PAX 2011: Preview of Perfect Worlds Rusty Hearts

Date:2011-09-14lile  Text Size:

By Chris Stewart

This year at PAX Prime 2011, we were able to get a hands on demo of Rusty Hearts. Rusty Hearts is a story driven - action RPG by Perfect World, developed by Stairway Games. It is a free to play game with an in-game store. The game is currently in beta. However, access to that beta is not restricted. When I signed up I received four beta keys instantly. One was for me, three others for my friends.

Rusty Hearts heavily focuses on story. To realize that goal, it takes on a different strategy than standard RPGs. When you first start the game, youll be able to pick a character from a set of four (currently three in beta) to play as. Each character has their own sex, appearance and backstory. As the player, you interact with this game through this character.

The character you pick also determines the abilities you will have. Each character has a theme related to their abilities. Franz is a half-vampire, and has a theme set related to magic and swordplay. Angela is a witch who wields a magic sword and casts ranged spells. Tude is a werewolf who has a metallic claw equipped and has a powerset themed around brawling.

Gameplay focuses around two main areas. The social hub, where you can see all other players, find quests / party members and experience the story in the form of cut scenes and dialog. The other are area is based on the quest you do and is an instanced dungeon crawl for you and your party.

A dungeon map is sectioned off into small areas where you have to defeat the enemies in that area to progress. Often times you will have choices on which direction to take after that. The camera during a dungeon crawl is locked in a side scroller position. This allows for maps to have puzzles and hidden areas.

Combat in this game is hack and slash and has no targeting. If you swing your sword, youll hit whatever is in front of you. Enemies also strike at you in the same manor. You have many options to avoid them. One option is to press a key to dodge in any direction. The second is to jump (or double jump) out of the way. Finally, you can do a quick attack and if you do enough damage, interrupt the enemies attack.

While fighting enemies, you will often find yourself surrounded by a large number of lower class enemies, a handful of mediums and perhaps at the end, a boss. Each character has an incredible array of abilities at their disposal to strike against foes. The game also includes juggling enemies. If you dont know what that is, it is when you knock an enemy airborne and combo more attacks against them, each attack causing them to stay in the air. The game specifically designs abilities for juggling and other style based gameplay. You even get a score at the end of the dungeon crawl. I, having tried for the first time at PAX, got an F =(

To get a good sense of the combat, I highly recommend watching this playthrough / review of the game. (starts at 9:00).

Standard to Action RPGs, you will find an incredible array of items and equipment available. You can get loot from drops off of enemies and bosses. You can also craft your items. An action house is available for you to purchase or sell items. There are also a number of lottery based systems, such as random bonus content during a dungeon crawl and lottery cards which will let you try to get bonus item drops.

During my playtime at PAX, we used an Xbox style controller to play the game. Ive also played via keyboard. I must insist on the controller when you play this game. If you do not have one, you can buy knockoff Xbox controllers at an electronic store. They work just as good as any other controller.

People who will like this game are those that want to hack and slash against large group of enemies and try to create style kills. If you like item based games, you will also enjoy this game for its large array of items and its very generous and reward based drop rate.

As a final note, I would like to mention that this game has an incredibly high production value. This is note worthy because Rusty Hearts is Free to Play. In the past, especially on mobile or social platforms, Free to Play games micro games at best with a small gimmick and zero production value. Rusty Hearts is not that game. If I were to put a retail price on the game, it would be $30. It could have very well been the type of game you find in a retail store. Instead the game is free, so go try it now!

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