I played through a demo area with upcoming action/RPG Ruin's agile Assassin class and came away with more questions than answers.

Sony invited us out to its Gamescom 2011 press conference, with the complementary inclusion of hands-on sessions with a selection of Vita games afterward. Sitting down with Ruin, I was unsurprisingly impressed with the Vita hardware and the game's graphical fidelity. Beyond that, the demo itself was a mixed bag.

The Assassin is a dextrous, tricksy heroine who decimates her foes with lightning-fast dagger strikes, poison darts, and improvised bombs. I had no trouble brushing aside the opposition, bosses included, but the Ruin developer on hand freely admitted that the team hadn't even tried to balance the powers for this demo. Indeed, my mana bar never moved as I blasted enemies away at well -- the developers didn't so much as give the Assassin's abilities any casting cost.

On the defensive front, the Assassin has a fabulous flip move accessed with the right stick. Functioning much like Kratos' dodge in God of War, this quick escape is an amazing defensive tool. Leaping out of harm's way with a flick of the thumb is a good way to feel like an awesome, invincible heroine.

The Assassin's offensive loadout was less satisfying. Both the bombs and the poison projectiles were difficult to aim, spraying slow-moving missiles in a wide arc centered in the direction the heroine is pointed. The bombs had no real sense of impact when they exploded, and I was often surprised when foes would collapse seemingly at random, only to realize after the fact that they had caught a bomb blast.

The dagger assault, a close-range teleport that puts the Assassin behind her target for a vicious blind spot strike, was hilarious to use but utterly overpowering without a mana cost or cooldown to balance it. Any group of enemies was trivially dispatched by sauntering up to them and doing nothing more than mashing triangle.

A lot of what Ruin has going for it -- the "PvPvE" multiplayer where players wager on their ability to loot others' dungeons in particular is a fascinating idea that wasn't part of the demo. I love the idea of an action/RPG that I can freely pick up and play between my PS3 and Vita consoles, continuing my save on whichever platform strikes my fancy. That said, the developers at Sony and Idol Minds have work to do to whip the moment-to-moment gameplay into shape to hit the game's planned Vita launch window release.