Heroes of Ruin brings multiplayer dungeon crawling to the 3DS with drop-in drop-out co-op, something that Nintendo consoles need a lot more of. This title can benefit from the buzz surrounding the upcoming release of Diablo 3, and it may give those 3DS-owning Diablo fans something to do when away from their PCs. We got play this exclusive 3DS title at PAX East and were pleasantly surprised with what we experienced.

Heroes of Ruin is developed by n-Space and published by Square Enix. n-Space has a lot of experience in the handheld arena and are known for developing DS versions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, GoldenEye 007 and Black Ops. The developer also did work on the DS version of Modern Warfare 3: Defiance. Heroes of Ruin however, represents their latest project on the 3DS and they put a lot of work into creating a quality multiplayer experience on the handheld.

One of the biggest draws for the game will easily be its co-op functionality. Players can start a dungeon and at any point a friend or stranger can join their game and help on the quest. The game scales difficultly based on the number of players in the party and it changes on the fly when players come and go. One small problem is that if two players of a three-man party end up dropping during a fight, the last man standing will have to tackle a number of enemies designed for a group of three by themselves. This is only until the particular enemy mob encounter is clear.

Heroes of Ruin PAX East 2012 Hands On Gunslinger

There are four classes to choose from:

  • The Gunslinger – the long range damage dealer of the group.
  • The Vindicator – functions like a Paladin or light tanking class.T
  • The Savage – the warrior class of the party.
  • The Alchitech – a long range spellcaster.

There can be only four members to a party and while a balanced group of each class is ideal, the game can be played with any combination.

The story of Heroes of Ruin involves a group of four mercenaries who answer the call of Lord Ataraxis. The Lord has taken ill by a deadly curse and he promises immense wealth to anyone who can find the cure. Players will be able to customize their class, but those hoping to change the gender of that class are out of luck. Players will only be able to change skin tones and other cosmetic features.

This might be a bummer to some, but it’s understandable given the limitations of the 3DS and the other resources needed to create the multiplayer experience on the handheld. Adding new models for each class gender, and customization options for that gender, would take quite a bit more resources, and not even the first two Diablo games allowed gender selection.

Heroes of Ruin PAX East 2012 Hands On Spellcaster

The combat gameplay in Heroes of Ruin plays as the standard hack-n-slash affair. For the demo, we were only able to choose between the Vindicator and Gunslinger, and picked the long range skills of the latter. Health and mana potions are mapped to the left and right of the d-pad for easy access and each class has their own standard attacks along with special abilities. The Gunslinger has a handy backwards dash that not only gets him out of harms way, but leaves a grenade behind to dispatch enemies. When players level up they get points to spend on three areas: Might, Vigor and Soul. Points can also be used to upgrade skills or purchase new ones on a skill tree.

Another feature fans of dungeon crawlers will like is that there’s a ton of loot to be collected in Heroes of Ruin. The game boasts an impressive 80 thousand items and players will be busy with the randomly generated dungeons.

The graphics of the game however, were not that impressive. Bland visuals and lacked the vibrancy seen in other RPGs. There’s a lot going on under the hood of Heroes of Ruin, but its focus on RPG elements and the dungeon crawl experience took priority over the look of the title – at least in the early build we played.

Heroes of Ruin is due out June 26, 2012 exclusively for the 3DS.

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