Review

Ruiner Review

  • First Released Sep 26, 2017
    released
  • PC

Diary of a madman

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There's a certain flavour of brutality that some video games possess. An intoxicating river of violence that flows through the gameplay and drives a story through to a (hopefully) satisfying conclusion. It provokes a certain appeal that transforms a potentially generic experience into a bleak, brutal journey of blood, sweat and tears. This is where Ruiner lives and breathes.

In the year 2091, the city of Rengkok is a corrupt yet alluring hellhole. Gangs of murderous street kids roam the alleyways and corporate guards tell you where you're not welcome. The failing conglomerate Heaven controls everything from military to entertainment and everyone in between is just trying to survive.

As rich as this backdrop is, it is a clothesline from which mass murder hangs. Your character is an internally wired lunatic whose only emotions are nods, shrugs and various moods which are displayed on an impressive LED helmet. Unfortunately, this technology is easily exploited and that's where the story of Ruiner begins. Rebooted by a mysterious hacker named Her, you are told that Heaven has kidnapped your brother and you must tear Rengkok apart to find him. She calls you her 'Puppy' and as far you know, this is your only identity.

Visualised from an isometric perspective, Ruiner demands a lethally fast playstyle balanced with a methodical view towards defeating your enemies. Blood paints the floor as you cut a path through walls of bodies with swords, shotguns, pipes, rail guns and grenades. From dilapidated gang warehouses to thunderous steaming factories, the environments of Rengkok are your canvas for the art of death.

With a legion of inventive weapons and skills, mixed with abilities like a quick dash, shield, and the manipulation of enemies brains, everywhere you go quickly becomes a playground of murder. Ruiner strides knee-deep through carnage with such precision and confidence that sometimes all you can do is hang on and hope you come out alive the other side. As you begin to become accustomed to the sometimes brutally difficult combat, the game opens its doors to inventive boss encounters, and some profoundly satisfying melee combat scenarios.

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Cyborgs, assassins and gang leaders can kill with only a few strikes or bullets so if you don't keep to the mantra of "move or die", you'll witness your demise many times. However, Ruiner never feels unfair. While it gives the early perception of being unforgiving, it is always clear where you went wrong, and you immediately want to jump straight back into battle to demonstrate that you have what it takes. Every enemy encounter gives you enough rope to hang yourself and it's up to you to figure out how to escape the noose.

The most outstanding companion on this murderous journey is the music. Developer Reikon Games has assembled a myriad of artists to contribute to the driving, thumping soundtrack. From Polish techno to UK house tunes, the intoxicating soundscapes help propel the violence and drive Ruiner into that golden 'one-more-go' territory which can be difficult to escape.

Every enemy encounter gives you enough rope to hang yourself and it's up to you to figure out how to escape the noose.

The characters that populate the city are a fascinating collection of outcasts, scumbags and manipulators. With names like Mechanix, Nerve and Traffic King, the cyberpunk landscape of Rengkok is littered with mysterious conversations and peculiar motivations. However, here lies Ruiner's most glaring misstep. While every character has a compelling personality, not enough is done to bring them to the surface. The dialogue is well-written but most citizens you interact with are not as fully realised as they deserve to be. Loose ends begin to pile up and by the end of the story, you're left wondering if a large part of the tapestry of Rengkok was left on the cutting room floor.

But this matters not when you're inhaling the blood-drenched aesthetics of this universe. Cinematic lighting peeks through robotic factories and muted neon colours paint your path into a unique world of futuristic corruption, though the overwhelming presence of the colour red begins to notably dominate everything in the wake of your actions. From in-game menus to warehouse lighting, this theme is a constant reminder that bloodshed is your currency and your pockets are very deep indeed.

Violence in games can be designed as an incentive to move forward. When expertly crafted, it is a catalyst to continue when you might give up and go beyond where you thought your capabilities ended. In this respect, Ruiner succeeds masterfully. A lightning-fast lethality fits this cyberpunk world like a glove and pushes you into surprising tests of skill that become more rewarding with every slice and explosion.

Ruiner creates a future teeming with interesting concepts, fascinating people and hidden despair. But it is the combat which stands front and centre. Through the endless bodies that fall by your hand, the grim layers of the story peel away to divulge a few surprises about the meaning of life, death and revenge. It is a revealing journey that's well worth taking but it is apparent from the opening scene to the mysterious finale, the only thing that is pure and absolute in the world of Ruiner is murder.

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The Good
Brutal, addictive, and rewarding combat
A beautifully futuristic world
Colossal selection of weapons and skills allows for creative combat
A fascinating and bleak cyberpunk story
The Bad
Far too many character interactions are treated as an afterthought
Sub-plots are left painfully unresolved
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

David Rayfield would prefer to convey his emotions via a face helmet covered in pretty lights. But until someone hacks his brain, a non-committal shrug will have to do. He spent around 10 hours completing the story, replaying missions, and soaking up the atmosphere. Ruiner was reviewed on PC.
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vickissv2

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I also want to call out how soft and b**** made the IGN review for this was.

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vickissv2

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This game is also an Xbox One Play Anywhere title.

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Sam3231

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@vickissv2: Wow dude really? I did not know that. I think I will buy it today.

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silentrambo

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Game is super fun, just grabbed it and dove head first into it and I must say, it's pretty awesome. The combat is tough but fair with really fluid movement, lots of fun. The atmosphere is also really cool, the music is great with wicked visuals, the cyberpunk flows through this game in a fantastic way.

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Lembu90

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Edited By Lembu90

What Hatred(the game) should have been instead of far-right nihilist propaganda.

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SythisTaru

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@lembu90: *far-left, but otherwise agree

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The_Luigi

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Edited By The_Luigi

@SythisTaru: Ignoring the developers of Hatred were part of far right hate groups in their Facebook pages, sure.

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SythisTaru

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@The_Luigi: Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his own brow?

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KoRniTo

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@lembu90: Spot on! I have the same opinion.

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uninspiredcup

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Very tempted to pick this up, everything about it attracts.

But... so many games to finish as it is.

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RUINER_game

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Edited By RUINER_game

@uninspiredcup: We're better than "so many games". ;)

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solatron

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@uninspiredcup: LMAO. Yeah I feel you, bro. Got tons of unfinished games in my Steam Library too.

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Josefo

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Great review.

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Elwinaidus

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This is on ps4 as well and so will divinity 2 be so hold ya horses.

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wrngsurgeon

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@elwinaidus: why would ruiner being on ps4 affect divinity 2's platforms?

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everson_rm

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PC is killing thoose last weeks. WIth this, Warhammer and Divinity 2, i really tempted in throwing a gtx 1070 on my old 4770...

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RUINER_game

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@everson_rm: RUINER in 4K60FPS is marvellous.

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streetmagik

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@ruiner_game: why no 4k and HDR for PS pro? Really enjoying the game though.

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Ruiner More Info

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  • First Released Sep 26, 2017
    released
    • Linux
    • Macintosh
    • + 3 more
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    7.7
    Average Rating24 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Ruiner
    Developed by:
    Reikon Games
    Published by:
    Devolver Digital
    Genre(s):
    Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence