Ruiner - Gamescom Impressions

Is neon blood still red?

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Ruiner is a cyberpunk dance of death; it's futuristic carnage built on harmonious movement; a side step here, a dash there, pull up the shield, dodge the attack, hit with the bat, pull the trigger, step back, go again. Bloody henchmen fall left and right in double quick time, turrets spit metal, doors open, more willing victims advance onto this dance-floor of damage and destruction.

Reikon's Ruiner is coming to PC, PS4, and Xbox One in a matter of weeks, and it's going to the prove a challenge for anyone who looks to master it. There's are a bunch of abilities that will unlock over the course of the futuristic campaign, but we had enough trouble working with the tools offered to us during the prologue. Mastery will involve working a variety of new moves into an effective repertoire of tricks.


During the aforementioned prologue, we learned a succession of skills that we had to integrate into our combat technique. You can dash, dash via waypoints (though be quick, time only slows while you're plotting your moves), block with a shield, dash with a shield, and use it smash your enemies, and this is on top of swinging bats and firing the guns scavenged from fallen foes. Simply put, there's a lot to take in, and Reikon has clearly built a game that needs to be tamed by the player over time, as they learn more about how everything works and how abilities can be chained together.

The top-down setup works really well, giving a decent overview of the action. It's also a game for grownups. On top of it being extremely violent, it's set in a dark, dank vision of the future. The player-character has a literal blank face where messages appear, and it seems as though our mind has been hacked, our actions determined by outside forces. To make matters worse, our character's brother has been captured and he's being used to incentivise the player to commit violent crimes.

If you're after colourful creatures and cutesy colours, look elsewhere.


Back to the demo: in this instance, we were sent to fight and kill the CEO of a corporation called Heaven. Naturally, a man this important (and, presumably, dangerous) has a lot of protection, and in the mission leading up to a final confrontation with one of his chief henchmen, a lot of thugs descended on us and tried and halt our forward progress by any means necessary. They'll have to take solace in knowing that they slowed our advanced, even if they ultimately gave their lives for nothing.

Enemies come at you from all sides, and they come wielding a variety of weapons. It's relatively easy to side-step melee attacks and dodge the odd bullet, but as soon as multiple enemies are introduced it can get a bit frantic and you'll need to utilise your repertoire of tricks if you're to stay alive. We advanced through moody streets and industrial areas, charging our health where possible, and fighting with those enemies foolish enough to cross our path.

We were able to use our basic skills one at a time at first, but come the boss battle at the end of the demo we had to mix things up a bit. Dashing into cover gave us respite, then a shield bash let us take out a guard advancing on our position, but there was a lot going on and we had to react quickly and keep moving. Even as waves of henchmen attacked, a security chief with a chunky health bar stalked us around the fixed single-screen arena. We had to pick up weapons, dash, dodge, block, and attack at the right moment, and even then it took us a couple of attempts.


Then, when the dust had settled, we were given a score. E. We weren't very happy with that, but the devs assured us that we did alright, especially considering the fact that at the time we played, we were only the second outlet to play the game not to stick it on easy. Still, there's (a lot of) room for us to improve, and once we truly get to grips with the controls and master all of the skills, we're sure our performance report will get better.

There's a lot going on, and a lot that can go wrong, but Ruiner isn't looking to give you an easy ride. Rather, this is a game that has been built with challenge at its core, and Reikon seems to have balanced it just right; it's tough, but not so tough that you won't want to learn its intricacies. This is a brutal cyberpunk brawler and we're looking forward to learning its moves when it heads to PC, PS4, and Xbox One on September 26.


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