Heroes of Ruin Review

Is this the hero of online gaming we’ve been waiting for?

By Katharine Byrne. Posted 07/16/2012 10:00 12 Comments     ShareThis
The Final Grade
B-
Impressive
grade/score info
1up
1-Up Mushroom for...
Great online infrastructure, stands up as both a single player and multiplayer experience, loot and treasure galore, daily and weekly challenges to keep players engaged, almost endless character customisation.
1up
Poison Mushroom for...
Frame rate issues, voice-chat static, cut and paste level design, no real challenge or difficulty curve.

Nintendo and online gaming have never really been the best of friends, it has to be said. Marred by years of messy friend codes and a seeming reluctance to embrace the untapped mysteries of the internet, it’s heartening, then, to finally see a game like Heroes of Ruin shake Nintendo out of its doldrums. The question is, is this the online revolution we’ve all been waiting for? In a way, yes it is. Heroes of Ruin does several things right when it comes to the online side of things; it’s just a shame the same can’t be said for the game underneath.

But let’s start by focusing on where Heroes of Ruin succeeds, and that’s getting online. Say goodbye to tedious lobby rooms, because Heroes of Ruin just lets you go out and get on with it, allowing you to start your adventure while other players drop in and out at will. Loading times between each mission can be slightly excessive, but the only time you’ll be stuck waiting for other players is when all of you need to progress through the same door or before big boss encounters. You can just as easily join someone else’s game too, and at the moment there’s a wide spread of games all at varying levels, offering something for new and old hands alike.

The frame rate, however, is a different issue. When you’ve got four players all trying to hammer out special attacks at the same time, it can get pretty patchy, sometimes taking quite a severe dive with sound effects cutting out and monsters clipping in all over the shop. Clipping even occurred when I played alone, albeit very occasionally. To be fair, it wasn’t a huge deal breaker, but it was certainly a mixed experience to say the least, and my ventures into the voice-chat option were no different. Holding down the L button will broadcast whatever you have to say to your team mates, but sometimes only a crackle of static made its way out of my 3DS’s microphone. Other times, of course, it worked fine, but those were few and far between– although it probably didn’t help that most of my party members seemed to be either Spanish or Italian. Thankfully you don’t have to have voice-chat enabled if you don’t want to, but unfortunately there’s no escaping the deathly grip of the frame rate.


You never know who’s going to show up when you’re playing online, unless you’re playing with your friends, of course.

But while Heroes of Ruin won’t win any prizes for technical excellence, the rest of its online features really work to foster a proper community (or at least as much of a community you can have with four players), and this is particularly evident in its Alliance mode. Whenever you register a friend on your 3DS, they’re automatically added to your Alliance, and the more time you spend playing with these friends, the more exclusive bonuses you’ll unlock while they’re in your party. Unfortunately you can’t do the same thing with players you meet online, but picking up the slack in this area is the Trader’s Network. Here you can buy and sell items from other players you meet online, as well as from your own various character profiles, meaning that all that Alchitect loot you find as a Vindicator doesn’t necessarily need to go to waste or get turned straight into cash.

Hold on a second, an Alchi-what now? Ah, yes, welcome to Heroes of Ruin‘s character classes. I’m still not sure whether it’s meant to be a cross between an architect and an alchemist (as far as I can tell, it’s some kind of staff-wielding sorceress), but the Alchitect is one of four classes you can choose from in Heroes of Ruin, the others being the burly Hulk-esque Savage, the ranged gun-toting Gunslinger, and the Vindicator, the regal cousin of the Thundercats with a big sword and a dash of white magic. Of course, you can play with just one character if you wish, but all of them feel different enough to warrant giving each of them a go, particularly since each class employs a different camera angle and an ever so slightly altered map layout for each mission. Handy, then, that the game has four profile slots! Moreover, while your initial character customisation is a little on the shallow side, the plethora of loot and treasure you come across more than makes up for a bland set of hairstyles and skin colours you have at the start. Much like Xenoblade Chronicles, each weapon and armour upgrade carries over to your on-screen appearance, although some are much more noticeable than others.

