E3 2011 Hands-On: Ruin

Idol Minds and SCE San Diego Studio, developers of PlayStation Network’s PAIN, are bringing out one of the first of many “cross play” PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita games to come. Announced and on display at E3 last week, Ruin is an action role-playing game that aims to mix in with the social genre. I was fortunate enough to test out both the PlayStation 3 and Vita versions at Sony’s booth.

If you’ve ever heard of a little game called Diablo, Ruin is in the same field — both genre-wise and artistically, thanks to its top-down, side-view camera and dark lighting style. Likewise, progression and loot are its core appeal. While I wasn’t able to experience that side of Ruin during the little time I had with the game, an advanced leveling system and tons of loot are promised for the final version of the dungeon crawler.

I played out my short session as an Infernal Warrior, the only class on display at the show, hacking and slashing my way through a dungeon in attempts to obtain some ever-precious loot. Come release, multiple unique classes will be available to the player’s custom character. All four face buttons on the Vita were used for attacks. X was a standard attack, Triangle was a heavy attack, Square was a dash attack, and so forth. The Vita game could only be controlled by buttons, at current, but SCEA senior producer Travis Williams assured me the game will make use of all Vita’s unique control features come release.

Ruin announcement gameplay

Ruin screenshots

The benefits of having a PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita version is to perform what Williams calls “cross play.” From your Vita, you can save your game state in Ruin to the cloud, and within seconds, you can boot up the game on your PlayStation 3 and resume playing from exactly where you saved, and vice-versa. Co-op games can also be played across platforms.

I was a bit confused about the saving to the cloud and asked Williams to clarify. According to the senior producer, players will not need PlayStation Plus in order to use Ruin‘s cloud-saving features. It has its own cloud system built-in, completely free of charge and independent to Ruin.

Now playing the crawler on PlayStation 3, I experienced exactly (word of the article, here) the same gameplay as I did on the PlayStation Vita. Besides a higher resolution and a bit more graphic fidelity, both versions were absolutely identical.

As mentioned early on, the social aspect of Ruin is a major one. Using the PlayStation Network, players can quest alongside each other in co-op, challenge friends in player-versus-player matches, showcase rare loot and trophies, and invade other players’ personalized lairs. Players will be able to trade and sell rare and valuable items in the game’s online economy system. Akin to PlayStation Network trophies, the team believes that achievements must be put on high display, and with Ruin‘s social aspect players can do just that.

The game felt good both on Vita and PlayStation 3, but there’s still so much more left to be revealed for what’s promised to be a vast dungeon crawling experience. How does co-op work? What are the other classes? To what extent can I customize my character? How do lair invasions work? Unfortunately, all these questions must be left for a later date. I hadn’t thought of them during my play time and my session with the game would’ve been to short to have them answered. Though, from what I played, things are looking good for Idol Mind’s next. A Diablo-esque dungeon crawler on two Sony platforms? Count me in.

Ruin will launch on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita during the handheld’s “launch window.”

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