This is my most anticipated 3DS game, bar none. I’ve been looking forward to this game since it was announced, hoping beyond hope that it would become everything I dreamed it would be (Action RPGs, for whatever reason, resonate with me on a greater number of levels than other genres). While it isn’t exactly the way I thought, it is close. During my time with the preview, I was lucky enough to play co-op with another member of the press through one segment of a campaign. I’m happy to report four player co-op will exist in either online or adhoc modes and online play does indeed include headset chat or push to talk functions using the built-in Mic on the 3DS. The classes that will be available are:
- Vindicator (Paladin)
- Gunslinger (Roguish ranged character with enemy debuffs)
- Architect (Crowd control)
- Savage (Hits hard, but can’t take hits.)
Two classes were available for the preview. The role of Gunslinger, which is the rogue/range class, was assigned to me while my partner snatched up the Vindicator character. Naturally, during our time with the preview, the co-op was handled through the ad-hoc function of the 3DS and performed swimmingly. As we ventured through our mission, the parts of the randomly generated map that were stitched together became more and more apparent, almost as if they were standardized Lego bricks that were joined together. This was the one issue that prevented it from fulfilling my dreams. It’s not terrible and I understand the constraints brought about from the 3DS but if you plan on playing this game mostly single player, the replay will be hollow and repetitive. The multiplayer was a blast and genuinely forced my attention in other areas besides critiquing the copy-and-paste level design. Strategy and working cohesively works very well, even in two-man teams, and during boss battles is practically necessary to advance. The icing on the cake is the sweet gameplay staples that currently define the genre, such as skill trees and loot.
In addition, (outside of mechanics and gameplay) the camera was handled automatically quite gracefully (thankfully there will be no requirement for the circle pad pro) and procedurally generated dungeons are created on the fly insuring that multiple play-throughs of the same level will be different, even if they don’t feel different. Another neat feature is that the host drives the mulitplayer game, but if you are at the same point in the story, it saves your progress in the guest games as well. Last but not least, is the sweet sweet Street Pass feature. When you sell something, it goes into the “trader’s network” where you distribute your sold items to people you Street Pass with, which populates a vendor in the city, where you can buy any of the up-to 80,000 items that they’ve encountered.
Heroes of Ruin is set to release on June 26th 2012.