Level Up! We Review Heroes of Ruin (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Date: Friday, August 03, 2012
Source: Mania.com

Back again with a new Level up this week after having an off week in which I had surgery on my left knee after rupturing my quadriceps.  Not fun and I do not recommend it.  Other than that, it’s another typically slow week in terms of news and releases but some good games are definitely on the horizon.
In the News…
Free-to-play Bullet Run now available
Sony Online Entertainment announced that Bullet Run has completed open beta testing and is now officially live for the PC. Developed by ACONY Games, Bullet Run is a new free-to-play first-person shooter (FPS) that brings together the elements of the FPS genre with unique levels of immersion and character progression; AAA gunplay coupled with action-oriented twitch gameplay and special in-game abilities provides players with a more in-depth tactical gaming experience. 

In Bullet Run, players are pit against each other in a reality TV show setting where performance is everything -- simply gaining the kill does not win your character fame. Style and attitude, combined with a hair trigger and cat-like reflexes, will bring players, also known as "Contestants," the fame they crave. Featuring six Synth Arenas -- from oilrigs to abandoned shanty towns -- the game focuses on individual character and weapon advancement and progression. Through their showmanship, players will have the opportunity to unlock and/or purchase new weapons, weapon modifications and attachments, wardrobe items, accessories, and custom weapon decals -- all contributing to thousands of possible combinations for customization of their characters.



Expendables 2 game now available
Ubisoft announced that The Expendables 2 Videogame is now available for the PlayStation Network for $14.99. The Expendables 2 Videogame unites four of the world’s most legendary mercenaries – Barney Ross, Gunner Jensen, Hale Caesar and Yin Yang – in a feast of explosive over-the-top action, authentic to the Expendables franchise. As part of the PlayStation Play program, The Expendables 2 Videogame is available for $11.99 for PlayStation Plus members.
The Expendables 2 Videogame will release for the Xbox LIVE  Arcade on August 17.
Building on the universe created in the high-octane, star-studded movies, The Expendables 2 Videogame invites gamers on an adventure to rescue an extremely valuable, kidnapped billionaire. It’s all business, until all hell breaks loose and the explosive mix of testosterone and kerosene detonates in a massive fireball that never lets up. The adventure concludes right where the new movie begins, creating a continuous story experience for fans of the Expendables’ hard-boiled brand of action.
Street Fighter X Tekken 12 New DLC Characters
This DLC release adds 12 new playable characters to Street Fighter X Tekken’s all-star roster for 1600 Microsoft Points.  Bringing the robust Street Fighter X Tekken character line-up to an impressive 50, the newly-added playable characters are as follows:
From the Street Fighter side: Blanka, Cody, Dudley, Elena, Guy, Sakura
And from Tekken: Alisa Bosconovitch, Bryan Fury, Christie Monteiro, Jack-X, Lars Alexandersson, Lei Wulong
EA Losing Exclusive NCAA License?
Should a proposed settlement to a lawsuit against Electronic Arts be approved, the publisher would no longer be the only one allowed to create games using the NCAA license for at least a five-year period. This will come as welcome news to those hoping to see another developer get a crack at making a college football game, something this settlement would make into a real possibility. 
A lawsuit first filed on June 5, 2008 has morphed into a class action suit that now has a settlement awaiting court approval. EA is accused of violating antitrust laws with its exclusive agreements with the National Football League, National Collegiate Athletic Association, and Arena Football League which made it the only company with the right to create games using these respective licenses (including their teams and players).
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Multiplayer trailer
Check out the latest trailer for the new Transformers game.  



