The year is 2091, and this cyberpunk world is filled with crime and evil corporate titans. Developed by Reikon Games, and published by Devolver Digital, this is a twin stick shooting game with as much difficulty as it has brutality. You take the role of futuristic badass who is made up of enough technology that his helmet lights up with suggestive texts like "KILL YOU" and an unknown woman has hacked into your mind. It's about going on a bad guy killing spree in the slums of this city, continuously upgrading your abilities and arsenal, and saving your brother who has been kidnapped. Are you able to come through for him? Are you able to sleep at night after all the killing and slaughtering you've done?
RUINER – Launch Trailer | PS4
RUINER – Launch Trailer | PS4
The game plays out in 3rd person top-down fashion with a fixed camera. There is a linear and fairly structured system that you'll play through, and it works great even though it may feel repetitive in nature. You essential travel through corridors, with little exploration available, until you can reach a room or designated area that gets barricaded and flooded with waves of enemies. Regardless of wether you face off against 3 enemies or several, death is a constant fear. You're only given so many pieces of health that can almost instantly be depleted to nothing if you aren't mindful and careful. It's almost a race to kill between you and the enemies; the longer they stand, the greater the possibilities that you catch a bullet to the face.
Asides from bosses, you will always have the tools available to quickly kill those swarming enemies, but it would be a lie to say there isn't a pretty steep learning curve when it comes to proficiency. There is a dash mechanic where you slow down time and select up to 3 positions around the map, marking those positions you want, then dashing to them in quick succession. You're not immune in this action, but it does make a world of a difference. Being able to dash away from he sights of an enemies gun, wrap around and shoot, then quickly dash close range and slice them up with the katana is a work of art when done right.
As you travel through these slums, you'll be engaging in brutal slaughtering via a large variety of weaponry. Of course, I mentioned having a katana for close range encounters, and a bat to begin with, but you'll also get things like shotguns, machine guns, assault rifles, and some pretty tech-based weapons like rail guns. And I can't forget about the freaking flame thrower you get too. No matter what you use though, enemies are prime for slaughtering. The difficulty picks up though when you have one bad guy trying to bum rush you with his melee weapon while you have two others across the room shooting at you. Not only will you need to quickly assess which would be the best weapon, but also what would be the best assisting abilities.
You'll have gadget type abilities like a deployable kinetic barrier, which you can move in and out of, using to shield incoming bullets while you are still able to shoot through from your side, or simply just an energy shield that can be recharged at random locations and has he ability to stun enemies if you dash through them. Curve balls will come in the form of enemies who prefer to bum rush you, especially some bosses, so being able to change up to another ability like grenades is a game of strategy among itself. There's a fairly deep skill tree here, but you won't unlock all that it has to offer until the later game. Luckily you are able to go back and play any of the 14 levels with the new equipment. Be careful though, if you ever press new game in the menu, it will clear your progress and you will be forced to start from scratch. I'm sure this will get fixed post launch because it's just a little bit disappointing to find out the hard way.
Sound and Graphics
The first thing thats evident in this title, is that it both sounds and looks grim. You know the cyber world you're running around in is going down the drain in regards to morals. Bad guys seemingly out number the good guys by dozens. This is most evident through the countless encounters you get in as you break down HEAVEN. The metropolis of Rengkok can be compared to a town in the Fallout series, in the way that it's broken down and trying to get by, but has little to no real economic support structure. It's dark yet functions just fine, and I love it. I wish there was more to do within it though. Characters models look great, and have an almost comic book realism to them.
The same could be said for the blood that gets splattered on every surface within eye sight during the chaotic and frantic encounters. Even when you take down a big baddy, and he sits in his dying position soaked in blood. The visuals are immersive for an indie game, and are arguably one of the best parts of the game. Occasionally I found myself wishing the lighting and shadows were worked on better though, as it feels like the lacking areas of the game have too much shadow, and probably this was done intentionally to mask the few faults in this area.
If you enjoy twin-stick shooters, and/or get a sense of pleasure from overcoming a difficult hurdle in video games, this is made for you. Its intense world full of dark people and crime around every corner makes it a unique one, completely standing out from others on the market. If you want to play the game for the creative gameplay mechanics and the story, there is an easy mode that will take a lot of the intensity and aggravation of death off your shoulders. But if you can somehow manage to make it through on Normal, I challenge you to beat it on Hard. I died more times than I could keep track of, but by the end, I got that sweet feeling of triumph. Overall, the game has its faults, just as any game does, but what it strive for it definitely nails.
|+ Dark and mature vibe||– Lacks some extra life in the hub city|
|+ Challenging for hardcore gamers, but easy on 'easy'||– Heavy learning curve (if you don't like tough games)|
|+ Brutal action gameplay, even better on second play through|