During the summer of 2012 the 3DS was truly blessed, for those sorcerers at Square-Enix unleashed a trio of titles for it that, as a whole, served to elevate the console’s library (not to mention generate heaps of interest among those who had previously been on the fence about purchasing the console). Those titles were Theatrythm, Kingdom Hearts 3D and Heroes of Ruin. Sadly, every family has it’s black sheep, and the latter title proved to be the degenerate of this bunch.
Developed by n-Space, this action RPG showed so much promise. It’s graphics and playstyle led many of us to believe that this was going to be something of a pocket World of Warcraft. Sadly the game fell far short. Yes you can play 4-player both online and off (which was rare in those days), and even talk to other players online using the 3DS microphone. However my own personal experience with using the game’s multiplayer online was terrible : I could hardly hear the other players, they could not hear me, and in the end I was booted by the host. Rinse and repeat several times and I decided to give the multiplayer a wide berth.
Neal Ronaghan of NintendoWorldReport.com had a wholly better experience with it. In his extensive article on the game’s multiplayer he spoke about the technology working perfectly. However he also raised the good point that the multiplayer adds very little to your single player campaign (there is no alternative online level-up system in this title like in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate). So, like me, he preferred playing alone.
Multiplayer aside, the game, as a whole, is broken. Broken in irredeemable ways. I made the mistake of starting a couple of collector quests, not finishing them (because they were long and I had to go for dinner or something), coming back to them and discovering they were now impossible to finish. And impossible to delete and restart. Sadly one of them (called Primal Hostility) was a key quest and, hence, needed to be finished in order to make progress in the game. I wasted about 20 hours levelling my character up to Level 14 and collecting all kinds of equipment for her, only to be glitched out of being able to finish the damn thing. I was not happy, and still feel bitter about it if I’m honest.
Perhaps the glitch did me a favour. The gameplay is a boring mishmash of other games, such as the aforemetioned World of Warcraft (which it does a poor job of emulating). It is repetitive and contains hardly any variety, with a level cap of a paltry 30. Quests see you either battling or collecting stuff. If you’re so inclined you can tinkle about with the ingame shop ‘Traders’ Network’, where players can share equipment found in quests via StreetPass, but I never found it added much personally, mind you. All the equipment I needed I could find easily during the obligatory questing. The system certainly falls far short of the WoW Auction House it is dearly trying to be.
That said the game isn’t all bad. IGN’s Chris Schilling described the game as “graphically weak, yet technically excellent” but I’d argue he got things the wrong way round. For those of us used to playing RPGs on the Nintendo DS Heroes of Ruin’s visuals demonstrated a large graphical leap. Making full use of the 3DS’ screen resolution, the player travels through atmospheric levels, murky in places, that are always full of character. The graphical highpoint of the game has to be the third world (the section wisely chosen as the demo level) ; a mystical forest full of lush foliage. The menus, in addition, look very slick indeed. The graphics are slightly let down by the textures on the character models, but overall I’d say they were of good standard for Heroes of Ruin’s day.
The music, although repetitive, is similiarly of high standard. Sacha Puttnam’s dramatic pieces dualise perfectly with the action on screen as it unfolds, really drawing you in and making you feel as if you’re taking part in something very significant and special.
Perhaps the game’s biggest saving grace is the fact that, nearly two years on, the game’s online community is still thriving. A quick glance on the heroesofruin.com forum shows recent posts in all sub-forums (with General Discussion being particularly popular). This may have been helped inpart by the fact the game was re-released as a downloadable eShop title last March. Whatever the reason, it’s a comfort that those crazy enough to take the plunge and actually acquire this will still be able to find others to chat about the game with/play with.
In conclusion, I dearly wanted to like Heroes of Ruin. Despite the repetitiveness and lack of originality I persevered. The music was cool afterall, and I always thought Vindicator was a really cool name for a character… How did the game thank me? By thwarting my progress via being broken. Many have said that Heroes of Ruin was rushed. Those of us who followed its’ launch knew there were problems with time-keeping, seeing as the game was delayed several times. But no effort was made afterwards to release a patch to fix the glitches (or re-enable progress for unfortunate souls such as myself).
Heroes of Ruin is very fortunate to still have an active online community. It certainly doesn’t deserve it. Still, kudos to it for the fact it does, it goes to show what resilient and loyal fans Nintendo and Square-Enix both have . I remember listening to one of Square-Enix Ruincasts and hearing Ben Bateman et al trill excitedly about ‘epic loot’. With a level cap of 30 this game had no need for epic loot. What it needs is an epic boot. An epic boot up it’s mithril-cladden backside! In it’s defence there is still time for the developers to update and improve things.
Here at 3DSBlessed we love Square-Enix. Literally. Just… don’t do this to us again guys? </3
Final Score : 3.5/10
Official Heroes of Ruin website : http://heroesofruin.com/