Myst (Maximum Games) Rated E  Nintendo 3DS
You will embark on a wondrous voyage as The Stranger, and explore an island of intrigue as you uncover clues about your surroundings and the quest you must take. Now the most well-known adventure game in the world comes alive in the new 3D version of this classic story!
A book written by a potentially paranoid man named Atrus serves as a portal to an otherworldly place, the island of Myst, in this atmospheric adventure game by developer Cyan. By exploring the island, you will eventually stumble upon an assortment of puzzles in the form of intricate contraptions, whose secrets can only be unlocked after discovering evidence of their nature. 
Persona 4 Arena (Atlus Games) Rated T  PS3
Jump into the next chapter of the story as Persona 4 enters a new genre in this 2D fighting game from the dream team of ATLUS and Arc System Works, made to be enjoyed by fighting game beginners and experts alike!
Heroes of Ruin (Square Enix) Rated T 3DS
Heroes of Ruin is a new action-oriented RPG exclusively developed for the 3DS system.  The plot centers upon trying to save a living sphinx named Ataraxis, the ruler of the city of Nexus.  Ataraxis has been cursed and is dying and it’s up to stalwart adventurers to try and save him.  That’s where YOU come in.  You choose from one of four different player classes: The Vindicator which is a sort of Paladin like fighter; The Gunslinger, a roguish character who specializes in ranged attacks; The Alchitect, a female elf mage; and The Savage, a sort of barbarian like class.
You do have the ability to name your character and there is a moderate degree of character customization to basically adjust their hair, skin, and wardrobe colors.  While you can tackle the game in solo mode, developer n-space really wants you to play multi-player, in fact the game defaults to multi-player mode worldwide with other options being online with friends only, local play, and finally solo play.
The game uses both the 3DS’ StreetPass and SpotPass technology. Using StreetPass, players can use a feature called "Traders Network", and trade items with other players. In the shop, players can sell items for points, which can be used to buy items which would otherwise be unobtainable. With SpotPass, players can complete in daily challenges for a year after release. The community website will allow players to keep track of their completed challenges, and find even more challenges to complete.
If you choose to utilize it, you can opt to use voice chat with other online players by using the “L” button and speaking into the 3DS.  The “L” button is also used to interact with NPCs and objects.  The voice chat is cool but the quality is so-so.  I felt like I was talking on an old CB radio from days long past.  My first adventure had me teaming with a group of Frenchmen and I could not understand a single word!  Heroes of Ruin is a pretty standard dungeon crawl.  The action takes place on the upper portion of the 3DS screen while the bottom will show your in-game map, or it can bring up your inventory, skill, quest, and spell tree screens.
The dungeons are all linear in nature and include your standard hack and slash battles, treasure hunting, and item collecting, culminating in a boss battle at the end.  You can switch quickly to your inventory screen to equip new items (as long as they are for your class).  There you can also assign spells or special abilities to the various control buttons although the “B” button is always your melee attack.
The city of Nexus serves as your main hub and your takeoff point to the game’s many different levels, from standard dungeons to deep sea mazes populated with abhorrent sea life, to murky forests.  Most of the challenge involves just killing everything you encounter and collecting every item although a few, fairly simple puzzles are mixed in for good measure.  You’ll also be sent on quests from NPCs such as rescuing another NPC from the depth of a dungeon or collecting certain objects for an NPC.  
The graphics in Heroes of Ruin are average to above average.  While the characters can look a little blocky, especially in 3D mode, there’s a lot of diversity in the monster design and some cool looking spell effects.  And while I’m not a fan of the headache inducing 3D mode of the 3DS, I have to say that Heroes of Ruin is one of the better looking games in 3D mode and some of the bosses look fantastic.
Heroes of Ruin’s main weakness is that it’s not overly challenging.  With health potions and a plethora of items always plentiful, it’s not a big test.  The campaign should take approximately 6 – 8 hours to complete and four save slots allow and encourage you to play through as each of the four classes.  Grade B


Tim Janson is a columnist and reviewer for Mania Entertainment.  He writes Level Up, the weekly look at videogames and the horror dedicated column, Tuesday Terrors.  Tim has written for Fangoria Magazine, Newsarama, City Slab Magazine, Twitch Film, and Cinefantastique.  He is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA).  Be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.