Aug 1, 2011

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First Impressions: Rusty Hearts

First Impressions: Rusty Hearts

Let me preface this by saying that Rusty Hearts is in its very early stages of beta testing. Many things can and will change between now and when the game releases. Things are buggy right now, which is to be expected with any early beta game.

I have been playing MMOs for roughly six years now. Most of that time has been spent in World of Warcraft, but I have dabbled in Aion and Rift (still slowly leveling in Rift). I’m really not the type that will compare everything to WoW or even be the one saying “it will die because it can’t compete with WoW.” I believe that every MMO has its place and every one has its loyal fan base, no matter how much that may shift over the years. WoW is not the be all, end all of MMOs in my book, so WoW fanboys and girls should not expect to see any Blizzard ass-kissing from me. I will not even try to compare Rusty Hearts to any other kind of MMO, not WoW, not Rift, not Everquest, because it is so unique.

At first I was a bit apprehensive about the game when I started the tutorial. I am so used to mouse and keyboard, that the keyboard only style (while only inside a dungeon) threw me off. If you find that using the keyboard only, is troublesome, Rusty Hearts community members claim that you can use a gamepad with the game.

Rusty Hearts, on one side of the coin, is a JRPG. It has the large breasted anime heroine and two polar opposite male heroes, the pensive thinker and the cool relaxed guy. It is set in a wholly gothic themed world where you fight off various monsters and skeletons in the dungeons. The game even scores you on how well you did at the end of a dungeon and gives you XP based on how well you performed. On the other side of the coin, it reminds me of a typical dungeon crawler, hack and slasher. You level up, gain new skills, complete quests for gear and gold, find gear within dungeons, and enhance gear with gems and enchantments (augmented stones in Rusty Hearts). All of the fighting is done within the dungeons; there are no random encounters it seems. Perfect World combines these two loved styles, throws them together, and decides to make it a multiplayer game as well. The stand-out MMO aspects are the grouping and chatting systems, PvP, the ability to gain special little in-game pets and titles, and an auction house. To be honest, I will say that this game would probably stand up on its own without the multiplayer aspect-just a solo dungeon crawler.

It does seem like the game will be a bit grindy. You do get multiple quests to change up your goals, but in the end you still wind up doing the same dungeon four to five times whether it is in normal, hard, or very hard mode. I had no issues with it at the lower levels, especially since I could solo a lot of dungeons, but you will need groups for later dungeons. In terms of character customization I was disappointed that you have no up-front character customization. You choose which character you want to be, and that is it. You cannot change their hair, clothes, nothing. At least the weapon upgrades in the game vary in color and style and you can wear costumes in the game; it adds to the variety in town, especially those damned bear costumes.

I went into this game not expecting to have much fun, but I could not tear myself away from it. Just like most MMOs, I fell for the “carrot on the stick” trap. I saw a piece of gear or costume reward from a quest and I just had to have it. Not to mention the fact that I kept wanting to improve my dungeon scores or see how high of a combo I could get.

Rusty Hearts is free-to-play with micro transactions for real money. Anyone that enjoys this style of art and/or dungeon crawlers should definitely check this game out. We’ll see if it has staying power, but so far it is enjoyable.

[All screen shots are property of the author.]