At the same time, however, when the difficulty level is incredibly tame, all these character distinctions tend to fall by the wayside, making this the real downfall of Heroes of Ruin. Despite each class being well-balanced and having an interesting set of abilities and skill trees to unlock, the game never really requires you to use them in any particularly meaningful way. With each dungeon practically overflowing with life and energy potions to replenish your health and special attack bars, the only tactic you ever need to use is “whack the nearest thing that moves until it’s dead”. You may be overwhelmed by enemies very occasionally, but for the most part combat falls into relatively unsatisfying button-mashing. The odd quest or puzzle bring a sliver of excitement to the fray, but when puzzles are incredibly scarce and most quests simply involve “collect five of these” or “kill ten or those”, this brings the focus back squarely onto its combat again, leaving the game feeling a bit like a one trick pony.


You’ll be sick of these shark pirates by the end of the first act.

This feeling of monotony is made even worse by the game’s mission locales. Individual rooms are recycled faster than you can change out of your undies and put on a fresh set of armour (which, given the rate at which enemies drop loot, you’ll be doing incredibly often), and this kind of cut and paste level design leaves a lot to be desired. It might not be so noticeable if each act’s three missions weren’t based around the same themed environment, but even the class-specific camera angles can’t mask the fact that you’re essentially just running round the same set of rooms in a slightly different order for every single mission.

Even the Trader’s Network feels slightly redundant at times, since the game’s also overrun with cash as well as loot and potions. You can’t go two feet without coming across an item cache, and my wallet was soon bursting at the seams long before the end of the game. But even if you ignored the item caches completely, the money you make by selling your shed load of spare items makes it just as easy to simply buy all the best weapons instead of trading them. There’s also the Valor Relics to consider– weapons and armour you can buy with the valor points you earn by completing daily and weekly challenges– but the same problem applies. If the game’s difficulty is such that you can just buy or collect perfectly adequate equipment from merchants and monsters, why bother going to the extra effort of doing all the in-game challenges? There’s no visible reward or trophies to show off to other players, and considering the alarming turnover rate of most items, you’re highly likely to out-level that particular piece of equipment pretty sharpish anyway, so what other reason is there to complete these challenges?


The Savage (above) may have a similar brawl style to the Vindicator, but their stat differences make each class a very different experience.

Of course, all this begs the question about whether Heroes of Ruin will last beyond its relatively brief 6-7 hour campaign. Part of me suspects it won’t, at least not in terms of single player– although I was pleasantly surprised to find that it does, in fact, hold up as a single player experience. It’s perhaps a slightly greater challenge given you’ve got to do everything by yourself, and it also gives you the benefit of being able to take your time and explore a bit more, as playing online can often devolve into a race to simply find the best loot, giving you no time to actually see the rest of the game or complete any of the side-quests for fear of losing out on all the best gear. Granted there isn’t really much to see given the generic nature of the maps, but quite often there are different pathways to explore and hidden treasure chests to find (even if most pathways are, in fact, dead-ends).

All in all, Heroes of Ruin is a competent dungeon-crawler, but one that lacks any real challenge. With bland, uninspiring design and mediocre combat, it’s hard to imagine that players will keep coming back to Heroes of Ruin, even despite its excellent online capabilities and varied character classes. The game is its own worst enemy at the end of the day, leaving it more of a ruined hero than a truly great one.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

12 Responses to “Heroes of Ruin Review”

  • 76 points
    Diamondo says...

    I must admit, I’m a little confused here.

    Let us see. We’ve got:

    a) Bland level design, with recycled environments, lacking any heart with regards where to go next.
    b) Broken game-play, being able to somehow miss the mark on a game-type that has been successfully created for the past twenty years across all mediums, by making unrewarding drops, and zero-level challenge to any of the games enemies.
    c) No mention of music (in any way) and rather atypical decade-old dungeon crawler graphical lay-out.
    d) A maximum of six to seven hours of actual game-play, within what was described as an unrewarding, minimal-thought game-play lay-out.
    e) Easy networking, that cranks your frames-per-second to a point where the graphics clip and the game seems to relatively fall apart (not, from what it sounds like, it really had all that much going on for it in the first place). This, again, in a genre where other on-line RPG’s manage tens of thousands of players, full 64-player battleground style arenas, fully functional top-rate frames-per-second, some of which came out around . . . a decade ago?
    f) Did it manage to do anything right? From what I remember in the review, every single compliment had a add-on note that read, “While this feature is awesome, too bad it’s completely nullified by this other, essentially broken game-part.”

    And yet, this game receives:

    A “B-” rating?

    Hate to see what would actually qualify for a “C+” rating. Maybe the game has to be bad enough where it just doesn’t turn on?

