When Jon and I went to Perfect World’s booth to get some hands on with Blacklight Retribution, we didn’t expect to fall enamored with the two hack-and-slash games on hand at their booth. One was RaiderZ, a Monster Hunter-esque game set in a vast open world and the other was Rusty Hearts: a dungeon crawler that mixes the style of Bleach, Naruto, and other popular anime with the action and RPG elements seen in Castlevania titles. It’s PWE’s answer to Dungeon Fighters and it’s actually a whole lot of fun.
The story setup is simple: Lord Vlad the leader of the Vampire armies (shocking I know) is waging war against all humans and half-Vampires to be certain that all who remain are purebloods. It’s your job as the player to stand united against him and his minions, and that means a whole lot of dungeon-crawling, arse-kicking, and loot collecting. Rusty Hearts is equal parts Diablo and Castlevania and it’s an interesting mix that works well with the keyboard or the Xbox 360 controller I was using. The game’s best feature isn’t its story, but rather its beat-em-up action that will remind many of games like Final Fight, Castle Crashers, and even a little Devil May Cry. If that sounds appealing to you in any way shape or form, you should probably keep your eyes on Rusty Hearts.
The visuals, as stated above are of a nice colorful cel-shaded variety that anime fans will adore. The backgrounds are rendered beautifully, and the cut scenes are seamless. Now the anime sense might turn some off, and I’m normally one of them, but the sheer Konami classic look of the game kept me smiling during my brief stint through the dungeon. I got to play as Tude, a mysterious guy with a monstrous past who prefers to deal most of his damage up close with an extremely long and weird looking arm (perhaps infected by some sort of evil? Hint-hint). The other character on display was Angela, a magician of sorts who likes to stay back and deal damage from afar. There are more characters we’re told, but they’re going to be unveiled slowly as the game ramps up towards beta this summer.
The combat is a mixture of special skills on your hotbar and attack combos between you and your partners. You can also grab enemies and toss them about or pound them into the ground with Tude, much like the action found in games like Vindictus. It’s all very fast-paced and the enemies drop loot like piñatas. Everything from potions to gear and special reward cards will line your bags by the time you’re done. At the end of each dungeon there’s a bonus mini-game where all players who picked up cards get to turn over one in the hopes of finding something rare or unique. You’re all picking from the same cards, so you’d better pick yours quickly and hope luck’s on your side. The developers told us that some cards have items that people can’t even buy from the store if they wanted to, so I guess that’s pretty good incentive to go card hunting and whack all monsters in a dungeon.
The closed beta for Rusty Hearts begins this July, and the game should be in Open Beta by the end of the summer as well. If you’re at all a fan of beat-em-up or hack-and-slash games, Rusty Hearts is one you might want to check out.