Ravensword: The Fallen King in Review – shooting for Oblivion

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When the first Ravensword: The Fallen King screenshots and trailers appeared on the net, I thought: “This is it! This is the Holy Grail!” And as the time came closer and closer to the release date, with all of the publicity around the game, my interest really peaked. Just a little over 2 weeks ago I finally got my hands on the press build of this genre-bending game.

Before you get lost, check out the Ravensword Walkthrough at TouchMyApps.

If intros are anything to gauge by, Ravensword is unoriginal: you wake up in a village with no memory of who you are and how you got there. A cute girl says you were found almost lifeless in a nearby forest and gives you an amulet as a good luck charm. Now it’s up to you to find out what the hell is going on.

Ravensword is centred around the town of Aven and the nearby castle. It features a huge open world for you to explore with a goodly number of side-quests to enjoy in addition to the ~6-hour main adventure. It is described as an Action/Adventure/RPG, and while it is quite heavy on Action and Adventure aspects, it really lacks RPG elements.

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Ravensword feels more like a third person slasher than anything else. The quests consist mostly of killing mobs, collecting stuff or rescuing someone. You can’t really die. Once your health drops to zero, you’re automatically transported to the room you first woke in with the Homing Amulet charm with half your life and a free meal (a free meal!). This marshalling of light gaming aspects is sorely evident in your character; there is no customisation at all, and no skills or classes either. One wonders why there are stats in the first place.

Another strange decision by the developers was to omit any stats on the inventory apart from a short general description. So there’s no way to compare any two weapons or armor pieces apart from price. And some weapons can’t be sold at all, so there’s absolutely no way to see which is better. There is also a curios lack of armour in the game. It consists exclusively of the helmet and two shoulder pieces, which come in two varieties at the local blacksmith. I understand that this may have been done to minimize player hassle with equipment, but an auto-equip best items (like in Dungeon Hunter) would have been much better.

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Fans of using magic will be appalled to find out that there is extremely little of it present in the game and it’s exclusively in the form of runes, rechargeable at the local Magic Shop for a rather serious chunk of cash. And as I said, no skill development.

On the other hand, the world is amazing. The game features brilliant graphics that run smoothly — although not always completely fluidly — even on the 3G. For that extra performance boost, you can brighten up the shadows and trim the foliage from the settings to eek out a few more frames-per-second. And as advertised, 3D audio works reasonably well, although it quite hard to estimate where sound is actually coming from when using the iPhone’s speakers.

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The controls are very good. The virtual stick is used for movement (left-right used for strafing) and you can pan the view using the other finger. Attack and jump buttons are well placed and responsive enough, and for that extra dose of realism, you may switch to first-person view, though it has a strange tendency to switch to third-person view when you fire the bow and obscuring the target. You can designate one rune, one ranged weapon, and one close-up weapon, activating them quickly by tapping the handy bar on the left.

Exploration is Ravensword’s real strength. The world is huge and you can move through it freely. The excellent graphics make it a rewarding experience and the main story nudges you in the right direction while side-quests keep you busy even after the main plot is over. Bored? Why not practice archery for a quick few bucks, or take a leisurely horse ride? And the atmosphere in the game traps you in a light and cheery mood, featuring memorable characters such as Goblin Strippers _yes, goblin strippers_ to make your journey worthwhile. But the huge is devoid of a mini map! Come on Chillingo; you have created a huge, beautiful, and easy-to-get-wtf-lost-in world. Where is the mini map?

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While Ravensword is no Oblivion, it may look a lot like it to the casual player. It isn’t really an RPG; from its lack of character customisation to the extremely limited inventory, Ravensword feels a lot more like an action adventure game. In face, it is a must have for any explorer who is looking for a polished bit of action to stuff into a breathtakingly beautiful world of adventure. Even RPG fans may pick it up if they’re looking for something lighter to keep them busy while they’re waiting for the real Oblivion.

With this I declare Ravensword: The Fallen King officially touched!

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App Summary
Title:Ravensword: The Fallen KingDeveloper:Crescent Moon Games / Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:2.2.1
Price:$6.99App Size:65.6 MB
  • Huge open world to explore
  • Amazing graphics and 3D sound
  • Main storyline worth 6-8 hours of gameplay with even more in sidequests
  • No character customization
  • Limited inventory with no stats
  • No minimap

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TMA is a haven for RPG junkies – go ahead, we don’t hide the evidence. Also be sure to look at our App Store RPG compendium: The App Store’s Best RPG which compares some of the best games in the genre for the iDevice.

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