    Great review. Absolutely non-sensible letter grade. If you’re going to splash the letter grade at the top of your work, it shouldn’t completely contradict everything that’s written underneath it. Unless, of course, Nintendo games have fallen to the point where actually being playable is enough to get it an “A” grade. I give Nintendo a little more credit than that.

    My question is, why doesn’t Nintendojo?

    Thumb up 0
    • 7 points
      Katharine Byrne says...

      It’s “impressive” for all the reasons I listed in the 1-Up Mushroom box, with a large percentage of that score going to its online capabilities. It may have its issues, but it’s still by far the best online infrastructure 3DS has to offer, which, to me, makes it better than merely “good” (C+). I don’t think it’s fair to compare it to online RPGs you can find on PC because they’re on a completely different platform with completely different hardware capabilities. Considering Nintendo’s history with online gaming and that this game’s on a handheld, it’s definitely “impressive”.

      On the flip-side, I don’t feel that it’s “great” (B) or “excellent” (B+) because of what’s in the Poison Mushroom box. If it helps to give it a number score, I’d give it a 7/10 (Metacritic actually equates a B- to 67, but it’s near enough). I hope that clears up any confusion :)

      Thumb up 3
  • 76 points
    Diamondo says...

    Well, I suppose I’m still a bit confused. Your explanation did shine light, but the room still has shadows.

    For example, in the 1-UP mushroom column, you state: ” stands up as both a single player and multiplayer experience”

    From what I see in your review, you state that: “When you’ve got four players all trying to hammer out special attacks at the same time, it can get pretty patchy, sometimes taking quite a severe dive with sound effects cutting out and monsters clipping in all over the shop. Clipping even occurred when I played alone. . .” and then, “At the same time, however, when the difficulty level is incredibly tame, all these character distinctions tend to fall by the wayside, making this the real downfall of Heroes of Ruin. Despite each class being well-balanced and having an interesting set of abilities and skill trees to unlock, the game never really requires you to use them in any particularly meaningful way. With each dungeon practically overflowing with life and energy potions to replenish your health and special attack bars, the only tactic you ever need to use is “whack the nearest thing that moves until it’s dead”. You may be overwhelmed by enemies very occasionally, but for the most part combat falls into relatively unsatisfying button-mashing. The odd quest or puzzle bring a sliver of excitement to the fray, but when puzzles are incredibly scarce and most quests simply involve “collect five of these” or “kill ten or those”, this brings the focus back squarely onto its combat again, leaving the game feeling a bit like a one trick pony.”

    Button mashing . . . scarce puzzles . . . boring quests . . . “one trick pony” . . . incredibly tame difficulty level . . . meaningless character distinctions . . . pretty patchy frame-rate . . .

    If that is, by your very definition, was qualifies as a “stand up” title . . . then I would sincerely hate to see something that would be “falling down.”

    Another 1up mushroom goes to: “loot and treasure galore.”

    Yet . . . “Even the Trader’s Network feels slightly redundant at times, since the game’s also overrun with cash as well as loot and potions. You can’t go two feet without coming across an item cache, and my wallet was soon bursting at the seams long before the end of the game. But even if you ignored the item caches completely, the money you make by selling your shed load of spare items makes it just as easy to simply buy all the best weapons instead of trading them” and “This feeling of monotony is made even worse by the game’s mission locales. Individual rooms are recycled faster than you can change out of your undies and put on a fresh set of armour (which, given the rate at which enemies drop loot, you’ll be doing incredibly often). . .”

    Doesn’t sound like “monotony” is a good way to describe a “1Up.” I would define a “1Up” as a treasure. A gift. A hard-earned secret found, upon discovering, allows me to traverse further to my set goal. This being so, I would find it difficult to qualify a “1up” as a “a prolonged and exasperated exercise of repetition”

    Let’s keep going: “daily and weekly challenges to keep players engaged”

    In what? In this: “. . . but even the class-specific camera angles can’t mask the fact that you’re essentially just running round the same set of rooms in a slightly different order for every single mission.”

    All right, all right, well, this one will probably be hard to prove wrong: ” almost endless character customisation”

    Oh . . . “At the same time, however, when the difficulty level is incredibly tame, all these character distinctions tend to fall by the wayside, making this the real downfall of Heroes of Ruin”

    I like that though, I really do. A “1up” goes to “the real downfall of Heroes of Ruin.” Maybe a “5up” is what gets rewarded to something that merely cripples the game, rather than making it a purely pointless exercise.

