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Rusty Hearts Preview from E3 2011

Posted Thu, Jun 16, 2011 by Ethec

If I’m honest, my love of co-op multiplayer began with the beat ‘em up genre. In the arcades (and later, on the NES), games like Double Dragon, Golden Axe, Renegade, and Streets of Rage showed the rich promise of close-quarters combat alongside a friend toward a shared objective. My supply of quarters steadily dwindled, but my love of gaming with friends (I guess we call that “social gaming” – like all gaming isn’t to some degree sociable) grew.

Unexpectedly, Rusty Hearts took me back to those glory days.  The graphics are cell-shaded but decidedly detailed and next-gen. The environments aren’t the least bit claustrophobic as you’d expect from a beat ‘em up, with mood-setting contrasty tones and a vibrant palette. Best of all, the side-scroller action isn’t really scrolling to one side – following the mold of games like Devil May Cry, the action follows a roomy, faux-3D horizontal and vertical path through the level, with rooms unlocking as all enemies are defeated in the previous room. Still, the gameplay offers the same short session, button mashing, beat ‘em up fun that I remember.

rusty hearts
Meet Angela from Rusty Hearts

Executive Producer Mark Bell and Perfect World hopes to bridge the gap between the joystick and the keyboard by playing to both camps – offering, for example, wide compatibility with controller peripherals, yet tossing in traditional RPG features such as a rich, character development-driven yet tongue-in-cheek story, complete with detailed cutscenes.

The story revolves around three friends – the tankish, scythe-wielding Angela, the melee DPS-ish Tude, the hybrid Franz - who decide to defy the Vampire Lord that’s ruled over them for hundreds of years and help the townspeople they’ve oppressed. The name of the game bears reference to the fact that the sense of goodness in these characters has gone “rusty”, and that the process of regaining their humanity might take some time.

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