Perfect World Entertainment’s latest MMO game, Rusty Hearts, recently launched into open beta this Tuesday and while it was a bumpy start, it was well worth the wait. I only say it was bumpy because there were a few issues with downloading the client and patches where they wouldn’t update properly, so it took a few days to get things working.
I really can’t remember the last time I played any type of side-scroller, maybe on the original Playstation, but I’m glad Rusty Hearts re-introduced me to the genre. While it is a side-scroller, the maps are fully 3D, however the path you walk on behaves as you would find in any side-scroller.
Starting out you select from one of four characters, in open beta it’s actually three as one isn’t selectable. I’m not quite sure if you have to unlock the forth character, buy it or if it’s just not available in open beta. I selected Frantz, a melee character who specializes in swords and axes.
You start off in the corner of a small town, with the rest of the town being inaccessible until you unlock it, and with a few NPCs stating about. It’s a bit overwhelming when starting out as there’s a lot of options and things to click on, but you’ll quickly get acclimated to everything.
There is a overall story-line with every quest, but thankfully there is also a skip button so you can just get the quest and move on. The quests are given in the old RPG style where a chat box appears, in this case the bottom right, and there’s a back and forth dialog between you and the NPC.
Once you have some quests, you head over to a huge glowing door, step into and the dungeon screen loads. Every dungeon in Rusty Hearts is instanced and is broken down in levels. So the first dungeon has 4 levels, with each level having 4 difficulty modes, Normal, Hard, Very Hard, and Blood Mode, although the first dungeon you go into doesn’t have Blood Mode.
Higher level dungeons require you to be a higher level, so you’ll have to beat lower level dungeons multiple times on harder modes before moving on to the next. But with a harder setting comes more reward as there are better drops and some quests require you to beat certain dungeons on a certain difficulty mode.
Now comes the fun part, combat. Rusty Hearts is by far the most fun I’ve had in a MMO game in a long time and it’s fun from the get go. Combat is fast and furious, you’ll learn new moves which can be comboed into devastating attacks. Dungeons thus far have been short and sweet, about 5-10 mins each, so the game move on very quickly. You’ll also level quickly, with only a few hours in I’m already level 12.
Rusty Hearts also keeps track of your time and awards points for speed, so for those of you who enjoy speed runs, and I do, it’s just another plus. Every level dungeon has a boss fight, who for the most part is challenging, but only at the harder difficulty levels, really only on Very Hard. Later on you’ll see some of those same bosses reappear as regular mobs.
Graphically, Rusty Hearts is one of the most beautiful games out there. Gorgeous graphics, fluid movement, amazing visual style and effects. It also doesn’t hurt that every women character is a super-model showing off the goods. They pretty much all look like the image below.
Being heavy on the style, Rusty Hearts gives players two sets of gear to wear, one for combat and one strictly for cosmetics. So if you don’t like the way a certain item looks, you can replace it with a cosmetic item.
For just launching into open beta, the game is very polished. I haven’t found any actual bugs yet, but my first inbox message was in Chinese, so it looks like they haven’t fully changed everything over. Other than that, the camera movement could use some slight refining and there’s some wall clipping if you running up into it, but it’s nothing that greatly effects the gameplay experience.
Overall I’m loving Rusty Hearts, it brings back that side-scroller gameplay I used to love back in the day and gives it a complete make over while combining a little bit of combo style combat we see so often in fighters like Street Fighter. Check back here for our full review of Rusty Hearts after is officially launches.