    And last but not least, because, we might as well cover every single “1up” that remains standing: “Great online infrastructure”

    Here’s what that great on-line infrastructure seemingly promotes: “The frame rate, however, is a different issue. When you’ve got four players all trying to hammer out special attacks at the same time, it can get pretty patchy, sometimes taking quite a severe dive with sound effects cutting out and monsters clipping in all over the shop.”

    Right . . .

    Listen, I have to be honest here. Something just doesn’t make sense. And from what I can tell, it’s your review.

    Granted, I said before that your review is great. And you know what – it is. But when the review seems to battle age-old “review attributes” like a score and summarized notation, by what’s written in the actual review itself, the only thing that really happens as a result is that all three lose their marks of being genuine, real, and honest.

    Your review seemed to place it where it counts – labelling a lack-lustre, unimaginative, poorly executed game for exactly what it is. Then, you turn around, and as a summary for that review, place all the negatives you listed throughout the review as positives in its summary. And then pass along a score of B-, or, “impressive,” for an experience you detailed through-out 85% of your expose as being unable to keep its pants up.

    Then, and this is what I absolutely love, you back the score you gave the review up by what meta-critic gave it. So, your reasoning is that, because you fall into the overall trend of what everyone else says, it somehow excuses your review for completely contradicting itself?

    Good to see where Nintendojo stands when it comes to reviewing policy. “We don’t . . . we don’t make that much sense, but our number is really close to what you’ll find on the average video gaming website, so it’s all good!”

    Sorry, but I believe even the folks that compose the general Metacritic know how to differentiate a good review from a bad one, or, when they give a score, they actually back it up with what they’ve said in the review itself, you know, supposing that someone was actually going to read it. I think I’ll follow your advice though for future reviews – I’ll just check Metacritic to see what you guys are going to give it.

    Thumb up 0
    • 694 points
      Adam Sorice says...

      Diamondo, our staff are free to come to their own conclusions and I believe the points made by Katharine back up her overall score: Heroes of Ruin is an amibitious game in terms of offering a diverse, deep adventure with a dynamic online experience but fails to realise this depth in terms of precision and difficulty. There’s a lot of stuff in the game that is indeed impressive but it’s not contextualised particularly well. Regardless, that content is still there.

      More importantly, I can appreciate you have concerns about Nintendojo’s review policy but that is certainly not a justifiable excuse to interrogate any member of Nintendojo’s staff. Whether it is your intent or not, you are coming across very aggressively in your comments and I will not allow members of my staff to be subjected to such persecution. If you wish to make a point, please do so but ranting at volunteer writers in such a personal way is simply inexcusable.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5
  • 636 points
    amishpyrate says...

    Good review. Got my copy today. Was so sick of it being delayed here in the states. Can’t wait til I can try it out tonite

    Thumb up 1
  • 76 points
    Diamondo says...

    Adam, I perfectly realize that the staff is able to come up with their own conclusions – but my point was – what conclusion was being made? All the positives that are listed in the summary are directly written as negatives in the review itself. I am not disagreeing with the review here – I am merely stating that the review is disagreeing with itself.

    “Heroes of Ruin is an amibitious game in terms of offering a diverse, deep adventure with a dynamic online experience”

    A diverse deep adventure – where as the protagonist, it matters not which class you choose, because the whole exercise is a “whack the nearest thing that moves until it’s dead” marathon of “button-mashing?” That the author admits destroys any fun that might be enjoyed, allowing the difficulty to drool down to the point where it’s the “real downfall of Heroes of Ruin.” Add in a whole slew of quests that barely amount to ““collect five of these” or “kill ten or those”” which is essentially the same as -kill fifteen of these- and -kill ten of those-, and an on-line mechanic that adds in the the pleasure of texture over-lapping lag-spikes, that admittedly, appear in the single-player game as well?

    What about any of that can be seen as “impressive?”

    “Interrogation” is an a surprising term to describe sharing the knowledge that someone’s review is self-contradictory, and that their response in kind when this pointed out is not a declaration of the reviewing policy, not an explanation of how or why the score itself is justified, but a lead to a site that is not your own, that has nothing to do with your own, suggesting in kind that because your review score is the same as the average on theirs, all is forgiven, and nothing that was written has to add up to the very attributes that are placed at the top of the review describing it.

    “Ranting at a volunteer,” eh? By doing what, exactly, may I ask? Using their own words to back up my argument? By not calling the author of the piece by name, and in general, laying the questioning regarding the policy at the feet of the policy-maker – the site itself?

