Heroes of Ruin Review (3DS)
Diablo III has been all the rage over the last few weeks and rightfully so. Everyone who’s played the game has a lot of good things to say about it. It’s the type of game that’s been cloned and borrowed from numerous times over the years. Surprisingly, there hasn’t been too much of that when it comes to handheld systems and it probably relates mostly to the power of those systems. n-Space has taken up the task of bringing a loot-driven dungeon crawler to the Nintendo 3DS in the form of Heroes of Ruin. Not only does it bring that style of dungeon-crawling game to Nintendo’s most recent handheld, but it takes full advantage of the system’s online functionality as well. Will it come together in a coherent package that will fill the itch for players though?
What You Need to Know
Heroes of Ruin is a basic, hack-and-slash, dungeon crawler. You play as one of four different playable classes that you can customize somewhat when you begin. The game takes place in the world of Veil, which has been racked by a century of war. The city’s protector is dying and unscrupulous people are taking advantage of his decay to gain power. As the player, you will have to investigate the world’s four main dungeons, each with a number of smaller areas to explore. All the while you’ll be collecting hundreds of weapons, pieces or armor and magical trinkets that will enhance your abilities.
There are a number of different dungeon crawlers available for the Nintendo DS. Most of them come in the form of games like the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series where you’re exploring basic, two-dimensional environments. Heroes of Ruin really strives to bring a more in-depth experience to the handheld and for the most part it works. There are four, main dungeon areas each with four or five different areas to explore and they’re all randomly generated when you enter them. Each of the four character classes feature different animations, as well as visual and fighting styles. The bulk of your combat will be done by hammering on the primary attack button, just like other games in the genre. Also each of the characters has three special attacks that can be mapped to the other face buttons. There are dozens of different skills for each character to learn. No two characters will be the same and you’ll find a different combination of attacks that works for your play style.
Questing, Questing All Day Long
There are two things that drive the gameplay in Heroes of Ruin forward. The first is the sheer amount of loot you’ll find while playing. Much of it will be worthless to your character in terms of fighting, but luckily you don’t actually have to carry any of it with you. The developers including a quick sell feature, meaning you just have to hold down on the d-pad to automatically sell any loot you can’t use and get the gold immediately.
The other is the amount of quests that you’ll be able to complete. The city of Veil is designed as a hub world you’ll visit in between each level. This is where you’ll be able to buy or sell loot and earn quests. There are dozens of people wandering around the world and many of them will want to talk to you. Like other games in the genre, anyone with an exclamation point over their head has a job for you to do and you can add numerous quests to your quest log that can all be accomplished while you’re in the different dungeons. In addition to these story based quests and side quests, you’ll have daily and weekly quests to complete. These additional quests will change often and you’ll want to come back and check them all out to see how many you can accomplish. You’ll earn additional gold and XP for all of these quests and many people will find that it’s not really possible to complete all of the quests you’ll be given.
Fully Functioning Online System
Perhaps the most impressive part of the game is the online functionality that has been added. The game has drop-in, drop-out co-op both locally and online for up to four players. You can set the game up so that anyone can hop into your game at any time. You can also join other peoples games and help them on their quests. Much of the loot and XP you earn can be brought back to your game.
There is also voice chat for anyone that you’re playing with and it works really well. Holding down the L button in a multi-player game will allow you to chat with other players and I was surprised at how well it worked. I was able to completely understand other players at all times and I never had to speak at more than a normal voice level for them to hear me. A headset would have made this a little better, but it worked well without one.
The online isn’t completely perfect, though as the lengthy load times are made even worse when there are multiple people playing the game and any online communications would be interrupted should you decide to close the system at any point.
Most handheld games of this style have been two-dimensional, Zelda-style dungeon crawlers that don’t really push the system. Heroes of Ruin brings a full 3D environment with layers of depth to the 3DS. While the environments are big and varied, they’re all pretty basic in design with numerous textures used multiple times and limited types of enemies in each level. Many of those enemies are just palette swaps of other types of creatures, so in the respect the game is very generic when it comes to visuals. There is also a lot of customization to your character with every piece of equipment being represented as you use it. Like the enemies, however, there isn’t a lot of variety in this as many of this equipment is just a variation of other equipment you’ve already seen. It’s pretty disappointing considering other games in the genre, like Diablo or Torchlight, really do add a lot of variety when it comes to visuals and they keep you coming back for more.
Lengthy Load Times and Framerate Issues
With a game that has this much stuff going on, it’s a shame there are some pretty serious framerate issues. Several times you’ll find yourself surrounded by a half a dozen enemies and when they’re all tossing spells and you’re blasting off skills with particle and lighting effects. All of this going on will cause the system to really bog down at points. It’s very noticeable and brings the experience down a bit.
There is also a problem with load times. Anytime you go in or out of a dungeon, there are load times that seemed to last up to 30 seconds or more. If you play for a lengthy period of time you’re going to experience a LOT of these loads.
Heroes of Ruin is a game that’s really good, but is hampered by a few problems. It’s impressive what the developers have put into the game and all of these systems work pretty well. The problems hamper what could have been a top tier handheld experience. I played the game for about eight hours and enjoyed most of the experience. The framerate issues and load times, while noticeable, didn’t make the game suffer any in the fun department. An inopportune checkpoint during the final boss meant I had half a health bar and no potions to beat the final boss, which ended up being the most frustrating part of my first play through.
This is a very impressive game and a very solid attempt at bringing a Diablo-style dungeon crawler to the 3DS. If you’re in the market for a multi-player game that shows off what the system can do, you’re going to find a solid, but flawed experience. It is an experience I really enjoyed and look forward to what n-Space could do with another title that fixes the issues found in this release.
Review copy of the game provided by Square Enix
Played through the campaign once with one character and have begun a second play through.
Total Play Time: 8 hours