Heroes of Ruin Review

Meager difficulty diminishes much of Heroes of Ruin's adventurous charm.

by

Loot-driven role-playing games combine the thrill of slaying terrifying beasts with the lure of earning powerful abilities and valuable gear. It's a delectable rhythm when done right, but when one of these aspects falters, the other invariably crumbles as well. In Heroes of Ruin, the demons roaming the land are little more than hideous pushovers, which diminishes the impact of your plentiful upgrades. Why bother tinkering with your skills when spamming your basic attack is enough to win most fights? This problem overshadows many of Heroes of Ruin's strengths, turning the harrowing life of an adventurer into a pleasant stroll through a monster-infested park.

The fantasy storyline that serves as the framework for Heroes of Ruin gives adequate motivation for your actions, but little more. The many locations your travels take you do a better job of drawing you in than the static cutscenes that detail major events. A deep-sea labyrinth containing jail cells guarded by screaming abominations gives way to a twisted celestial world populated by all manner of demonic creatures. Roaming through dimly lit forests with howling wolves and acid-spitting spiders sends shivers down your spine, compelling you onward to see what horrible creature or creepy locale waits around the bend.

The structure is similar to other hack-and-slash RPGs. After selecting one of four classes (gunslinger, architect, vindicator, or savage), you set off to free the world from imminent destruction. Nexus, a bustling city that serves as your hub, has all manner of individuals in need of help. Some tasks are necessary to progress the plot, but most are ancillary activities to keep your wits sharp and experience points flowing. Although the objective may urge you to find a lost key or collect elf ears, your actions usually boil down to cutting down everything that moves and picking up whatever prize is left behind. Thankfully, Heroes of Ruin does sprinkle in the odd puzzle so your mind doesn't drift to other things. The puzzles aren't too tricky--set off geysers in the correct order or make a path through concentric circles--but they offer good variety and ensure you can't plow through the game on autopilot.

And those moments of thoughtfulness are appreciated considering that most combat is quite easy. When confronted by a shark/man hybrid in the briny depths, you might be scared of this digital realization of the dreaded land shark. But a few swipes from your trusty blade later, the beast is on the ground and you're hunting for more prey. Even the gigantic bosses fail to enliven the experience. Hacking away at a giant squid is as easy as pie, even when its tentacles are sprouting up all over the battlefield. You may have to dip into your reserve of health potions occasionally, but your supply rarely drops much below your carrying limit of 20. Aside from two bosses who have instant-kill attacks, there aren't any who can do enough damage to make you shiver, and even in those fights, they telegraph their moves well in advance so you can safely move to the side before your life is in danger.

A dead walking shark is the only good walking shark.

A lack of any challenge is a serious problem in Heroes of Ruin because you rarely have to put much thought into your upgrade path. Every time you gain a level, you add a few points into your attributes and then choose a new attack, buff, or passive ability from the skill tree. Poring over the best way to build your character is one of the main draws in loot-driven RPGs, but that appeal is missing here. It hardly matters what you choose. The standard attack is more than enough to dispatch most foes, so discovering advanced tactics to kill more effectively doesn't factor in. The same problems persist with weapon and armor upgrades. Analyzing the pros and cons of each piece of armament is useless since just about any piece of equipment near your level is enough to vanquish those that hound you.

It's a good thing you don't have to stress over your equipment because there are serious problems with how this basic system is implemented. There's no ability to sort your items, so you have to scroll past dozens of items intended for a class other than your own before you find something you can equip. Most of the time, you just end up selling off most of your inventory.

Saving cash for a pricey sword you've been eyeing is part of the hook in action RPGs, but the monetary system in Heroes of Ruin breaks down halfway through the game. There's a cap to how much money you can carry. Once you reach 99,999 gold, you can't sell any more items. There are two solutions, and both of them are messy. You could just dump all of your unneeded items in the corner of a dungeon and then continue collecting more loot that you'll inevitable drop back down. Or, you can go back to town, blow your earnings on useless junk just to spend some money, and then go back out to nab more weapons and armor. Either way, it's a fix for a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place.

The fate of the world is in Mister Man's hands.

Even with these faults, Heroes of Ruin still creates an enticing experience. Cutting nasty enemies to shreds is empowering, even if they don't put up much of a fight, and trying out new abilities gives impressive ways to slay your feeble attackers. Heroes of Ruin also allows for four-player cooperative play, either locally or online, and though the framerate dips a little when playing with friends, the benefits easily outweigh the small hiccups. Mowing through waves of enemies with your buddies by your side is difficult to pull yourself away from, and you can even talk to them via the microphone built into every 3DS.

Heroes of Ruin is a competent adventure that encompasses the key aspects of the genre but never goes beyond the expected. And through your initial playthrough takes roughly 15 hours, there aren't harder difficulty settings, so there's little incentive to go through again. Heroes of Ruin is an adequate hack-and-slash adventure for dungeon hunters on the go, but problems in many areas hold it from reaching its full potential.