    I may mock the decisions made – I may use flowery-language in my descriptions of believing the piece “contradicts itself,” but aggression? What I posted on both accounts was a point-by-point de-bunking of what I felt made both the subject in question (the review) and the claim given for it (the response), to be false, and altogether dismissing of the points I raised. Much akin as to how rather than discussing the policy, thought, or reasoning that went behind making the score, the summary, and the review stand at such odds with one another, you instead try to paint myself as an “aggressor?”

    If you feel put on the defence because you cannot justify such a glaring contradiction in terms of your own content – contradictions that come from the author of the piece itself – not my personal opinion on the matter – then perhaps your defence should be directed towards the policies that allowed this to happen, rather than the person who pointed them out. It’s odd, being the “aggressive interrogator” here, that is both my questions that are being ignored and dismissed, and in its stead, my character being put into question.

    The original question regarding this piece still stands. How can a review that uses its voice to point out nine out of every ten things as borderline broken, from actual software, to almost every single game-play element, still rank as “impressive” in its scoring, and list all the elements it established as negative and/or broken in the actual review, as positive features in the summary?

    Can this actually be answered? Is this a journalism site that actually wants the merits of its content to speak for itself, which can support the material produced by the guidelines it holds, or is this a fan site where none of those things actually exist, and things such as “review grades” and “summaries” are put there because, well, the other, real journalism based websites put it on their reviews, so Nintendojo may as well too?

    Sorry if you’re being offended by my “aggressive interrogation,” but . . . there is an actual question there regarding how this review was put together, and why all the different information segments of the review, be it the review, its summary, and its grade, all contradict one another.

    I have asked it now, three times. Is there answer that can be given that does not point to the scores on other websites (re: dodging/poor practice), or out-right provoke and attack -my- character?

    Thumb up 0
    • 1 points
      Kevin Knezevic says...

      Dude, seriously, this is getting really silly at this point. Katharine and Adam have already justified the score. You’re certainly free to think that it is incongruous with the content of the review (it’s clear that nothing is going to budge you on that), but this matter has already been settled.

      Moreover, no one is bringing in Metacritic in an attempt to alleviate their own journalistic responsibility. I can assure you that Katharine most certainly did not consult the website when she was crafting her review, and the only reason she even mentioned it was to show you how the grade she’s assigned isn’t at all at odds with her take on the game. The beauty of an alphabetical rating system (as opposed to a numerical one, which is far more commonly employed in game journalism) is that it is nebulous enough to quantify something as subjective as video games. I don’t see what’s so hard to understand that Heroes of Ruin is still an enjoyable experience in spite of its many flaws. It’s clear that Katharine thinks the game is greater than the sum of its parts, which is why she scored it as such. It may not be the best title to grace the system (hence all of the negatives that she’s pointed out), but it is still a solid and ambitious RPG (especially for a handheld game) that is fun to play and features a surprisingly sophisticated online infrastructure.

      And if that doesn’t clear this up, then nothing will.

      Thumb up 3
  • 156 points
    AzureEternal says...

    I think Katharine has provided enough support for her letter ranking in the body of the game’s review. Sure, she points out Heroes of Ruins’ obvious flaws, but that’s not all her commentary encompasses. She makes note of several key areas that are in fact solid, which, if we are looking at this from a statistics perspective, would be enough to bring, what may be a C/- grade, up to a B-. To me, it seems pretty clear cut in that regard.

    That aside, I can understand both sides of this discussion. On one hand, your second post, Diamondo, could be interpreted as antagonizing in just the manner it was arranged – nothing more. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, because this is the internet, we cannot deduce the true meaning of one’s statements simply because we are presented with a tonality barrier. Tone, or how we express our thoughts vocally by way of using certain inflections, vocal volume as well as speed, cannot be implied exclusively through the use of written words. Thus we may find that, in our minds, what we’re typing doesn’t sound all that harsh – because, after all, we know what our tone is – but may come off that way depending on the reader’s own personal frame of reference. Meaning to say, if we’re not writing our comments from a place of aggression, then it can be baffling to see how someone could perceive them as such. But, they do, merely because of the aforementioned limitations of the internet. As a result, what we can be left with here are comments that can come off harsher than perhaps originally intended merely because of word choice and how we structure our written thoughts.

