Right off the bat, I want to say this game’s art style is just F—ing dope. It’s just this sexy cyberpunk anime inspired theme pumping with this sick electronic music. No matter the game quality, it just comes to life. I’m not even going to bother breaking it down, just look at some of these pictures. Admire it. Make it your wallpaper. I’m kidding. Seriously though, the art in this game is just great. Character portraits are designed in this gritty anime-like appearance and looking more like they were spray painted by graffiti artists instead of being drawn. All the characters are designed quite differently from one another, ranging from streetwear to cybernetic work clothes to just very revealing and BDSM-esque type apparel.
But in game, the environments of Rengkok are shown as dark and bleak grays while enemies contradict it with colors in order to stand out along with lighting and shadows that vary the mood and settings. The music is something that either wants to be your friend or an obsessed girlfriend. As it changes subtly in between and during missions will just grow louder on you and fill your ears with bass and synths. Even at times, feeling like it dictates your feelings just as if you were being hacked yourself.
Set in the year 2091, Ruiner focuses on a masked man focused on saving your brother who is held hostage. To get him back, you agree to kill a target. However, due to the help of ‘HER’, you’re now hellbent focused on saving your brother and killing the people who had the audacity to take him. And while it may seem as linear as possible, you’re wrong. Rengkok is this world that is separated by Karma. A form currency used to determine where your position in society is labeled. Starting in the South end, you’re in the poorest of poor and it is wonderful. The city is filled with dialogue and so many different people and personalities littered about.
Shifting through the streets floods you with so much lore. You don’t need to sit in menu reading lore (But I highly recommend you do, it’s worth it). It’s all the character dialogue that ties it all in. You just feel immersed in their conversation all while no one is saying a single thing. I don’t know how Magdalena Tomkowicz and Benedykt Szneider were able to figure out to tell a world through its people without ever having to drown someone in long-winded dialogue is A.MA.ZING. And the fact the entire Art department can just bring it all out and enhance it is grand.
As much as Ruiner looks like it’s all chaotic and rapid fire, you’ll be punished for playing that way. You got to be crazy but cautious. As enemies flood the scene, showing no remorse and piling on you. You need to move around in this game more than you would in Doom. Weapons, while plentiful, contain a certain number of rounds/durability. Dealing their own forms of damage and effects on enemies. Plasma rifles can rip through plain enemies but if they’re coated in a fire you’re better off grabbing a subzero gun to pierce through the flames while dealing damage.
The skill tree is great allowing you to change abilities at will. And yeah knowing you can freely change your set up is a worrying sign, Ruiner makes it near impossible to stay with a single build for a long time. It doesn’t let you pick and choose, you need to try the buffet and I guarantee you that not a single ability feels like a waste. Even then, sometimes enemies will force you to tear down your entire set up with how diverse they all are.
And on top of diverse of enemies, you need to deal with the fact they also possess shields and dashing techniques, making them on par with you. This is where you’ll feel fear and anger. Grunts are a bit predictable, activating shields after a couple of shots. Bosses, however, will do it whenever: After attacks, after you shoot them, right before you fire and so it makes each battle more intense as you’re trying to get every shot to count. You can’t afford miss shots because you’ll end up being blasted in the face. Especially when you’re starving for health and energy packs.
And yet, as amazing the game sounds staggers with some tumbles here and there. One of my biggest gripes is the controls and how you can’t tamper with them. I kept switching between Keyboard and Controller to figure out which hurt my hand less (controller). The keyboard buttons have too much of a thought process when you want to use an ability and swapping between melee and range. I find myself dashing around more just so I can get my bearings together on the fact I must press R or my mouse wheel to switch weapons unlike on the controller I have independent buttons. Even then, the controller has its own faults. Dashing is on LB/L1 while the ability is on LT/L2. I kid you not that the joint on my index finger was feeling pain because I always had to keep it in an unnatural position.
For the keyboard, just allowing me to swap buttons around, even if a couple would be great. I’ll even take one with a slightly altered premade layout. It would have helped so much. And on the controller, the layout could have been almost perfect. I really suggest just putting in an option to swap the dash and ability locations.
EDIT: They now let you change keybinding to the game.
But looking past that. There’s not much wrong with Ruiner. Some small issues here and there that Reikon could fix with updates. There are some glitches varying from dodged attacks hitting you to enemies literally following you around for a bit when they aren’t supposed to. And fixing enemy’s appearing during your reaction. They spawn way off screen and by the time you see them, time goes back to normal.
Ruiner is out now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Go buy it. Seriously, go. Get the Hell out of here and get it.