I played through the Heroes of Ruin demo twice. The first time I selected the Vindicator, a Barbarian type who could be a distant cousin of Kimahri… except Heroes of Ruin isn’t tied to Final Fantasy. Developed by n-Space and led by Square Enix London Studios (aka Eidos), Heroes of Ruin is a brand new IP.
I could’ve customized my blue warrior, but I thought trying both classes was a better use of time than flipping all of the armor sets. So, I jumped right into an online game with a Square Enix representative. There were only two of us locked into a local game after flipping through menus. Heroes of Ruin, the final game, will support four players online and with voice chat.
Match started, Heroes of Ruin threw my character into a hub world. There were people to talk to and quests to take. I accepted more than one (there’s an option to reject too) and decided to embark on the Spirit of Michadele. Heroes of Ruin is played from a top down perspective. With the Nintendo 3DS’ screen it looks as if you’re looking into the world or a fishbowl dungeon where trees appear closer than the characters.
As soon as we stepped into the forest, spiders popped up. My character was the brawn so I rushed into the horde mashing buttons. His three hit combo effectively turned the spiders into green puddles of goo and treasures. The Vindicator also had a spin slash and a shoulder tackle. I found myself using the shoulder tackle often to barge in the middle of an enemy group, not realizing it consumed mana. Hitting right on the d-pad made my character take a swig of a mana potion. The left direction was for health potions. Pressing up makes a character equip loot from the floor. It seems n-Space designed Heroes of Ruin so players spend less time fiddling through menus.
Gunslinger was the other class in the demo. The shady reformed criminal can blast a group of enemies with a spread shot or fire bullets in a line. I’d say his grenade roll is his most useful move since it’s an evasive maneuver. The Gunslinger, as you’d probably guess, cannot absorb much damage. Many of his moves consume mana too while the Vindicator’s attacks do not. I found the Gunslinger most useful when we were fighting ghosts that could ignite our characters. Similar to poison or Secret of Mana, Heroes of Ruin has poison and blaze statues.
We reached the goal and a short cutscene played where a spirit flew into the tree. The tree awoke and became a Spellbound Treant and its lifebar popped on the screen. All bosses have a weak point, the Square Enix employee explained. (Specifically for the Spellbound Treant, it’s the glowing spot on its arm.) Being larger than both characters, the Treant was invulnerable when it held its arm up. My Vinicator’s strikes simply couldn’t reach the boss. I had to dodge and wait for the Treant to drop its arm – and guard to attack.
While big, the Spellbound Treant was hardly a challenge. We took it down without any problems. Even if the boss had a complicated attack pattern we would have been fine since so many enemies dropped healing and mana potions before the battle began. Perhaps, I was lucky because dungeons in Heroes of Ruin are created at random.
Heroes of Ruin has two more classes a spell casting Alchitect and a brute called a Savage. Square Enix have their Nintendo 3DS dungeon crawler slated for release in early 2012.