Rusty Hearts Review: Swords, Guns, and Action Dominate in this Free MMORPG

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Rusty Hearts
came across Ten Ton Hammer’s radar during the href="">E3
2011 show where Ethec described
how the game took him back to the glory
days of Double Dragon,
Golden Axe,
and Streets of Rage.
Being a fan of
old-school smash-them-up games (and being old!), I eagerly awaited the
game and was able to href="">preview
the game before launch. Now, Rusty

is out and I ventured into the gothic setting to slay hordes of
monsters, buy some cool clothes for my character, and review the game
to see if it delivers action and a good time.

Rusty Hearts
is a free online MMORPG developed by Stairway Games and
distributed by Perfect World Entertainment. In this anime-inspired
game, the player takes on the role of one of three characters (a fourth
is coming later) who fights against the menacing vampire lord, Vlad.
While there is a storyline in the game, the focus is on fighting.
You’ll fight your way through countless dungeons, slaying
armies of hideous monsters, to defend the citizens of the realm from
the festering evil.

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Laying some smackdown on some


There is nothing objectionable in the game. It’s full of
cartoon blood and over-the-top cartoon violence, but if that bothers
you, then you’re not in the market for monster-slaying
dungeon crawls.

Gameplay - 90 / 100

The gameplay of Rusty Hearts
focuses on action, action, and even more
action. While described as an MMORPG, Rusty
is a fighting game
wrapped within a storyline. You’ll pick one of the three
characters to play, each with their own fighting style. If
you’re looking for the holy trinity of DPS, tank, and healer,
you’ll search in vain. Your main option of character
determination is of how you decide to kick the ass of monsters: swords
and axes (Franz), magic sword and scythe (Angela), or gauntlet and claw

The premise is refreshing simple. You get quests from various
townspeople, which you fulfill by going into a dungeon. Each dungeon is
comprised of several different areas (smaller dungeons) with suggested
level ranges
suggested for each. You can enter each specific dungeon as many times
as you wish; you don’t even need a quest to enter one. You
get xp by killing monsters, completing the dungeon, and also by
finishing quests. Each dungeon is comprised of numerous rooms, each
filled with slavering hordes of monsters, which you need to kill in
order to move on to another room. At the end of each dungeon,
you’ll face off against a boss monster and his minions. Once
you defeat him, you get some random loot by using cards that you pick
up from dead monsters as you travel. Once you’ve finished a
dungeon, you can repeat the dungeon, use a store to sell loot and
repair, or return to the town. Once you’ve finished a dungeon
on the normal setting, you can then enter it on hard mode, and then
very hard mode.

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Filthy undead getting my white
clothes dirty!

As you level, you gain new abilities and upgrade those abilities as you
gain in power. Once you’ve advanced enough, a new section of
the city will open to you with a new dungeon for you to adventure in.

The game is ridiculously addictive. It’s tremendous fun if
you’re looking for an action MMO. You’ll be button
mashing like mad to do cool combos and trying to improve your
“style” points as you go through a dungeon. The
action is the centerpiece of the game and it shines. Your various
abilities are executed in a cool manner and you look bad-ass as you
plow through mobs of creatures, dishing out their deserved retribution.

While you will go through each dungeon a lot of times, it
doesn’t get boring. The average time to get through a dungeon
is from between five to ten minutes, so you’ll be breezing
along, swinging your sword through the rotten innards of the undead.
Rusty Hearts
will throw some curveballs to add some spice to a dungeon
by having your complete it within a certain time limit, have limits
upon the number of times you get hit, having a chest spawn with
additional loot to entice you to go through again, having a different
boss monster, or one of a handful of other conditions.

The storyline is interesting the first time around, but later on
you’ll be fast-clicking through the dialogue. The
game’s setting is somewhat serious, but there is definitely a
humorous touch to the game. The character of Angela gets most of the
good lines throughout the game as she constantly belly-aches about
what’s going on.

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The game's tone stays light
because of the humor. Oh, Angela.

