Realm of Ancient War or also called as R.A.W is a multi-platform top-down action role-playing game arcade game that is downloadable on PSN, XBLA and is going to be released on PC on October 4th. R.A.W is a pretty standard ARPG, the game takes place in the medieval time with Elves, Dwarves and Men. The game aims to be old-school ARPG, it sounds good on paper but is executed poorly as you will find out through this review.
The Gameplay and the Feel
R.A.W’s gameplay is pretty straight-forward, you start the the campaign by picking your difficulty setting and then you choose one of the three available classes. You have a Rogue that uses bows and daggers, Warrior that dual wields and a Wizard that uses magic to slay his foes. Once you pick a class your taken to a world map that acts as a hub for the levels, as you progress you can go back to earlier missions if you wish, each class is tied to their own campaign. As you progress within missions you will come across checkpoints that save your progress within the mission if you get killed. However, if you lose all of your soulstones ( lives ) you will be forced to restart the mission and you will lose everything including the level progression, loot, experience and gold. It’s very easy to die in this game because half the time you are pitted against hordes of monsters that surround you completely and it’s almost impossible to get out unless your stocked up on bunch of potions as you’re trying to fight your way out.
The leveling in the game is standard as most RPGs, you kill to gain experience and complete side quests within levels to accumulate more. There are 20 levels to go through, as you get more powerful you gain skill points that you can place in your talent tree in abilities that you like. The combat in R.A.W feels a bit stale and boring, very basic animations, sounds are really standard and it does not feel engaging when you fight enemies. There are a lot of bugs with the enemies, some of them end up running circles repeatedly, others run into a wall until killed and some are just stuck in one place. The combat sounds are horrible, when I hit an enemy with my sword it sounds super generic, same goes for the bow and daggers with my rogue. Also, there is no combat theme or anything of that sort, it’s always playing the ambient music in the background throughout every mission. The enemies are also generic, almost every single mission has small spiders that act like a poster child for the game, the character models don’t look that good either compared to the environments.
The navigation is game is non-existent, there is no maps that you can look at too see where you are or where you’re going. Every mission is linear in it’s path but there are times where you can explore certain areas and get off-track and it’s hard to find your way around the mission. Developers decided that they don’t need navigation for this game and leave their players in the dust. The only thing that you can do is press the left analog stick that pops an arrow that shows you where you supposed to go but that’s not nearly enough because it’s still confusing and it points towards a wall instead of acting as a in-game GPS.
As you play the missions you will come across merchants that you can sell your unnecessary items too, most of the items that you get in the game are vendor items, other times you do get useful stuff just really depends how lucky you get like most RPGs. Considering that this is a short game 5-6 hours a campaign, it’s quite easy to hoard a bunch of gold by selling junk and buying good gear towards the end of the game. There is no crafting or any special end-game systems, it’s just 20 levels of pure killing and questing. After that you can jump on other classes to complete a campaign with them for the achievements. You can also play the campaign with a friend of yours if you like, however, you cannot play co-op online which is a huge letdown.
The controls in the game are surprisingly good, you use your left and right trigger to consume potions and map your skills on the X, B, Y, A buttons. It felt natural right of the bat, comfortable and easy to control. Press select to bring up the pause menu where you can go to options, or quit to the main menu.
R.A.W tries to capture the old-school feel and it does, but it’s quality and production values really bring it down. There are too many issues with the game that just don’t justify the $15 purchase. If this game was $5 then it would of been a great buy, but when you pay $15 and the game just doesn’t feel engaging in it’s combat or overall immersion, then it’s just not worth it. I think the developers had a good base going with this game, but they needed to spend much more time the overall development. If there is ever a sequel then hopefully Wizarbox will decide to improve upon every aspect of this game.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Environments look decent, the game does capture the old-school ARPG feel, controls are excellent
The overall combat feels stales, the are no combat sounds, music is always ambient, it's very easy to die and lose all your entire progress during a mission, $15 does not justify the purchase, character models look like they came out of last generation, enemies are unispiring, co-op is offline