The Good
Good variety of monsters and environments
Seamless co-op integration
The Bad
Lack of challenge lessens lure of new loot and skills
Busted monetary system
Only one difficulty setting
6
Fair
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1 comments
VintAge68
VintAge68

I like HoR so far though in fact, PC online RPGs like Path of Exile might result cheaper (and less easy), but do not allow for Street/Spot Pass use. Btw, it is "Alchitect," not Architect (cf. Alchemy), quite fitting neologism here for the spellcasting class...

Goku2
Goku2

I only tried the demo and even that was enough to tell me that the game is too easy

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

I thought the game had alot of potential, I'm disappointed for the bad review and I don't even own a 3ds.

thom_maytees
thom_maytees

I never thought this game has any potential of being great as evident through the reviews.

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

I think the main issue here is that certain people don't know how to look at video game scores and believe any game worth a darn only scores an 8 or higher.

 

Judging from Heroes of Ruin's review and the score the game is "Fair" like it says. Not too good, not too bad. Buy it if you like the idea of it.

 

I won't get this game because I don't have a 3DS yet and I'm only able to play my brother's when I can. Plus I have my eyes on much better games when I finally am able to get one.

 

Hm, since I brought up interest about buying low scoring games earlier, that reminds me that I'd still like to get Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory 3D on 3DS. Mostly because Chaos Theory on Xbox was so badass.

 

Well, that's the end of my comment.

LeoGoBezerk
LeoGoBezerk

why the hell do I need 3ds to play THIS? looks like a regular $1-$2 phone game

logicalfrank
logicalfrank

I think this review is fair. The game is a cakewalk. It bears mentioning though that it is still really fun and engaging.

gix47
gix47

for a 3DS game that has a working MP, and this is reviewed by a guy who loves platformers( as this is a rpg), i would have to say ignore this mess of a review and try it out, it's a 7

and also i just want to say it's online,MP focus and is a pretty robust game  for a 3DS! i would go so far and say its the most gallent 3DS game so far from a developer,and daily and weekly objectives from n-Space does add  something.

but i will say it needs more polish but imo, for what it is,it's a good game and is a easy pick up and go

 

valdarez
valdarez

Been playing this game a couple of days now, and Tom's right.  The game is very, very easy regardless of what class you choose to play.  One thing that @TomMcShea failed to call out in the review was the reuse of dungeons that are simply redisplayed at different angles to give the appearance of a 'new' dungeon.  Becomes very repetitive early on in the game when you realize it's the same place over, and over again. 

 

I'd give the game a 7 myself.  The online MP works great.  Unfortunately there's just no reason for MP'ing your way through a cakewalk.  :(

StopFear
StopFear

While I can't make a fully educated comment since I did not play the full game, I did play the demo. This game is nothing exceptional, but it deserves a unique place in 3DS lineup because it is clearly a western type RPG, and I do not believe there was one western rpg on 3DS yet. Closest to it is Abyss I and Abyss II games in the DSiware category. Maybe this is boring for those of us who are seasoned players, but for new, less experienced, gamers this is pretty good. The demo shows how well this game runs. No slow downs, decent graphics.

Iamtrent424
Iamtrent424

i think this game looks decent. But i watch 10 secs and was bored from it

sknight175216
sknight175216

Just play the demo. It was really fun. I'm definitely picking this up. Why not support developers who are making games for the 3DS. Besides a 6 is pretty good coming from Mr. Mc Shea ha ha. :P

Banefire76
Banefire76

Hey what did everyone expect? I mean it's just a Square Enix game after all. It was never going to be anything but average.

ProjektInsanity
ProjektInsanity

It's a bad sign if I can't watch more than 30 seconds of the video without being painfully bored.  It looks like 6.0 is about right.

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

Somehow I knew this game was gonna blow.

I_are_Cake
I_are_Cake

Ever since the excellent Geist, which is one of my 10 GameCube games, it seems that n-Space has been making nothing but crap.

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

This game has just been Mcshead. I'll ask the same question Tom asked another user. What's the point of a scale point if you are just gonna use the 6 digit? LOL almost all his scoring is 6 point something. Maybe Tom is the Devil. LOL (FYI I don't care for this game. Before some smart ass asks. I clicked on it because I thought it was another game.)

mikepp83
mikepp83

Well 4 characters for a 15 hour playthrough. 60 hours of gameplay is quite good in my eyes. Can't wait to get my copy.

DinoBuster
DinoBuster

It's a fine game for what it is, but just as the reviewer says, there is a lot to be desired.

The gold system is completely ridiculous, and I can't help but think it was something they meant to fix but just forgot to before the final build was sent out. I like the daily and weekly quests that earn you valor points to buy super uber items, but again, as this review mentions, none of the monsters but up much of fight, so you can only get so excited about cool gear in practice. I purchased it since I the genre is one of my favorites, but I can see myself trading it in soon after my first playthrough.

Gliave
Gliave

 

Love how the DS starts freezing when more than 2 monsters show up at a time....It's ahead of it's time i tell ya!?

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

Sorry for the two posts but............

 

WOW, I can't believe I just said that I was wanting a patch for a handheld game......