    On the other hand, I can certainly understand wanting to truly know the correlation between a game’s score, and what is written within the narrated review. Every reader reserves the right to understand how a game is being rated. I do think, though, Katharine articulated her decision well enough for you to now have the information you initially sought. Thus, I’m personally confused on how you feel your question wasn’t answered. The grading criteria is included at the end of the review, and Katharine herself addressed your concern.

    Thumb up 2
  • 76 points
    Diamondo says...

    Good points Bradly, you’re absolutely right, we cannot fathom actual tone (from lacking the ability to hear the author speak those words), so the tone that is inferred is a reflection of none other than the person who heard them that way.

    I wonder though, what tone does “aggressively” and “interrogate” and “persecution” take? I suppose the positive kind, correct? So, in essence, the editor . . . the editor (??? . . . !) not only fails to realize that the tone he hears is of his own volition, but then begins to label me using the very terminology that best describes his own actions?

    I was asking for a clear manifesto of the review policy, or for certain points of it to be made clear, and in turn I get aggressively persecuted. Lovely.

    With regards to Kevin: “Dude, seriously, this is getting really silly at this point. Katharine and Adam have already justified the score.”

    No. They have not. Not once. That’s why I asked the question . . . three times (I guess this is going to be my fourth).

    “You’re certainly free to think that it is incongruous with the content of the review (it’s clear that nothing is going to budge you on that), but this matter has already been settled.”

    What’s been settled? The fact that no one is capable of giving an answer (period) for a very basic question? I think you fail to understand the point that is being made here. It is not that -I- disagree with the review score, the summary, or the review, but that those things disagree with themselves. I have already made the argument in prior replies using direct quotes that completely contradict one another. “My” case, no, -the- case has been made. I’m looking for resolution regarding that. Simply saying it has been settled, without actually answering one question, offering one fathomable bit of information as to what actually led to the review, the score, the summary, and how/why they can all contradict each other, is not settling anything. That’s not me talking – that’s reality.

    “Moreover, no one is bringing in Metacritic in an attempt to alleviate their own journalistic responsibility. I can assure you that Katharine most certainly did not consult the website when she was crafting her review, and the only reason she even mentioned it was to show you how the grade she’s assigned isn’t at all at odds with her take on the game.”

    No, but bringing in Metacritic as a way to “answer” why you scored your review the way you did, without actually divulging any of the actual decisions, policies, or reasons on why a score ascertains the ranks it does, does not explain to me why she rated the game in the manner she did, or answer any of the questions regarding the direct contradictions she commits in her review with what is brought forth in her summary. Metacritic had no reason to be in that reply. I was asking why Nintendojo, not Metacritic, gave it the score and summary it did, based on the review not that Metacritic gave the game, but of the one that Nintendojo did. Metacritic had nothing to do with anything regarding my question – why it was even brought in the first place is a complete mystery to me.

    “The beauty of an alphabetical rating system (as opposed to a numerical one, which is far more commonly employed in game journalism) is that it is nebulous enough to quantify something as subjective as video games.”

    More commonly employed or not – letters that are given, and the “word score” that is associated with it, in this case “impressive” should be backed up with what the review, you know, the actual review states. In this case, I failed to find one thing in the review that listed a quality that was “impressive” that was not immediately contradicted with something that made it either lack-lustre, half-hearted, or simply broken.

    Also, it is good to see that you’re trying to be “nebulous” with your game-rankings, rather than “clear” or “straight-forward.” You see, this is ultimately the discussion I wished to have from the start. A direct look into how and why games are ranked the way they are so that in the future, upon reading your reviews, I will know how to decipher your “nebulous” rankings to be able to decide whether a title is worthy of a purchase or not. Because, that’s what a review is ultimately supposed to do: inform. This is not an editorial – this is not an opinion-piece – this is the straight-goods given to people that care enough to perhaps go out and make a purchase based upon the recommendation. Which is why I am rather confused when the overall review-format allows itself to contradict itself outright, and then when, three comments later, is first given the defence of being “nebulous.”

    “It’s clear that Katharine thinks the game is greater than the sum of its parts, which is why she scored it as such. It may not be the best title to grace the system (hence all of the negatives that she’s pointed out), but it is still a solid and ambitious RPG (especially for a handheld game) that is fun to play and features a surprisingly sophisticated online infrastructure.”

