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Open Beta Impressions

William Murphy Posted:
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I’ve written about Rusty Hearts before with my closed beta experience a while back.  Now the game’s hit the mythical “Open Beta” phase, and in the realm of free-to-play, that’s as good as live.  Perfect World Entertainment’s latest brawler MMO is a combination of Castlevania and Final Fight in an online world.  And while this game’s not going to drag a hardcore MMORPG fan away from their drug of choice, fans of action-RPGs, arcade style brawlers, and anime will likely find a lot to enjoy.  Just don’t go in expecting the next long-term MMO fix, and you’ll be a happy camper.

Like Vindictus, Dungeon Fighter, or Dragon Nest before it, Rusty Hearts starts the game with players picking one of three (a fourth gun-slinging class is on the way) pre-made characters.  There’s no real customization to speak of.  They each have a back-story, you’ll see them interact together throughout the game, but they’re not your characters.  You’ll get new skills as you level, but there’s no personalization in stats or skills either.  This alone will put some folks off, but for those who may be fans of the JRPG or otherwise, it won’t really do much to turn you away.  Think of it like playing through an anime, and you’ve got a good sense of what you’re in for.

There is a good bit of gear in the game to collect, craft, and upgrade to, but the only thing that changes your looks in terms of armor and weapons is the weapons you’ll pick up.  To really change your look you’ll have to craft or purchase (or even quest for) costume pieces.  It’s not uncommon to spend the first few hours of the game with tons of look-alikes, and even after you get further into the game, unless you spend some money in the store, or a good deal of time grinding for materials, you’ll likely look the same as anyone else. 

Additionally, though the dungeons do start to open up and offer more choices in terms of directions and the like, for a game that draws inspiration from Castlevania there are precious few puzzles to solve in my first few hours of play.  It’s basically, run around, beat the snot out of things, progress the story.  Not that this is necessarily bad, it’s a fun action-MMO… it’s just sort of shallow when they could do so much more with the setting.

Those are the main downsides.  But on the positive end? The combat is an absolute blast.  Like many other brawler games in the MMO world, RH is not lacking in the “feels good to kick some ass” department.  I liken PWE’s newest release to the sort of game you log into when MMORPGs seem too daunting, but you absolutely need to kill some stuff and collect some loot.  It’s perfect for short play sessions, and on the first play-through you’re likely find yourself saying, “Well that run only took like five minutes… how about I do ten more?” 

It’s sorely lacking customization outside of costumes, the quests are repetitive, and the dungeon visuals themselves could use a little work even if the characters look fantastic in their cell-shaded glory.  Still, the combat is a lot of fun, the story is decent and fans of Anime will find a lot to love.  I hear the PVP is excellent, but that begins at level ten, and I’m not quite there yet.  Our full review will be coming in the next couple weeks.  My advice? If you’re looking for a quick playing game where you can just pummel bad guys and level up, Rusty Hearts is worth a look.  If you’re looking for a deep, engrossing world to play in… this isn’t it.  There’s a lot of fun to be had in Rusty Hearts, so long as you know what to expect.  I expected a fun action-MMO, and that’s precisely what it seems to be.  Let’s just see if it has legs though.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.