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Heroes Of Ruin Review
Square-Enix is best known for their turn-based RPGs, most notably those of the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series. That fact makes Heroes of Ruin a surprising departure from the norm for the company; a distincly western-influenced hack and slasher focused more on loot than on story, the game strives to scratch the itch that we've all had since Diablo III reignited the loot lust of a generation. A portable game as lengthy and addictive as Blizzard's opus would be something dangerous indeed. What Heroes of Ruin manages is something far short of that high water mark, but it remains a worthy play for 3DS owners starved for new content.
Nintendo's platforms are infamous for their draconian online interfaces, and although the 3DS is taking small steps to counteract that reputation, it still suffers from the same problems that Nintendo's systems always have. This makes the online features in Heroes of Ruin all the more revolutionary for the platform, as they require no absurd Friend Codes to enjoy. By flipping a simple toggle in the menus, you can enable other players to drop in and out of your game at any time, effectively turning this humble title into the first truly modern online game on a Nintendo handheld.
And multiplayer is absolutely the way to play Heroes of Ruin. The game's four classes are each perfectly capable of surviving and subsisting on their own, but when combined, they make for a truly formidable force. Each class has at least one or two abilities that will expand to effect your entire party as you level up, which encourages team play at all times. A good party made up of all four classes feels almost like a puzzle; each piece can take on the game's numerous challenges competently enough, but when combined they make the game feel truly whole.
Alone, the game is still plenty of fun. The constant feedback loop of killing enemies, grabbing loot, and leveling up ensures that you'll always have something to look forward to, and the controls are responsive enough that getting to that next goal will always be fun. In addition to the standard swords, breastplates, and other trinkets, you'll stumble upon tons of lore filling in the details of the game's surprisingly detailed world. Unfortunately, none of the lore is voiced, and the writing is dry and largely uninteresting. With some more colorful writing, the journals could have been a fun way to get acquainted with the game's numerous races and factions; as is, they're just a missed opportunity.
While Heroes of Ruin is great fun alone or with friends, the experience is surprisingly and disappointingly short. You won't be dropping one-hundred plus hours in this one, that's for sure, at least not unless you play through it a good five times. And when you do reach the end of the story, there's barely anything in the way of an endgame to chew through. It's a shame, because the mechanics are fun enough that they could easily support a few more hours of gameplay.
Heroes of Ruin represents a significant departure from Square-Enix's story-driven norm, but you'd be hard-pressed to tell from the smooth gameplay and seamless online play. What the game does for online co-op on the 3DS really cannot be understated; hands down, Heroes of Ruin is the best online experience on the 3DS. Even alone, the game is fun enough to justify seeing the whole thing through. Doing so will take a surprisingly short amount of time, though, and once you've made it through the weak story you won't have much to keep you occupied. It makes for a disappointing end to an otherwise solid RPG, and it's frankly a shame to have such a fun co-op experience cut decidedly short.