Calgon, take me away to the days of the SNES, Genesis, PS and DC, when the game was either finished or it was crap................

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

The demo was decent, but the lack of a harder difficulty has halted my purchase. A patch, and I'll reconsider.

WTA2k5
WTA2k5

Someday I hope an action RPG comes along that brings as much interesting narrative as it does loot.

SteveMcD01
SteveMcD01

From the most recent Demo's, I will wait on Kingdom Hearts and skip this game.  Kingdom Hearts has some pretty kickin combat.

chipwithdip
chipwithdip

A review with no rating? NOW I've seen it all...

nate1222
nate1222

Well, looks like a decent dungeon crawler. But Lunar Knights for the DS looks a bit better. LK is definately more challenging and strategic.

Eagle7D8
Eagle7D8

I'm glad I never picked this up. I may just rent it or buy it when it is much much cheaper.

GreenReuben
GreenReuben

 @logicalfrank That's the problem with review scores, it gives off a one size fits all impression, so far I've heard a lot of good things from people (not my kind of game so I still wont pick it up) despite it reviewing poorly. Some people will like it for being easy and some wont, the problem is, is that people often don't read the review (hell I haven't) and just judge from the score. So in short all reviews should have a video version because I don't want to read it.

indigoAK200
indigoAK200

I love women.  Does that mean I hate dogs, cats, ants, beetles, canaries, frogs, trees, orchids, snapdragons, chicken, Dr. Pepper and cumulus clouds?

 

 

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

 @gix47 Shockingly, I play more genres than just platformers. Also, just because this is a 3DS game doesn't mean I should ignore its faults. You still have to pay $40, money that could be used for a superior game in the same genre. That said, I did still enjoy it, and I think others will as well. That's why I gave it a positive score.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

 @valdarez That's a very good point. Kind of a sneaky way to make the game seem more diverse than it is.

707107
707107

 @ExplicitMike No one would blame you either way dude.

But you have brought up a good point, Its hard to impress Mr.Mcshea.

ALL SHALL FEAR THE TOM.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

 @GreenReuben That's why I have a thousand words below the review score. The 6.0 signifies "Hey, this game has some issues, but it's still pretty darn fun!" and then you can read what those issues are and weigh them against the strengths.

 

As far as having a video review, vacation days have ravaged our video staff. It's the scourge of the summer. We could only cut one video review the day Heroes of Ruin went live, and Tony Hawk HD got priority.

redrabbit65
redrabbit65

 @TomMcShea Sometimes I wonder whether the platform is taken into account. It kinda bugs me that people make Diablo comparisons so much and hold it to that standard seemingly ignoring the fact that a full-bore PC is much more capable than a 3ds (not to mention that $40 is cheaper that $60). To me it's important to say "Looking at what's currently available on the 3ds..." and decide from there. What other game on the 3ds delivers this sort of game play? Literally none, so that gets the game props right off. Does it lack in certain areas? Most games do, even the AAA titles have room for improvement. Does it look like NSpace took some considerable time and effort and crafted something of quality and value? Absolutely. It doesn't matter at all what other games on other platforms deliver a better dungeon crawler experience because I don't own those platforms and that comparison is supremely irrelevant.

valdarez
valdarez

 @GreenReuben  @TomMcShea True.  Honestly hadn't thought of doing that, which is a very good idea.  Will have to give that a go with the Vindicator now that I'm nearly done with the Gunslinger.  It's not ideal, but I've done crazier things to make a game fun/challenging before.  :)

StopFear
StopFear

No, I don't think so. JRPG and WRPG are very different types of game so they can't really be compared with the "<,>,=" signs. The signs would indicate they're variations of one type of game and one is better than the other. Both game genres have different history of development, but both originated share the roots of the western D&D board games . My preference is WRPG because they move faster and  are real time based more often than turn based, which saves a lot of time.

Banefire76
Banefire76

 @Iridescent406

 Certainly not, simply stating that Square Enix is not a quality publisher and therefore anything it pays to get developed is going to reflect that. If it wasn't for thier fluke in good judgement with having Eidos Monreal create Deus Ex HR then they would be bankrupt by now. Its just a fact.

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

 @GreenReuben Sounds like those people need to re-evaluate ratings ranging 1-10.

 

Come on people, a 6 is just above the halfway mark. How does that not say anything?

Steba93
Steba93

 @Keithyboy25 No, it was made by Squaresoft, that was before Square and Enix  became one. Enix made awesome Star Ocean series, Square made awesome Secret of Mana, FF and Chrono series, but together they haven't made anything as awesome or even nearly as awesome

Keithyboy25
Keithyboy25

 @Banefire76 Hang on, didn't Square Enix make Secret of Mana? (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) That game is awesome!

Heroes of Ruin More Info

First Release on Jul 17, 2012
  • 3DS
Heroes of Ruin is an adventure game featuring four unlikely heroes brought together to form an alliance.
7.2
Average User RatingOut of 70 User Ratings
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Developed by:
n-Space
Published by:
Square Enix
Genres:
Action
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Teen
All Platforms
Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language