Rusty Hearts: A First Look at the Gothic Monster Slaying MMORPG

Ten Ton Hammer has been excited about Rusty Hearts, the upcoming gothic monster slaying MMORPG since E3. Jeffprime ventures into the anime-style world of monster slaying for a beta update.

rusty hearts

Ten Ton Hammer has been excited about Rusty Hearts since our eyes first beheld the game at E3 2011. This upcoming free-to-play MMORPG from Perfect World features tons of action in an anime-inspired gothic setting, where players take on one of several roles in an effort to destroy an ancient evil and his countless monster hordes. The game is currently in beta and I’ve been fortunate to get some kills (ok, lots of kills) under my monster-slaying belt.

Rusty Hearts really takes me back to golden age of arcade games, where my buddies and I would spend hours teaming up to play games such as Golden Axe, Double Dragon, and Gauntlet. Rusty Hearts is a MMORPG that focuses in on action, not wasting your time scouring zones for different types of plants or other lame stuff. You’re supposed to be killing monsters, so get to it! This game is all about the action, and you’ll get treated to more action than you can handle.

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Killing some undead with style!

To begin, you choose one of three different characters, each with their own back story and combat style (even though they are all close combat). The three current characters are Frantz (the tormented human-vampire hybrid), Angela (an apprentice witch), and Tude (a man struggling to retain his humanity and not become a werewolf). Each character uses different weapons, different types of armor, and has different abilities as they level.

The basic premise of the game is that you gather quests in the town and then enter one of the varied dungeons to fulfill those quests. The town itself is broken into several sections and to gain access to the next area, you need to fulfill the main storyline quests. Each section has its own dungeon and each dungeon is broken into several different dungeons from which you can choose to enter. For example: the canals are broken into four different dungeons – Canals B3, Canals B2, the Upper Plant, and the Lower Plant. Each dungeon has a recommended level range associated with it. Each dungeon is filled with hordes of monsters that you must battle, and you must kill all the monsters in a room to advance further into the dungeon. In the final room of the dungeon, you’ll fight some bad-ass looking boss monster, plus more hordes of regular monsters. Once you’ve defeated the boss, you’ll get a random pick of loot from picking up various cards within the dungeon. After you’ve completed the dungeon, you can go through it again at a higher difficulty (if you choose), but with the chance of getting better loot.

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The first dungeon area has four seperate dungeons for your monster slaying pleasure.

The combat itself is fast and furious. You have your basic attack (X) and various special abilities that you gain as you level. If you stream multiple hits and combos together, you get a higher style rating. At the end of the dungeon, you get a score depending upon how many times you were hit and how good your style was. (I rarely got an A rating. What? Parachute pants are still stylish!) Combat is the core of the game and it rocks. It’s been a long time since I’ve had this much fun kicking the crap out of evil creatures. The various special attacks look damn cool and you feel like you’re a major bad-ass as you’re wiping the floor with baddies. The monsters themselves are of differing types ranging from undead to fish men to my favorites, little guys who walk around on stilts. As you kill monsters, you get hit point and magic point buffs that replenish your character.

Another interesting tidbit is that changing your weapon can alter your special attacks. When I switched my Frantz character’s weapon from a sword to an axe, the special attack where I lunged at my foes turned into my throwing my axe at them and the axe then returning to my hand. You’ll definitely want to check out the differences in fighting styles depending upon which weapon you’re using.

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Skills and combos.

The art in Rusty Hearts is anime-style European gothic with cel-shading. While the gothic atmosphere is sufficiently brooding and melodramatic, the colors are very vibrant and eye-catching. It’s a beautiful game to play, plus the soundtrack is actually pretty good. From fighting themes to haunting melodies, the music in the game helps immerse you into the world of Rusty Hearts.

An aspect of the game that struck me was the unfolding story told as your progress, and the great deal of humor found within the conversations you have with the NPCs in town. An amusing story arc was you being forced to go through an anger management course due to an anonymous complaint in how you were interacting with the townspeople. Angela’s character is especially funny and delivers a lot of biting lines.

While there are only three characters to choose from, you can differentiate your looks from wearing costume pieces. You can get costume pieces as rewards or you can get them through crafting or the cash shop. The cash shop sells resurrection scrolls, costume pieces, personal room items (for your player housing which is just a room), pets, and other sundries. Pets and room items are not yet available at this time.

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Somebody's getting angry!

Crafting is available in the game for those who wish to do so. There are two kinds of crafting. The first is the simple kind where you can drop a stone onto an item to give it a bonus. The second type is your normal style crafting where you follow a recipe and combine various ingredients that you loot from monsters or buy from vendors.

It’s hard for me to describe to you how much I’ve enjoyed playing this game. After you get a quest, you’re only 30 seconds away from being in a dungeon killing monsters. You won’t spend time running from one side of a zone to another. You get your quest, you run to the dungeon entrance (taking about 20-30 seconds), you join a party if you wish or go in solo, and you then enter the dungeon and choose which part of the dungeon you wish to do and the difficulty. While you will go back to the same particular dungeon three to four times at least, it doesn’t get stale because you can change the difficulty and by the fact that you finish the dungeon in six to ten minutes on the average.

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Getting some new duds at the cash shop.

If you get tired of dungeon crawling, you can play some PvP. Rusty Hearts has a quick and easy PvP system with different types ranging from last man standing to team matches to kill the opposing team’s leader. I heartily recommend it if you need a reminder of your sloth-like reflexes. (Yes, I lost a lot in PvP.)

The game still has a few rough spots. The enemies are pretty easy to kill at lower levels, so it’s not too challenging until you up the difficulty quite a bit. Perfect World is also working on their stamina system. Every time you enter a dungeon, you use some of your stamina. When you run out, you can’t enter a dungeon or learn skills. I haven’t had any issues with stamina, but if you play for ten hours non-stop, you probably will. In their first state of the game letter, Perfect World has acknowledged these issues and is working on them.

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PvP is quick and hard on your dignity.

All in all, Rusty Hearts is a blast. It’s a throwback style of game, but with all the modern bells and whistles. If you crave dungeon crawling, monster slaying, no-holds-barred constant combat, then this is the game for you. The gameplay is deceptively simple, but has a nuanced complexity to keep it from getting stale. The game is meant to be fun, quick, and addictive and it hits the nail on the head for all three. I can’t wait for the final version of the game to come out. If you want to give the beta a try, then visit Perfect World’s website to get a beta key.

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