While there were many Playstation Vita titles playable at E3 this year, Ruin manages to be unique among them in that it is the first of what I expect will be many titles to feature cross-platform play between the same game on PS3 and Vita. Not only can the game be played on either PS3 or Vita, but you can save and load almost instantly between the two versions, eliminating the sort of delay you would have quitting out of a game and transferring saves as with PSOne Classics on the PSP and PS3. Of course, there’s more to the game than just its multiplatform multiplayer.
Ruin is a Diablo-style action RPG, and with that comes a big focus on the two things people expect the most out of that genre: advancement and loot. The developers promise lots of items for loot whores and a deep advancement system spanning multiple classes. Unfortunately the only class I was able to use during the presentation was the infernal warrior. This melee-focused beast charges in and battles up close. The infernal warrior functions through a string of simple melee combos and blocks with his shield, and when he’s dealt enough damage he can perform a cinematic finisher. The warrior’s brutal and impactful fighting also brings out the destruction in the environmental objects.
Of course the real draw of the game is the social features. In Ruin you will build and attack personalized “lairs.” As you advance in the game you can invest in your lair, building it up and creating a dungeon to defend it, as well as storing items in it and creating new areas to give you lasting bonuses. Meanwhile, your friends can invade your dungeon and lair, gaining bonuses themselves. This is where the 3G model of the Vita looks most appealing, as with an internet connection you can get constant updates as to the status of your lair and your friends’ lairs. For example, you’ll be alerted if someone begins an assault on your lair, and also if someone begins constructing an important project that will make them more powerful. You can then hop online and beat them down then and there if you’re using a 3G Vita.
The developers promise all multiplayer interactions in Ruin will be mutually beneficial, so you won’t be frustrated by being constantly beat down by your friends. Rather, the more they die while trying to conquer your dungeon, the larger the bonus you get and the smaller the bonus they get, but regardless of the result, you both get rewarded. Because of this, investing in strengthening your dungeon will also yield more benefit for your character in other ways. Not that Ruin is all easygoing. Your lair and dungeon will deteriorate if you don’t keep them regularly maintained. Kind of like Animal Crossing meets Diablo.
Ruin looked nice on both Vita and PS3 from what I saw during my demo. The destructible environments were nifty, and the game had a smooth and steady frame rate and good flow. The dungeons looked like something straight out of Diablo, and while the art wasn’t incredibly unique it was pleasing to look at. Graphically Ruin isn’t mind-blowing, but it’s certainly taking better advantage of the hardware’s features in other ways than most games. We’ll be providing more info on the game as it becomes available, but for now it’s definitely one to watch.