    Actually, that’s not clear at all. In fact, much like everything else that has been pointed out, what Katharine wrote specifically contradicts what you just said. Hey, why trust my words, why don’t we go to Katharine’s summary: “All in all, Heroes of Ruin is a competent dungeon-crawler, but one that lacks any real challenge. With bland, uninspiring design and mediocre combat, it’s hard to imagine that players will keep coming back to Heroes of Ruin, even despite its excellent online capabilities and varied character classes. The game is its own worst enemy at the end of the day, leaving it more of a ruined hero than a truly great one.”

    Lacks any real challenge . . . bland, uninspiring design . . . mediocre combat . . . hard to imagine players will keep coming back to Heroes of Ruin . . . despite excellent online capabilities (you remember, the lag spikes) and varied character classes (the ones that don’t really matter or make a difference . . . Katharine’s previous observations – not mine) . . . the game is its own “worst enemy” leaving a “RUINED” hero, rather than a truly great one.

    Wow Kevin, I really don’t know what to say. Even if something were greater than the sum of all those parts (how is that even possible – are there any non-broken parts you can even add together here?) it still sounds as if the game were to be an resounding failure. I mean, unless of course, if you add uninspired lay-outs, insulting quest objectives, lack of depth, no difficulty, complexity that holds button mashing as its primal goal, married with lag spikes (online and single player) that render the game at times unplayable, then yeah, I guess you are most correct, you would get a big heaping pile of magical awesome (or, in Nintendojo’s words, “impressive”).

    And before you state that this is “my” take on this – it isn’t. It’s Katharine’s.

    “And if that doesn’t clear this up, then nothing will.”

    Sorry bud, I’m not fourteen years old, and that condescension, in lieu of an actual response, is more insulting than clarifying . . . or, should I say, it’s rather “nebulous.”

    Thumb up 0
    • 1 points
      Kevin Knezevic says...

      The irony here is that YOU’RE the one who is failing to understand the point. You need to read everyone’s response a little bit more clearly before you go off on your increasingly long-winded rants. I never once accused you of disagreeing with the score; I said (and I will quote my own words, as you seem to be so fond of doing) that you thought “it [was] incongruous with the content of the review.” And Katharine never pointed to the game’s Metacritic score as a way to justify her own; she mentioned that the website interpreted a B- as a 67/100, which is pretty much equivalent to the 7/10 that she would have given the game had we used a numerical rating system. You’ll notice (or maybe you won’t, as you’ve failed to do all this time) that this has NOTHING to do with the actual score the game has accumulated on that site (which, for your information, is a 72 at the moment). If she really wanted to emulate the general consensus of the title, she would have given it a B (which Metacritic interprets as a 75).

      In any case, I cannot possibly fathom how you are still confused about this. Letter grades are clearly not as concrete as numbers (hence why I referred to them as “nebulous”), but that’s the way it should be regarding game criticism. You don’t see too many teachers employing the number scale when they grade essays for the simple fact that creative works cannot be broken down into definite “points.” Katharine explained the positives and negatives of the game as thoroughly as anyone could, so it’s up to the reader now to decide for themselves if they’d be willing to overlook its faults to enjoy what it has to offer (which is exactly what a review should do).

      You need to stop getting hung up on specific words (which, again, is obvious as you continue to try to twist “nebulous” against me) and read them in the context they were intended. Maybe then you could see, like everyone else who has read the review, that the game is still fun in spite of its flaws, hence the reason it earned a B-.

      Thumb up 3
    • 156 points
      AzureEternal says...

      “Good points Bradly, you’re absolutely right, we cannot fathom actual tone (from lacking the ability to hear the author speak those words), so the tone that is inferred is a reflection of none other than the person who heard them that way.

      I wonder though, what tone does “aggressively” and “interrogate” and “persecution” take? I suppose the positive kind, correct? So, in essence, the editor . . . the editor (??? . . . !) not only fails to realize that the tone he hears is of his own volition, but then begins to label me using the very terminology that best describes his own actions?”

      Yeah, but here’s the thing: it came off as aggressive and antagonistic to me as well… :\

      In my opinion, that shows that it wasn’t just Adam. And, if I know anything about statistics, or just common sense in general, it’s that if just ONE person felt a certain way in response to a situation, it’s very likely others did as well. This doesn’t make you an aggressive person, or anything like that – I think you had some legit questions – but it does mean that your posts came off as abrasive, and, in some case, perhaps a little provoking. I think your questions may have been overshadowed by the implications of your words.

