If you missed out on our E3 coverage of Rusty Hearts, Perfect World’s free-to-play, dungeon crawling, hack’n slash, action online RPG, don’t worry I did too. Hell I even walked past the eye-catching anime inspired cross between God of War and Castle Crashers numerous times at this year’s E3. After getting some hands-on with it at Anime Expo I’m not really sure why.
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While not too much has changed since the E3 build of Rusty Hearts in the gameplay department, the folks at Perfect World had a couple new features to show off. A new playable character Frantz — a mid-ranged melee specialist with some fancy magical abilities—and the unveiling of Rusty Hearts Player versus Player modes.
Starting with the half vampire Frantz, a sort of Richter Belmont meets Dante, I felt instantly at home with a control pad in hand. Frantz is a good balance of speed, strength and awesome magical abilities that really allow for a lot of high level combos with a little practice. Quick double taps of the analog stick allow Frantz to teleport through enemies to easily get the upper hand and if you’ve played Devil May Cry you’ll be right at home with him, minus the guns.
Rusty Hearts is fully playable and customizable with a keyboard, but I couldn’t imagine pulling off some of the more complicated combos with it. Then again I’m all thumbs. My one complaint at the moment with the controller setup though is that currently there is no way to use healing items without the keyboard. Perfect World assured me that they are still tweaking controller optimization, so I’m pretty confident they will find a good solution for this.
After completing my run through of a dark and dank wine cellar, time pressing, I took a brief look at the PvP aspect of Rusty Hearts. Solo and Team Survival and Deathmatch, Leader Match (where your goal is to take down… well the other teams leader) and Tag Team make up the multitude of ways to be involved in some heated multiplayer battles. Unfortunately with a limited AX setup, I was only able to engage in a one versus one Solo Survival Match where I was thoroughly spanked by a seasoned member of the Perfect World staff. While not the strongest showing of Rusty Hearts PvP, I could definitely see the potential in some heated four versus four battles.
While Rusty Hearts can be enjoyed solo, four-player online co-op seems to be where it’s at. Closed Beta registration begins July 27 with a projected release date of September 2011 for the final product. I’ve tended to stay away from the free-to-play market for lack of polish, but after getting some hands-on with Perfect World’s Rusty Hearts that just may have to change.