The First Twenty Hours: Rusty Hearts Review

Rusty Hearts, currently in Open Beta, is being crafted by Stairway Games in conjunction with Perfect World Entertainment. PWE should sound familiar. The growing Chinese company is responsible for publishing multiple titles on this side of the pond, including Perfect World and Forsaken World. Rusty Hearts is a massive multi-player, fast paced brawling game. Confused? Check out iTZKooPA’s introductory video from a few weeks back

Go, I’ll wait.

After spending about twenty hours in the game I am still going and haven’t hit the cap yet (considering that on October 11 the cap will get raised to thirty). I gave all three playable character a spin, the fourth has yet to unlock.

Character Selection: So let’s dive right into the character selection screen. Immediately when you have chosen your server you wanna play on you’ll see four different characters walking. Each of them use one of two weapons they start with and at level 10 they gain the skill to use the second. Frantz uses a sword or axe, Angela uses a magic sword or scythe and Tude uses gauntlets or claws. You choose one of these characters. There is no customizing whatsoever though (customizing happens in game in the form of costumes). It’s an unusual twist for an Eastern-developed game to lack initial customization. The change in schema is was made to allow Rusty Hearts to focus on character development by way of story.

Tutorial & Story: After you have created your first character you are prompted with the question if you wanna play the tutorial. Playing the tutorial has its benefits. Not only will you learn more about the lore this way, you’ll also gain some potions and experience for the effort. This little opening is a nice touch and allows you to get in the flow of the game. The story at this point doesn’t completely make sense yet, but I don’t expect that immediately from the start. What I would have liked story wise is if we got introduced to the different characters as they are traveling together and the reason is still unknown. An explanation to the confusion; Perfect World may be expecting players to get their taste of story from the website as they are downloading the title.

User Interface: The user interface in this game is standard, and quite static. The big difference in this user experience is that it uses three different hotkey bars. One where it uses A to H, one that goes from 1 to 6 and lastly, F1 to F4. A to H is used for the combat skills, 1 to 6 is used for potions and other healing/buffing effects and the F1 to F4 range can hold combat skills although hitting those in the middle of combat can be quite tricky. Unless you’re a giant. The Shift key swaps your bars for additional hotkey storage. Something players will become familiar with as they learn more and more abilities.

Combat: Easily the most important part of this game. The combat is flashy and responsive, offering instant gratification from the start. This is because the early combat is raw and easy to master. Z is used to defend yourself, X is used for attacks and the C button enables a grab. Combat is fast and furious. Missing a beat can cause minute pain, yet drop your skill score severely.

One major complaint though, enemy archers in this game are going to be the most annoying thing ever. They hit you pretty easily and are difficult to get to, especially when you are in the middle of combat and can’t defend yourself. Most of the time when they hit you, you fly backwards, incapable of attacking or defending. In this period bad luck can lead you to get completely clobbered by the enemies. LOLgolas to the extreme.

Quests, Leveling and Dungeons: The dungeons in Rusty Hearts are stages just like you would see in a typical brawler game. Every stage has multiple difficulty levels and are level coded so you can easily see which stage you need to go to at your level. Being the core of the experience, all of your quests are done inside these instances. As you progress, the token Go arrow will point you in the correct direction. The quests arrange from killing one hundred skeletons to destroying two hundred wine barrels to collecting five pieces of iron. Not exactly original, or entertaining, but the quick and easy fix is there. The further you get in the stages and quests the more bonuses you unlock. These arrange from a roulette that gives players bonuses and buffs to a bonus game where if you win, you gain riddle boxes which can contain all sorts of items. Completing a stage rewards players with a special window (see below). Selecting a card awards the associated bonus item for finishing the dungeon. The cards are generated during the dungeon giving players an inclination as to what to expect. The more you collect, the better the end-stage reward.

Polish: Rusty Hearts requires further spit shine. Mobs travel their small territories like they are having a hard time walking. Sometimes mobs randomly attack the air, thinking the player is actually standing there.The title is still in Open Beta, allowing plenty of time to see a variety of small issues to be ironed out. That is exactly what the late-game stages are for.

Cash shop: Rusty Hearts also has a cash shop. Shocking, right? The cash shop is easy to navigate and has some nice items in stock. The feel and items on offer are typical to the genre and PWE itself, from a leveling kit that gives a ten percent experience buff to cosmetic items for your character to a gem box that gives you a random colored gem. The cash shop also doesn’t seem too expensive, except when you wanna buy a full set of cosmetic items which could quickly go over a thousand ZEN. A thousand ZEN is nine euros, making it over $10.

Overall: If you are a fan of brawling games and looking for a new one to play then without further ado, go play Rusty Hearts. It will keep you occupied for hours, especially if you find a core group of friends to smash faces with or enjoy an unusually entertaining narrative.Personally, I’ll be playing this game from time to time. Most intriguing to me, I wanna see the level cap and how the end game looks like.