There are the usual MMO staples in Rusty
. There are guilds, an
auction house, PvP, and crafting. However, the focus remains firmly on
fighting. If you’re looking for a vast world to travel and
explore, harvesting fizzywig ferns to make enchanted placemats, or
gather with other players to recreate the Battle of Helm’s
Deep, then you’re out of luck. Rusty
is a fighting
game with RPG elements thrown in.

The biggest drawback to Rusty
is the lack of
Since there are only three characters to pick from, everybody looks the
same. While you can get costume pieces to wear (either from quest
rewards, crafting, or the cash shop), you’ll still look like
one of a crowd. Still, you’re spending the vast majority of
your time in dungeons killing monsters, so it’s not a
game-breaker. However, it would be nice if more customization options
would become available.

Graphics - 90 / 100

The graphics in Rusty Heart
are incredibly well done and vibrant. The game features
cel-shaded art that is done in an anime gothic style. The town,
dungeons, and monsters are all well detailed and the graphics really
pull you into the game. The gothic style lends itself to a brooding,
melancholy air, but the anime-influence helps keep it light. If you are
not a fan of anime, then you’ll need to stay away from this
game. Oversized weapons are standard monster fighting fare, my friend.

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The setting is suitably gothic.

Sound - 70 / 100

The sound in Rusty Hearts
is a mixed bag. The music and sound effects
are well done. The sounds of combat are dynamic and exciting, full of
grunts and clashing weapons. The music is played in a haunting,
melancholy piano style and is really well done, but like most MMOs,
does get repetitive. The voice-acting is terrible. If there is spoken
dialogue, you can’t hear it most of the time as it is
incredibly low and is usually drowned out by the music. It’s
like having somebody whisper to you from across the room while
you’re standing next to somebody playing the violin.

Multiplayer - 82 / 100

Multiplayer in Rusty Hearts
is pretty good. You can easily group if you
wish. You can create a guild and gain perks such as a guild hall and a
guild warehouse (bank). PvP is comprised of various matches such as
deathmatch, last man standing, or team matches. Being a champion in PvP
nets you points that you can use later for special gear. The best part
of PvP is that it’s quick and easy. You hit one button (B)
and you’re off to fight. You can join a room or create your
own. On the negative side, there are no objective based scenarios such
as capture and hold and the lack of customization rules out having mass
conflicts as that nobody would be able to tell friend from foe.

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Getting my butt whipped in PvP.

Value - 95 / 100

Rusty Hearts
has a great deal of value because the game is free. You
can purchase items in the cash shop, but they’re mostly
vanity items such as clothing. You can get an xp boost and healing
potions, but they’re not really needed. You can pick up
potions by bashing the crap out of monsters and by crafting. The cash
shop can make it easier for you to keep going, but it doesn’t
make the game pay-to-win. I used my money just to buy some cool clothes
to make my guy stand out a bit.

Lasting Appeal - 82 / 100

This game has a pretty good lasting appeal in that you’ll
definitely want to come back often to smash some monster skulls and do
some dungeon crawling. Rusty
isn’t a game
you’ll play every day for three to four hours, but it is a
game that you’ll come back on a regular basis for an hour or
two. The dungeons are quick to complete, and once you’ve run
through a few smiting creatures, you’ll log off with a smile
on your face and lots of stress relieved. Like the grand old arcade
games of yesterday, you’ll come back to get your fix on a
regular basis.

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Don't I look spiffy in my
fancy cash-shop clothes?

Pros and Cons


  • Addictive gameplay
  • Combat is awesome and you
    feel like a bad-ass
  • Anime-style gothic graphics
    are vibrant and pull you into the setting


  • Lack of customization hurts
  • Voice acting is terrible
  • Some dungeons can get
    repetitive if you don’t take a break
  • PvP could be better


Rusty Hearts
does remind me of those old arcade games that I played for
way too many hours and spent way too many quarters on. The gameplay is
simple, but addictive. The core of the game is the awesome combat, but
there’s a nice storyline wrapped around it. This is
definitely a game you can get your friends into, especially since
it’s free, and you can spend some quality time
dungeon-crawling. Rusty Hearts
isn’t a deep, complicated
game. It focuses on its strength, the action, and by doing so, the game
is damn fun to play. Now where’s my oversized axe?

Overall 85/100 - Very Good


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Rusty Hearts Game Page.

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