|Dev: Stairway Games|
|Pub: Perfect World|
|Release: (Open Beta)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
Of course, Rusty Hearts being a "free to play" game, it's worth asking whether you can actually play it for free. The answer is yes, though you'll miss out on a few things. One setback to keeping your wallet closed is that you'll be limited to five "resurrection scrolls," which refill your health when it runs out, each day. You'll also be unable to access items from the Cash Store, including better-looking gear. And you'll miss your chance to buy your way to a higher level by picking up EXP boosts. Only time will tell whether purchasable items and bonuses will unbalance the game, but I didn't notice any problems in my time with it.
A few quick notes on technical issues. While the voice acting is pretty good during cutscenes, some of the dialogue clips played on top of each other instead of in succession, and the volume was inconsistent. Also, the installer crashed my computer once, though it worked fine the second time.
This brings me to the bottom line, which is always hard with an MMO. Rusty Hearts is changing constantly, with a steady stream of updates, bug fixes, and new material—the "stamina" system, which limited play time during the closed beta, is already gone, and a big expansion, Awakening, will arrive in just two weeks. So, the game available to you right now might be different than the one I played. However, on the plus side, I had a fun time bludgeoning my way through the dungeons for a while, and I love this game's unique look. On the downside, the gameplay gets repetitive after the first few hours, and it lacks the huge and lush world that other MMOs offer. I can't imagine getting lost in Rusty Hearts for months.
If you hate MMOs that give your character a backstory, lack a good experience outside of the dungeons, or let you get away with too much button mashing, Rusty Hearts isn't for you. If you relish the thought of slicing through supernatural enemies without paying for it, though, this might be your cup of tea. At the very least, it's worth downloading and trying.
CCC Contributing Writer