Rustler Preview

We recently got the chance to attend a hands-off preview of Rustler, a comedy medieval title inspired by classic, top-down Grand Theft Auto gameplay. Although brief, from what we saw the game looks like it could be a lot of fun. The term ‘historically inaccurate fun’ got thrown around a few times, and once you see it in action you’ll see why.

Played from a top down view point, we control the inventively named Guy in his bid to win the The Great Tournament, and with it, the Princess’s hand (in marriage, we hope…). As a lowly pauper he must overcome the odds to beat the other competitors, and along the way will cause endless grief and destruction for the people of the town. The story and setting are – much like the rest of the game – firmly tongue in cheek, with the everything played for laughs. Even his bland name is catered for in lore, being blamed on unimaginative parents.

We suspect that the tale is merely a back drop for some fun action and adventuring though, as it’s clear the focus is on the comedy weapons and over the top on screen happenings. Weapons and extras are based in historical accuracy, with the history books then thrown out in favour of fun. While we get to use things such as halberds, swords, and horses in our adventure, there are also more fantastical elements such as Holy Hand Grenades, digging up dinosaur bones, and just generally causing chaos for those around us. The local police will give chase if we cause too much shit, and in another example of the strange mix of history and comedy will have blue and red flashing lights going as they chase u, while reversing a horse meanwhile gives a repeating beep beep.

Perhaps the best mix-up of styles though is in the Bard. Much like GTA’s radios, they will provide a backing track to the action and learn new songs as the story progresses. To change the tune? Just give them a whack. Monty Python was cited as an inspiration and it’s clear to see how.

Rustler has been available on Steam Early Access for a while, and Jutsu Games have used this period to refine all elements of the game ahead of the console release later this month. From difficulty to controls and more, they hope to have a finely tuned experience come August 31st. It’ll also run at 60fps on the Series consoles, with a 30fps cap on last gen, though we didn’t quite catch resolution numbers. Even through a Discord stream it still looked decent though.

Players will have access to home bases to store items and weapons, and will be a respawn point when they inevitably die. As we progress we’ll gain new ones, though we didn’t get to see them in action this time out. We can also use skill points to improve Guy, be it more health or damage, up to a perk that allows us to keep weapons after we die. Again we didn’t see the skill tree but we told it is fairly large and allows for players to choose their own path of upgrades. Finally, it was confirmed no multiplayer this time round due to several factors, including lack of interest and time of their part to implement.

Conclusion

While our demo time was short, a medieval GTA-like with tongue firmly in cheek has our interest peaked. It looks like a lot of carnage-based fun, and could prove to offer up a good revival of the classic top down action gameplay of the 90’s.

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This was a hands off preview via Discord. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.
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Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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