Since the Nintendo 3DS launched the mantra in regards to game releases has been, be patient they are coming. When Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 launched late in 2011 it seemed like the wait was over and solid releases would start coming to the system on a consistent basis but that has not been the case. However now 15 months since the launch of the system, that wave finally seems to be upon us and SquareEnix is leading the charge. Following up on the success of their Final Fantasy music titles, which launched in early July, SquareEnix brings a fully featured, online capable action-roleplaying title to the table with Heroes of Ruin.
Heroes of Ruin takes place in the world of Veil, a war-torn land where the only safe-havens are those ruled by the powerful Ruinlords. When the Ruinlord of Nexus falls victim to a curse, all the adventures in the land set out to seek the cure and players are one of these lone adventurers. The storytelling and its presentation, via lengthy text exposition and awful voice acted cutscenes, are at best mediocre but it is the gameplay that will have people coming back to Veil over and over.
Heroes of Ruin is a loot focused, action-roleplaying game that draws much of its inspiration from the Blizzard’s successful Diablo franchise. From the get go, players will choose from a handful of standard fantasy archetypes. The Vindicator is basically a Paladin focusing on melee combat and defensive magic, the Gunslinger is the prototypical rogue utilizing ranged combat and subterfuge, the Alchitect is a sorceress, and the Savage is the standard barbarian. Each of the four classes give players a way to customize the game to their play style.
Unlike Diablo though which relies heavily on exploration of its semi-open world, Heroes of Ruin uses a hub system where players can transport to the game’s various locales. Each locale has a handful of areas to explore, which are unlocked by defeating story-based quests and each area has a variety of side-quests that can be completed for extra experience or gold. Completing side quests in Heroes of Ruin is key to advancing one’s character and most of them are relatively easy to complete.
The difficulty of Heroes of Ruin is quite possibly its biggest weakness. Vanquishing foes, even the biggest of bosses is a fairly simple affair for anyone familiar with the Diablo formula.. Except for some of the bigger boss battles, none of the combat is particularly challenging. This can most likely be attributed to the limitations of the platform, the 3DS just does not have the processing power to put hordes and hordes of enemies on the screen. While the primary draw of these types of games is the accumulation of loot, ultimately used to outfit one’s character in the best gear possible, the lower level of difficulty makes the gameplay loop less enticing.
Alleviating this major downside somewhat is the large amount social connectivity Heroes of Ruin offers. The game offers the ability to play with four people in a cooperative environment over either wifi or local area play and while this may be more than enough for some players, Heroes of Ruin offers a whole lot more via its connectivity. Playing with friends, forges an alliance and the more the games is played together the stronger the alliance grows. Building up the alliance, through ten ranks, will provide combat bonuses and better loot throughout the game making it highly worthwhile to play together.
While alliances can be forged via local play, the game is very forward thinking in terms of its online capabilities. In addition to being able to play with friends online from a wifi access point, Heroes of Ruin offers daily and weekly challenges by connecting to the network. Daily challenges take less time and are relatively easy to complete while weekly challenges require a time sink and a little added player skill. Completing these challenges provides players with Valor, a special currency that can be used to buy rare equipment known as Valor Relics.
In conjunction with the challenges, the game has an external stat tracking website that can be utilized after linking the game account. This site tracks standard game progress and allows users to take part in official web challenges giving an even broader range of content. Additionally n-Space has implemented a Trader’s Network utilizing the 3DS’s built in StreetPass functionality. Whenever Streetpassing occurs between Heroes of Ruin players, the game exchanges data on the items that have been sold by each player, giving players access to the each one’s seemingly useless loot, potentially uncovering something that could be of use to another class or lower level character. It is a unique way to utilize game functionality via Nintendo’s simplistic social features.
Heroes of Ruin is packed with content and is generally fun to play but its lack of difficulty may cause some players to lose interest with it quicker than they would probably like. Still Heroes of Ruin pushes the 3DS’s online capabilities in ways that no other game has done yet and that should be celebrated. SquareEnix has come through again with a quality title for the 3DS and in a library devoid of these types of experiences it is a welcome addition to the library of roleplaying game fans.
- Diablo-esque gameplay on the go.
- Tons of loot.
- Forward thinking online functionality.
- Difficulty level is a bit low.
- Voice acting is mediocre at its best.
- Graphics leave a bit to be desired.