      That being said, I think it’s fair to say that both sides feel attacked here, and unfortunately, once that has happened, we’re probably not going to get back to a point of effectively finding some sort of common ground. Because of that, as well as the fact that I feel all the necessary points from both sides have been made, I’m taking my leave of this discussion.

      Thumb up 3
  • 7 points
    Katharine Byrne says...

    Hey Diamondo,

    I’m really sorry if my review has proved unclear or contradictory, but I’m going to attempt to answer your concerns again, addressing the points you raised in your first comment and first comment only. If things are still unclear after that, then I don’t think there’s much else I can say to persuade you otherwise. Here we go.

    In listing your summary of my review, I think you’ve ended up twisting a few things I wrote. The game does have “bland level design with recycled environments”, but I never said it “lacked any heart with regards where to go next”. The levels are quite linear despite the odd dead-end and branching pathway, so you always know where to go.

    I also never said that it has “broken gameplay”. This is something you’ve interpreted yourself, and while I said that it does clip and it does have frame-rate issues, I also said in my review that this “wasn’t a huge deal breaker”. You may think that classifies as “broken”, but that’s your interpretation of it, not mine.

    The same goes for your claims of “unrewarding drops” and “zero-level challenge to any of the game’s enemies”. I said that “you may be overwhelmed by enemies very occasionally, but for the most part combat falls into relatively unsatisfying button-mashing.” In other words, some enemies were more challenging than others (it’s not like I didn’t die at all during the course of the game), but *for the most part* the difficulty curve wasn’t as satisfactory as I would have liked. I also never mentioned anywhere that the armour drops were unrewarding.

    As for the music, I didn’t mention it as I didn’t feel it was worth mentioning. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t outstanding either.

    You’re correct in re-iterating a maximum of six to seven hours of gameplay, though I’ll stress that this was how long it took me to complete the story with one character class only. Again, I never said explicitly that it was “unrewarding” or that “minimal-thought” had gone into the gameplay layout.

    It is “easy” to network, but once again you’re interpreting my review the wrong way. As I’ve pointed out above, the game does not “fall apart” online. If it did, I would have said so, and given it a much lower score. It holds up very well, despite the flaws that I’ve mentioned, and I believe that’s reflected in what I wrote:

    “…it *can* get pretty patchy, *sometimes* taking quite a severe dive…”

    “Can” and “sometimes” don’t mean “does” or “always”, and as I’ve pointed out in my other comment, I don’t think it’s fair to compare a handheld 3DS game to other online RPGs you can find elsewhere on other platforms. The 3DS is not a PC or a home console after all, and should be judged accordingly.

    I also feel that I pointed out several things Heroes of Ruin did do right – I won’t repeat them here, as I feel this comment is already getting long enough – but you are correct in identifying that my compliments did have their criticisms. Those criticisms, however, did not equate to your interpretation of it. It’s not that the game is “broken”; it’s that it’s too easy.

    Had the game been more difficult, the character classes would have really shone, the Trader’s Network would have been really useful, and the combat wouldn’t have felt so samey. It would have required players to use their characters more thoughtfully and intelligently, but I didn’t feel that being easy necessarily disqualified it from being impressive. It has all the ingredients to make a truly “excellent” or “great” game (B or B+ territory), but it doesn’t utilise those to the best effect, hence why it’s only impressive (i.e: the fact that it has all these ingredients in the first place) instead of merely “good”.

    But before you criticise what might qualify for a C+ or an A, I’d advise that you read a few more of the reviews on this site to get a better gauge of how we do our scoring. At the end of the day though, review writing is a subjective business. I stand by my score, but if my review has caused you to think that the game is broken, then I’m truly sorry, because that’s not what I intended to convey at all. I can only hope what I’ve said here will help you understand that. As for the Metacritic business, I only referred to it and gave it my own numerical score at all because I thought you were having trouble working out what a B- might have meant in terms of numbers. I thought that converting it into a number might have helped you understand the score a little better, but I’m afraid I have little to offer in terms of explaining how Metacritic converts our letter grades into numbers. I didn’t know what Metacritic’s conversion was until I looked it up for you.

    I really hoped that’s cleared things up, as I don’t feel I can explain it any clearer than that. Once again, I’m sorry if my review seems contradictory, but in a way I feel that reflects the nature of the game. It has so much potential, but it just doesn’t quite deliver on all its promises. For me, though, having that potential in the first place is what’s impressive. It may be a ruined hero, but even a ruined hero is still a hero.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7

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