Lootfest RPG games are kinda hot right now, but where they are lacking is in the portable console market. Square Enix’s Heroes of Ruin looks to finally satisfy that craving for the looter on the go… wait, that’s not really what I meant.
In Heroes of Ruin the player assumes the role of one of four class-based characters. All the usual roles are represented here: hand-to-hand brawler, knight-like character, ranged gun-fighter, and magic-user. Main characters are summoned to a hub world known as Nexus in the hopes that they will be able to revive the city’s founder, a Sphinx named Ataraxis. Ataraxis (who is one of the true Heroes of Ruin) is under the curse that has caused him to fall into a deep and unending sleep. The hope of the city is that these mercenary heroes will be able break the curse and wake up their beloved founder. Going at it alone or with three friends, the goal is the same. Without spoiling much, the story takes a few typical RPG twists but manages to be mostly entertaining throughout.
Heroes of Ruin is probably exactly what the 3DS needs. It’s a great example of how to make a game that is easy to pick up and play but has a bit of depth, should you want to go looking for it. Seeing as how it is a loot-based hack and slash game, the main draw here will be said loot. While enemies do drop items of varying rarity, the drops we want to keep, or can even use, are more rare than they probably should be. In the early stages I was picking up anything and everything that I could to either use or, more often, to sell. The beauty of Heroes of Ruin is that it gives you the ability to sell junk items on the fly. However, the tragedy here is that I needed to sell A LOT of items, more so than I ended up keeping. It’s a bit of a shame that the one driving force in the game is something that I ended up shying away from closer to the end, that being picking up or even looking at all the loot drops.
As far as controls and visuals go, these too are nothing out of the ordinary. It’s nice that we can use hot-keys to bind certain abilities to the face buttons but they usually get forgotten, as our regular attack is both faster and more reliable than the specials. Heroes of Ruin is a bit “blocky” on the polygon side, and the backgrounds aren’t as crisp and clean as I had hoped they would be. It could be that this is a problem brought upon by the amount of information that is being held in the system at any given time. I’m not sure. The load times are a bit of a hassle as well. For a game that gets most of its information from a card, not a disc, it’s a letdown that the load times are kind of long (even in single player). I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to n-Space here. They have been developing DS and 3DS games for a while, but nothing probably of the scale of Heroes of Ruin. It’s also a game that (at least for me) was literally painful to play with the 3D on. I played my first couple hours with it on and my eyes and head felt like they were going to explode.
The other features of Heroes of Ruin will have to go down as “untested”. I attempted to get into online games but was never able to get anything going. This could be because of any one of a myriad of reasons, though I can’t pin it on n-Space. Maybe there just weren’t enough players with the game yet. Since I have never played an online game like this on my 3DS, it could very well be my fault — somehow. There are other features that could keep people coming back time and time again, if for no other reason than to just check their accounts. Through the Spot Pass and Street Pass features, players are able to sell/trade items with friends as well as random players. There are daily challenges and even the Heroes of Ruin website tracks stats as well and various other bits of info.
For a console system that is almost totally devoid of hack-and-slash, loot-driven, RPGs it’s easy to forgive Heroes of Ruin for just filling that gap. The issues found within detract only slightly from the overall experience of playing the game, but there isn’t much competition out there. For what is essentially a simplified portable Diablo clone it serves its purpose well. What I am left with after having played hours of Heroes of Ruin is a hope that — should this game sell well — a next iteration will fix current issues and build upon what is, after all is said and done, a decent foundation.
This review is based on a copy of the game sent to SideQuesting by the publisher.