immediate area, while also displaying the location of fellow party members. The map automatically fills in as you walk through a dungeon, which is especially helpful when you need to backtrack.

The game's real strength lies in its multiplayer capabilities. While it remains to be seen how much fun Heroes will be as a single-player experience, n-Space is going out of its way to ensure that players can run through dungeons with their friends no matter where they are. Heroes of Ruin will feature both four-player simultaneous online play and full Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) support, allowing adventurers to form four-person online parties and communicate using a 3DS headset. The n-Space rep that we spoke with assured us that the game takes no appreciable performance hit when playing online with four players.

One advantage of playing with four players is the ability to balance classes in an ideal fashion, and Heroes of Ruin has several classes to choose from. I played as a Gunslinger, a dual-wielding range DPS class that specializes in support, while fellow staffer Alex Culafi played the Vindicator, a warrior-type melee class. He walked up and punched monsters in the face, while I picked them off from the back row with my twin pistols.

The Gunslinger features a cool-looking "bullet spray" attack that sets enemies on fire, draining them of their life and slowing them down. This maneuver allows your melee party members to move in and mow the monsters down as they attempt to put themselves out.  Gunslingers have a regular gunshot attack that is relatively weak, but they also possess a charged shot that can take out several enemies at a time if things get out of hand. It's a nice set of abilities overall, with the class feeling powerful and effective despite the fact that it attacks from a distance.

With literally thousands of loot items in the game, inventory management could have been a real headache. Fortunately, there is some streamlining of the loot management process that makes evaluation of newly-acquired gear quick and easy. Instead of having a new item – say, a piece of chest armor – immediately added to your bag, the item and its stats are shown to you on the screen when you pick it up.  At that point you have the option to immediately sell it or immediately equip it, avoiding the constant acquire-hoard-dump process that many RPG-style games suffer from.

Heroes of Ruin looks to be a solid entry in the action-RPG genre that fans of games like Diablo and Gauntlet Legends should keep on their radar. The ability to play, chat, and score loot with three other players online should make it a unique offering in the burgeoning 3DS library.


StogiApril 10, 2012

Not my cup o' tea, but the possibilities of playing and chatting with three others is intriguing.

Super Smash Bros. Shanked or be Shanked should be a lot of fun.

NinSageApril 10, 2012

I think this game looks amazing.

... but I don't think it's for me.  I just don't think it has enough that appeals specifically to me to tear me away from my Phantasy Star Zero community and my eventual Monster Hunter ___ on 3DS.

I would really love it if they released a demo though.  That kind of thing might let me experience something that pushed me towards the "yes" column of a purchase decision.

I just want to point out that Jon Lindemann wrote an article.

I am extremely interested in this game. I've been itching for a game like this lately, and I'd love to be able to have it on 3DS, my go-to platform at the moment. Right now this is a day one purchase for me, unless I hear something that changes my mind.

xcwarriorApril 10, 2012

Game looks cool and the online sounds very promising. I'd sure like to know where this headset is coming from though...

ejamerApril 10, 2012

This game looks right up my alley. I suspect it won't get high review scores, but will be enjoyable (for me) to play.  Can't wait to see/hear more.

vinniebrockApril 10, 2012

Can't wait. I'm a sucker for a good dungeon crawler, and this sounds amazing. 4 player MP, voice chat, & DLC is all just an awesome bonus for me.

AilingforaleApril 14, 2012

Yeh, this still sounds pretty exciting.  Now I just need one more bud and we can have a full group and monster punch'n screamers, ah yeh!

MorcantApril 29, 2012

I have enough Amazon gift card credit for one 3DS game. There were already a lot of games in the running, and it looks like another has been added. Crap!

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Heroes of Ruin Box Art

Genre Action
Developer n-Space Inc.
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Heroes of Ruin
Release Jul 17, 2012
PublisherSquare Enix
eu: Heroes of Ruin
Release Jul 15, 2012
PublisherSquare Enix
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