During Sony's E3 press conference, Sony announced their first RPG for the PlayStation Vita, Sony's next-gen portable. The game is being developed by San Diego Studios and Idol Minds, the creators of the PSN downloadable title Pain. I managed to find a demo of the game tucked away in the corner of Sony's E3 booth. The game is an action-RPG in the vein of Diablo, which means the demo featured a 3rd person isometric camera, a dark dungeon filled with monsters, and a lot of loot to collect. The demo I played seemed more like a proof of concept than an actual game. The small sample level had place holder chests and loot, no user interface, and for that matter, Ruin is a place holder title. It did, however, do a good job of getting the point across to me that a Diablo-style game can work fantastically on this powerful portable system. With PS Vita's large, bright and vivid screen, there is no need to worry about this style of game being too dark or small to see.
In the demo, I played an infernal warrior, which is basically a barbarian with a large shield and an oversized mace. Different attacks were mapped to each face button: a standard attack, a forward shield dash attack, a whirlwind attack, and an overhead smash that was useful for clearing out groups of enemies. The over smash had the added effect of making the environment crumble around you, which was a nice touch in this very limited demo. You can combine the various attacks to create combos and use God of War-style finishing moves on larger enemies. For example, when I had worn down a large ogre-like enemy, I was prompted to press the square button to jump on its head and shove my mace down its throat. The only other bit of interactivity in the demo was a magical fire turret stationed in front of a large wooden door protected by shield generators. After pressing square, you can just flick the right analog stick in the direction of the generators and door to blow them apart. After going through the door, the demo ended with the tease of an oversized demon emerging from the depths of the dungeon to confront me.
Based on what I have seen so far, this will be a fairly standard hack-n-slash action RPG. What makes it worth keeping an eye on is that it will be a PS Vita launch window title, will have a strong multiplayer and social network component, and will share save data via the cloud with its PS3 counterpart. If they deliver on their promises, this game will prove to be a decent launch title for RPGamers looking to pick up a PS Vita later this fall.