Sony showed off one of their standout Vita titles during their E3 2011 press conference. Ruin, an action RPG, borrows heavily from the Diablo formula while leaving room for intriguing social media integration and clever use of the Vita’s tech. Players will be able to start a game on their Vita away from home, then effortlessly transfer progress onto their PS3 to continue play on the big screen. We recently got our hands on the game and came away even more interested.

Crawling through the dark dungeons of Ruin is a familiar journey; skeletons and other grunts lurch from and foolishly rush the overpowered qarrior. Developer Idolminds says each player begins with a character endowed with supernatural strength. Gameplay wise, this means players don’t start out with a cloth tunic and pocketknife, instead they’ll be rocking off enemies’ faces with powerful gear. Combat is a bit more complex than mindlessly clicking a button. The warrior class relies on stringing together light attacks which leave enemies open for devastating heavy attacks. This generously armored character also blocks with his massive shield and charges opponents to dole out quick damage. I even saw him mount a gigantic cave troll and shove his mace down the beast’s throat in a nasty execution. The gameplay isn’t fancy but it does the job. I’m interested in getting my hands on the assassin class, which specializes in dodging, ranged attacks with knives and arrows, and uses a combo system to string big damage.

Another promising Ruin feature other than the ability to transfer progress between the Vita and PS3 (as Sony isn’t sure if each version will need to be sold separately), is Ruin’s multiplayer. Players don’t play together, but instead interact in other meaningful ways. Friends can trade items with friends, while rivals attempt to breech other players’ lairs to score loot. To protect your lair while you’re not playing, players can set up powerful relics to augment their defensive minions. These same relics can be placed in different areas to boost your weapon crafting and personal stats. It all depends on your play style and priorities. Getting your lair raided won’t be an exercise in frustration, however, as developer Idolminds says there will some sort of benefit to enduring an enemy assault. Progress will also be linked to social media services Facebook and Twitter, so you’ll have even more posts for your friends to ignore.

Ruin looks great and played well on both the Vita and PS3. I noticed a little slowdown when playing on the Vita, but this early build may simply be having trouble keeping up with the impressive visuals. I’m interested to learn more about the game’s progression system and whether Sony is silly enough to charge gamers for a PS3 version and Vita version.