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The RPG Files: Wild Buster: Heroes of Titan Review - It Gets What Being an ARPG Means

By Randy Liden on January 03, 2018 | Columns | Comments

Wild Buster: Heroes of Titan Review - It Gets What Being an ARPG Means

Wild Buster: Heroes of Titan is a new, early access, arrival on the hybrid MMO-ARPG scene from Nuriworks and Insel Games. An aggressive cyborg race called the Broken threatens to systematically ravage the galaxy and transform and absorb every human into its collaborative. Standing against the merciless onslaught are two rival human factions, the Guardians and the Abandon. The Guardians are a military organization tasked with protecting humanity through strict discipline, training, and a healthy dose of Hollywood good looks. The Abandon are a loose alliance of badass rock and roll mutant outcasts who are experts in weapons, gadgets, and protecting the human survivors.

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There are several hero characters, or classes, to choose from in each faction. Each hero has unique skills and ways they execute their roles. I want to tell you I chose the Vanguard Blade on the Abandon side because they’re deadly medium range damage dealers, but the truth is I picked her because she looks awesome.

After a short tutorial, which is optional after the first time, the game drops you into your faction friendly hub and sends you off to talk to an NPC. The short of the conversation is that you’re supposed to head into the instance and kill ‘em all and then return to collect the reward. Every mission sends you into a new instance map, which is a corridor to a mini boss and then a final boss. In the current state this ends up being very repetitive and feeling like a lot of the same with every run.

Every class has four normal and one ultimate skill slots. You can choose one of two skills per slot and then, as your hero levels, increase their power by adding points. You only get one point per level, so it is important to choose the skills that support how you want to play the hero. The game offers a skill reset if you want to rearrange the build and try a more suitable build.

Like every good ARPG, loot is a thing, but it is also tied into simple MMO style crafting. Gear dropped from mobs can be worn or deconstructed for materials. Materials can also be mined via a traditional mmo-style resource node system found in the mission instances. Key components to crafted gear are dropped from the bosses fought at the end of each mission. Crafting is a simple barter exchange in an NPC recipe window. This works well with an ARPG where I feel deeper crafting would be a distraction from the flow of gameplay. Gear can also be enchanted and enhanced through crafting later in the game, something I’m just starting to experience past level 30.

Combat has very satisfying elements but is also in need of tuning. The game seems designed around managing health and mana through potions in a very old school mechanic. On one hand this is good because it adds a resource and item management element to game play. On the other it pushes a lot of focus on the expense of chugging pots. In the earlier parts of the game this can be a hindrance to game flow. 

It feels like the team is trying to make the user resource aware and have potion management be a part of combat tactics. The problem is that it puts the focus of skills and combat too much on potion inventory. Between skill cooldowns and potion management I spent too much time using the LMB (left mouse button) attack and that doesn’t promote quality tactics.

The game bills itself as a game where team composition and builds are part of the game strategy, but all my play time has been solo. There just hasn’t been anyone grouping and there isn’t much need to. I don’t mind that, but like I said the skill tunings don’t feel right for solo play. I have seen people running around the hubs but no one has been on the same mission as I have at the same time.

Right now, all missions play nearly the same even though the maps themselves look different. There is a landing area followed by a series of corridors ending in a mini-boss fight. After the mini-boss fight a couple NPC vendors drop down allowing you to fill up on potions or heals for incredibly inflated prices, serving as a reminder you should have planned better, and then you can enter the final boss portal.

The big boss fights don’t all play the same though. Different bosses have different strengths and weaknesses, support troops, and attack styles. That does provide a little variation in an otherwise repetitious mission loop. Nuriworks and Insel need to work on the combat flow and providing more variation in game play missions before release, but these are the sorts of things that an early access title should work on and fix for full release.

If Wild Buster stumbles a little on fluidity it picks up the ball and runs full steam ahead on ambience and style. The art is top notch with a gritty frontier style sci-fi theme. The characters and environments are detailed, and the soundtrack is a mix of metal and electronica which supports the theme and tone nicely.

The game is sold on Steam in package bundles ranging from $20 - $50 which contain varying levels of hero and storage unlocks along with a vehicle and pets. What I didn’t see in the game, at this point in development, is a cash shop. According to the FAQ on their Steam page the game will be sold as a “Buy to Play” title and won’t have a cash shop or be “Free to Play”. They will be selling three editions (founder, deluxe, and ultimate) and will offer DLC. I like that!

Even though Wild Buster has a few rough spots, mostly in the area of content variation and combat flow, it is a fun ARPG. Unlike most MMO-ARPGs it gets what an Action RPG is about – blowing things up and getting phat lootz. It does that, but it just needs a little more time cooking to put them together right. They also haven’t finished all systems or heroes at this point so while this game could be a solid 8+ if those things are worked out, right now it’s a 7. Keep an eye on this one it is worth attention.

Note: Our copy was reviewed on Steam with a code provided by PR.


OVERALL SCORE:  7/10


Pros

  • Fun skills
  • Great art and atmosphere
  • Loot!

Cons

  • Repetitious map design
  • Not all heroes are complete