I swear, cyberpunk is one of the coolest genres out there. Of course, this is just my personal opinion, but honestly, there’s just something so intriguing about titles like Deus Ex, System Shock, and BloodNet (call back to ‘93) which are able to bring this genre to life in different and unique ways. That being said, as much as gameplay and design are a factor in those titles, the storytelling is what sets them apart. Whether it’s debating augmentation or stories about out-of-whack artificial intelligence, cyberpunk just makes it work so flawlessly... sometimes. That’s why it’s a shame Ruiner doesn’t follow in suit.
Now let me state right off the bat that I didn’t mind Ruiner; it was functional, entertaining, and had a nice coat of paint to it. What I didn’t like about Ruiner was that it felt soulless and hollow. I understand this is a weird criticism to make, but hear me out. There’s been a lot of titles recently that boast the fact that they’re either difficult, or gripping, or something of the like, and that the main premise they ride on can usually be summed up in a word or two. For example, Call of Duty is often referred to as a bland shooter, while Battlefield is often called repetitive, so on and so forth…
Ruiner, on the other hand, is wearing the mask of a ‘cyberpunk shooter’. Oh yes, the in-game world in which we reside is one of futuristic downtrodden featuring a gripping narrative that’s sure to shake the foundation of the plot to its very core. Except it won’t because none of the characters are interesting and I’m pretty sure they were all copied straight out of the latest Blade Runner movie, with a smidge of Ghost in the Shell for good measure. Bad characters aside, the story is as detailed as it needs to be, which isn’t saying a whole lot considering it felt like there was an opportunity to do a lot more. Resulting instead in a squandered attempt at a deep intricate plot.
Now, while the plot and characters don’t feel up to par, the actual design of the game is fairly decent overall. As I mentioned above, Ruiner is functional, but the challenge that comes with it, although welcome, feels kind of token in the grand scheme of things. I could mention at least a few titles in recent memory that featured challenge as the main selling point, but all those titles had something which Ruiner doesn’t: a sense of style, which coupled along with the difficulty, complements those games as a whole. Unfortunately the best Ruiner can do, in terms of style, was throw a red haze over most of the levels which, to be fair, is stylish but quickly becomes mundane as you get further into the game.
So if the design is moderate and the story is mediocre, what does Ruiner have? Combat, that’s pretty much going to be the main reason for you picking up this title in my opinion. The different upgradeable abilities coupled with brutal boss fights bring out a sort of cathartic feeling during gameplay. Nothing feels more satisfying than dodging enemy attacks while keeping focus on the main target, it’s quite enjoyable through and through. Trust me.
So overall, do I recommend Ruiner? Well all things considered I’d give this title a ‘go for it’, if only for the the gameplay. If you’re someone who doesn’t really care about the story aspect in a game and would rather just go through it feeling like a badass fighting bosses, than by all means check it out. There is some nice design in there as well, and it certainly brings the feeling of cyberpunk across, but if style is all you’re looking for than feel free to give any of the titles in the first paragraph a look… except for maybe BloodNet.
RUINER (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
Ruiner is a competent top down sci-fi shooter that boasts an emphasis on difficultly, but a lacking in story. The gameplay sells it, for sure, just don't be shocked when the plot doesn't draw you in.