Heroes of Ruin Preview
Heroes of Ruin Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: n-Space
Pub: Square Enix
Release: Q2 2012
Players: 1-4
Screen Resolution: N/A
Slaying Socially
by Shelby Reiches

You are a mercenary, called to the city of Nexus as its ruler and one of the Lords of the world, Ataraxis, has taken ill, struck down by a deadly curse. Brought in by the promise of rewards aplenty, you set out to seek a cure for the Lord's grave illness, a way to remove this terrible curse. Drawing on fantasy tropes held aloft for decades on the expectations of consumers, this is Heroes of Ruin's story, and the impetus behind your impending journey of hackery and slashery.

The first thing that strikes one about Heroes of Ruin is the game's pedigree. Square Enix? Aren't they the gents behind the seminal Final Fantasy series and the so-popular-in-Japan-it-got-a-holiday Dragon Quest? They are, at that, and they've set out to publish n-Space's latest portable effort.

Heroes of Ruin Screenshot

Designed around a basic action RPG framework, Heroes of Ruin takes many of its cues from Diablo, featuring four distinct classes with which to gather randomly generated equipment in randomly generated levels tied to five separate areas in which one can choose to adventure. So, a Phantasy Star Online/Diablo vibe, no?

The four classes promised include the typical representatives from the school of hitting stuff with big swords and academy of colorful lights and exploding magics. But its ranged representative follows the increasingly popular trend of "fantasy with guns," packing his cloak with sidearms and bombs. The final character, while passingly similar to a monk, eschews bare fists for bladed gauntlets and is less "zen and the art of butt whoop" and more "savagely tearing out your vital bits with hardly constrained glee." These characters will, of course, be customizable with full, unique skill trees and equipment that will model distinctly on their person, allowing one to change not only their statistics but their appearance. All of this is well and good, if par for the course. The thing is, though, that the greatest draw for the games we've compared Heroes of Ruin to so far has always been their multiplayer components, and this being a 3DS title, what options could it possibly offer?


Well, how does four-player co-op sound? Explore and slay with your friends, using the 3DS' built-in wireless. The initial trailer promises chat functionality via microphone, so fear not the virtual keyboard, internet denizens. This multiplayer component, rather than running parallel to the single player game, is actually inseparable from it, an integral component of the game design from day one. Even when adventuring alone, one can leave space for potential companions to fill, joining your struggle against the creatures that stand between you and more loot.

Heroes of Ruin Screenshot

All right, you say, that's good to know, and it certainly does look pretty, particular for a game that's generating its levels procedurally. Everything animates smoothly and the areas have distinct, thematic appearances to them that appear to have depth even when viewed without the benefit of 3D. It looks fast-paced and fun and all that. The character designs are certainly eye-catching, though not as much so as the enemies, which include tentacle-equipped plants and bipedal shark-monsters. It has some quirk to it, but so does Torchlight, and that has a multiplayer sequel that's coming along nicely. And how 'bout that Diablo III, with its Blizzard pedigree and large, loyal fan base? Several other dungeon crawls offer excellent co-operative action-RPG fun, too, so what makes Heroes of Ruin really unique?

Two words: StreetPass and SpotPass.

These two terms have been thrown around since the 3DS' announcement, but they're still somewhat fuzzy concepts to developers, neat additions to the system's capabilities that are rarely implemented in any meaningful form. It's probable that most gamers have little idea what they do. SpotPass in particular, since StreetPass is at least an evolution of a standby wireless mode used in certain DS titles, such as Dragon Quest IX and The World Ends With You. Here, StreetPass is used for trading with other players, using the appropriately named "Traders Network." Items can be traded with other players or sold for points, which allow one to purchase otherwise unavailable items. SpotPass, on the other hand, updates the game itself with new content, such as promised daily challenges, which players can track on the community website. Since both modes work from standby, it's possible to walk down the street with one's 3DS and wind up with new challenges to tackle and new equipment to purchase from other players.

Heroes of Ruin Screenshot

Heroes of Ruin is unique not because it brings classic action-RPG sensibilities to a handheld platform, but because it so readily tackles the unfamiliar waters of interconnectivity on the 3DS. Rather than relegating those features to mere curiosities in the context of its core experience, the game owns those capabilities and turns them into the keystone around which the rest of the adventure is constructed. Handheld games have rapidly approached parity with their console and PC counterparts over the past couple of generations, the experiences they offer growing in complexity and depth. Heroes of Ruin is one of the first attempts at truly bridging that final gap of comprehensive, portable, multiplayer gaming, using the increased proliferation of wireless internet connectivity to create a more seamless, on-the-go, multiplayer experience.

By Shelby Reiches
CCC Contributing Writer

Game Features:

  • Connect with other heroes around the globe - Experience the game and the adventure in full, whether you battle alone or with friends. Chat with your team in real time using the 3DS microphone, trade items with them, forge new alliances, and engage in tactical team play to overcome enemies.
  • Unique and personalized experience - Explore and fight through wild, varied, and dynamic environments. Battle against a wide variety of deadly creatures, who will stretch your combat and tactical skills, collecting loot, weapons, armour, and other gear to empower and enrich you on your quest. Discover new layouts, routes, items, and enemy encounters each time you play.
  • Keep the action going - Play in new ways and access more rewards and achievements by completing challenges sent to your 3DS every day, or download frequent new game content, including new character items and quests.

  • Screenshots / Images
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