Ruin Hands-On Preview

E3 2011 ushered in the era of multiple device games; precisely, playing one game on more than one screen. Just a week shy of the show, Kojima announced his plans to allow Metal Gear Solid meets Go-Gurt, a poorly titled service called “Transfarring,” and the Wii U revolves around utilizing a controller with a separate HD display. So it comes as no surprise that Sony revealed its own duality mechanisms for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita also at E3, heralding an action-RPG as the technology’s finest illustration.

Ruin comes out of the gate with brass balls, sitting itself proudly in a crowded, popular genre, freely agreeing to Diablo and Baldur’s Gate comparisons. Sony San Diego knows the size of the leather boots it’s set out to fill and seems confident that Ruin will exceed hesitant expectations. Yes, there’s classes like Warrior and Ranger whose ability sets are all but ubiquitous in the gaming industry, and the top-down goblin warfare reeks of modern fantasy tropes long played-out. To hear the developers tell it, they’re aware, and that’s not the point.

Where Ruin will strike its unique chord, according to Sony San Diego, is in play. The combat, it’s true, hits harder (not the “whack a health bar” convention) with slow-motion savoring and special, explosive abilities. The movement is tight, lacking the realistic but sluggish momentum that has plagued the genre. The controls, simple as they are, map intuitively for ease-of-play. Where, then, is the pitch?

Imagine clobbering a company of witch… whatevers on the big screen at home, finally taking control of the secret lair, thus gaining access to lootylicious booty beyond reckoning. Then the phone rings. It’s the office and they need you to hop on the metro downtown for an afternoon meeting. An in-game alarm means the orc-lords of… wherever have begun an all out assault on YOUR lair and the castle will surely fall without your aid. You save the game to your PS3, and with a little technology magic, you return to defend your castle while comfortably seated on the Green Line, PSVita in hand.

The “always connected” nature of Ruin lends itself to the at-home, on-the-go play transferring at the game’s forefront. Without any substantial hands-on time, it’s hard to say how this dynamic will affect the player. If the game is left alone for too long, do lairs go unprotected, at the mercy of constantly active AI? Does Ruin deliver a full, satisfying experience on just one platform? Is there an engaging story to drive immersion?

Full console titles on handhelds (and vice versa) has been every gamer’s pipe dream since first setting down a controller, and the potential for the technology is incredible. From what Sony had to offer at E3, it’s likely that Ruin will be the ostensible tech demo that ushers in the era. Hope yet remains for this somewhat derivative title.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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