Ruiner (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gabriel Jones 26.09.2017

Review for Ruiner on PlayStation 4

Standing atop a mountain of corpses is a man. He has no name or face. It's unclear if he even has a mind of his own. The only person he answers to is "Her." Apparently, she's some top-class hacker, best in the business. Navigating the inner-workings of wetware is a breeze for her. She tapped into the psychopath's head, gave him a name, and instructed him to search for his missing brother. Now, he's prowling the streets of Rengkok, obliterating anything that stands in his way. The year is 2091, and terror has a new name...Puppy.

Everything that needs to be said about Ruiner is written all over the protagonist's face. This is a game that unapologetically delights in the slaughter. Each level is a series of arenas, where Puppy puts his skills and weapons to work. Succeed, and the antihero moves onwards, ever closer to the truth. Fail, and try again. There's no other way around it. Kill or be killed, mercy is for the weak, and so on, and so forth. It's brutal and needlessly sadistic, but also wickedly stylish. Cyberpunk videogames are way too few and far between, and it's great to see one that embraces the aesthetic wholeheartedly.

Screenshot for Ruiner on PlayStation 4

In this twin-stick shooter, a chance to catch one's breath is a luxury. Every battle features innumerable near-death experiences. The foes that challenge Puppy are always moving, always unrelenting. Their aim is nothing to scoff at, either. Bullets move quickly, eviscerating the unaware. Remember the saying "Always outnumbered, never outgunned"? That doesn't apply here. The mutt is talented, but his enemies are also pretty skilled, and they are packing some hi-tech weaponry. They adapt, flank, and make frequent use of their defensive capabilities. In short, these aren't the ordinary losers that exist solely to be mowed down by the dozens.

Needless to say, the only way this hound is going to survive is if he makes use of every skill at his disposal. The most essential of the bunch is the dash. It's fine for covering ground quickly, but most will depend on its ability to immediately escape life-threatening situations. The kinetic barrier sets up a bullet-deflecting shield, which also slows down anyone who rushes through it. Through the expenditure of skill points, these awesome abilities can be upgraded. At first, an energy shield is merely a more personal measure for deflecting bullets. With enough enhancements, it can be combined with the dash to stun adversaries. Not every skill can be used at once, but points are easily transferable. Seek out the combination that suits the current situation.

Screenshot for Ruiner on PlayStation 4

On the field, numerous weapons can be procured. Pistols, shotguns, swords, and a wealth of energy-based weapons are either lying around, or dropped by the recently-deceased. Keep in mind that ammo is limited, and new weapons are prone to breakage. It's not something to fret over, since Puppy always has his trademark pistol and pipe to fall back on. Acquiring new weapons is a very frequent occurrence, and players will soon appreciate the slight pause in the action whenever one is picked up. These moments allow someone a chance to collect their bearings, and prepare their next move.

The action is sometimes a little uneven. Slamming into foes with the force of a freight train, or wiping them out with explosives is very satisfying. The gunplay is slightly less so, however. Enemies shot with pistols or assault rifles just sort of fall over a second after their health is depleted. Thankfully, although this lack of impact is annoying, it's not all that detrimental or even noticeable. Still, gamers will occasionally catch a glimpse of the phenomenon, and their expression might change from "Heck yes!" to "Oh… okay." Also, some audio cues whenever Puppy takes damage would have been appreciated. Granted, being a mute, he can't groan in pain. Still, not everyone is going to notice him turning red for half a second whenever he gets hurt.

Screenshot for Ruiner on PlayStation 4

In Ruiner, clarity is also something of a luxury. The almost constant lighting and visual effects can make intense battles hard to follow. It's almost obnoxious at some points, particularly when the overload skill is in use. A boost to strength, speed, and damage is quite nice. However, this skill not only requires energy to maintain it, but also a set of eyes willing to put up with an outrageously gaudy view.

Even at its worst moments, which are few and far between, Ruiner is buoyed by a phenomenal soundtrack. This world, twisted by the marriage of flesh and metal, is deserving of an appropriate score, and the composers absolutely nailed it. Every scene is accompanied by the perfect piece of music. Even the slightest touches, like the undercurrent of bass in the menu, add so much to the experience. The sound direction also benefits from minimal voice acting. Enemies provide a fair amount of chatter, but it doesn't distract from the music, and the cut-scenes aren't voiced at all, which actually works very well.

Screenshot for Ruiner on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Ultra violent and very entertaining, Ruiner is quite an achievement. Not only does the game offer a meaty challenge, it doesn't bore and frustrate players with wave after wave of minions; each level is filled with just enough action to keep them invested. Some aspects aren't quite as polished as they could be but, again, a great soundtrack makes everything better. The effects could have also been dialled back a tad, but otherwise its inspired art direction is really impressive. On the merits of its presentation alone, this cyberpunk thriller deserves a look. Of course, it certainly helps that the rest of the game is solid, as well.


Reikon Games


Reikon Games





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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