I've had my eye on Heroes of Ruin for a while now since its early production days when it was announced. Its an upcoming RPG for the 3DS in the style of Diablo 'hack and slash' loot driven action RPGs.
European regions received the demo on the Nintendo 3DS eShop a couple days ago, so after not touching my 3DS for a while, I checked this demo out. So here are my initial thoughts of this demo.
The action is fast and quite frantic. There can be quite a lot of things going on at one time on the screen, most of which is on the top screen. However, I didn't notice any kind of slowdown as a result of all the stuff going on. The controls seem quite tight, with attacks and special moves mapped to the face buttons, potions for health and mana mapped to right and left on the D-pad, and nifty options for speeding up loot management mapped to the shoulder buttons (L) and auto-selling stuff you don't need (or can't equip with your class) with down on the D-pad. So the controls succeed at speeding up what can be quite a clunky aspect of this sub-genre. I'm a bit concerned that this could be simplifying things too much though. I actually enjoy inventory management in games like Diablo II. The battles are fast and fun in this game, especially when teaming up with other players. That brings me to the 'drop in-drop out' multiplayer that they are trying to use as a selling point. While not quite as well polished yet as the company would like, it is done very well. I had a game open and was 'afk-ing' to eat my lunch, and heard some sound effects happening, so, thinking I was being attacked, looked over to find that another player had easily dropped into my game via the wi-fi to co-op with me. By the time a few minutes had passed, another two players had joined and the tempo really picked up. Needless to say, my lunch had to wait till later.
Quests and dialogue options are presented in a very slick, polished manner I found. Its good to have some options when it comes to RPGs like this. I hope they present some dialogue options that actually have profound effects on the outcome of the story, quests and NPCs throughout the game.
One other concern I have is the randomisation of weapon drops, stats and levels that you explore. Diablo games succeed because they do not get stale. There is such a wealth of content due to many stages being different each time, and the amazing abundance of items. I really hope this game doesn't dissapoint by having watered down item effects and stages.
This is one of the areas that slightly let me down I felt. The camera is slightly too far out, and the developers seem to have opted for as detailed portraits and enemies as possible. The way the graphical engine works means that its a little too hard to see what is going on at times. I found myself holding down a direction and mashing on the attack button. Sophisticated things like blocking and dodging were way out of my comfort zone, at least for my 2 run throughs of the demo, hopefully they tweak the graphics a bit for the final release, just so we can tell whats going on.
In terms of audio, the game is average. Some songs fit fairly well with the tone of the game and the sound effects are satisfactory. Nothing amazing so far in the demo, but it does the job well. I'd need to see more of the game to judge this more effectively though.
There are a lot of questions however. Can it possibly compete with the other recent offerings in the sub-genre, Diablo III and Torchlight II? Will it be watered down to the point where there is not enough content, be it quests, items, or classes? Will the connection problems be improved on? Will n-Space and Square Enix's experience in this style of game be sufficient to deliver a satisfactory end product?
In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of game the 3DS needs to move to the next level. There were very few, if any games like this on the DS so this should hopefully set up some foundations for a decent RPG selection to be established on the platform. I should be picking this game up for some hack'n'slash loot awesomeness over the summer.
RPGamer's E3 2012 Preview