Rusty Hearts beta impressions
Perfect World Entertainment have been developing and distributing games for a long time now, and with the recent purchase of Cryptic Studios (who brought us such titles as Star Trek Online and Champions Online) I was very excited to hear about Rusty Hearts, which is free to play and the highly anticipated MORPG hack and slash is now in a closed beta phase. The phrase “hack ‘n’ slash” puts me into giddy sweats and I just had to get my grubby mitts on it. Fast paced combo attacks and dungeon discovery, mixed with a barrage of Skeletor monsters and crazy hungry vampires, it sounds like a perfect way to spend an afternoon. So I was one of the thousands to register on launch day to make it the largest day one closed beta turnout to date.
“Within a few hours after launch, our servers reached max capacity and we had to scale up the servers in order to accommodate the flood of players,” said Mark Hill, Game Producer for Rusty Hearts. “It was an exciting day to see the overwhelming response of players dedicated to Rusty Hearts. Now, we will strongly take into consideration player feedback to ensure that the game is fully ready for its wide release.”
As soon as the awaited email hit my inbox I logged in, and after what seemed like a life time downloading the client I was ready for combat. The usual details are dealt with first; character choice, channel, world etc and then my dungeon of choice. The atmosphere has a welcoming feeling I haven’t sensed since the Devil May Cry series. Dark and gloomy scenarios crossed with comical cartoon Anime. It’s works beautifully. The cel-shading rendering within the game brings a simplistic, animated impression to characters, which is really efficacious within Rusty Hearts.
When completed, the game will feature full 3-D town zones where we can trade all the loot acquired when annihilating Skeletor and Count Duckula, join parties or have a good ol’ chin wag. Whilst in these zones the game acts like any other MMO you’ll have played, it’s in the combat zones where the game leaps into a mode that is simply a joy to the eyeballs. It was then that I actually “WOOOOOOOOH” d out loud. It is very rare occurrence from myself, but with Rusty Hearts it is well deserved. The side-scrolling camera mode, slick elegant action pace and well executed art style just blew me away.
The story behind the game is being kept firmly under wraps by PWE, which is a little frustrating as it would be nice to fill in the gaps with the characters, explain the card system (added items) so it doesn’t feel like I am playing Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, or just so it can be separated from all the other supernatural vampire slayer series out there.
Gameplay controls are pretty simple. There are three you need to think about; block, grab and attack. Block is useful for obvious reason and attack for the same, but grab I am impartial to. At first it was amusing to see my character (small girl wielding a mahoosive sword) pick up a skeleton by his neck and WWF his ass, but when facing end of stage bosses it leaves you wide open. This is a positive for newcomers to the genre of game, but I felt a little bored after not very long. Combo attacks are not very special and there aren’t very many of them. I am assuming once Rusty Hearts has been developed completely, items obtained and skill points gained will increase this number.
I would say go through the tutorial to help you get through the game, but in this instance it isn’t necessary. It shows you an inch of story time (big monster attack on town, woman on piano and character going to rescue her- yes that is all you get) and the basics of controls, but it is so very simple and shows so little that it is hardly worth the time it takes between story scene to load page. But this is where PWE might be complete geniuses and I am just missing it. It is such a specific genre of game and will be aimed at a particular type of gamer, but with the gameplay being as uncomplicated as it is addictive I can easily see newcomers heading for this title.
The only issues I have with this solid MMO are the lack of story and characters, including the variety of bad guys and weapons. You start with one sword and only have access to another at level ten. Sometimes I felt like I was wandering around causing death to all without really knowing what I was fighting for, but the graphics and fighting style soon distracted me.
However another element that was a big blooper for me was the soundtrack. I hardly noticed it, even with my cans on and volume up full. Even to hear my character grunting as she brandished the weapon that was larger than her, or to hear more of an affect as enemies were sliced and diced would be well received.
Excitement always takes over me when a new MMORPG comes onto the market, and I will look out for this title upon full release this September. I only hope that the minor issues that I have pointed out here are ironed out; as I feel that they do have a massive impact on the overall gaming experience.