Amidst a string of AAA megatons, there’s also plenty of relatively smaller-scale games coming out over the coming weeks and months that have caught our eye, and one in particular that has piqued our interest is Ravenbound. Systemic Reaction’s roguelite title has looked promising in what’s been shown of it so far, and at the end of this month, it will become available to players with its launch. Ahead of its release, then, here, we’re going to take a look at a few key details that you should know about the game.
Ravenbound is set in the fantasy world of Avalt, and as you may have guessed, it’s a world that is rife with conflict and brewing troubles. It lies in the constant shadow of the Betrayer, though a weapon could be used to defeat it and restore peace and order to the world. That weapon is known as the Raven and was hidden away in the bodies of many warriors known as Vessels- which is what you’ll be playing the game as. While death is part of progress in Ravenbound, your ultimate goal is to ensure the rise of a Vessel that’s powerful enough to use the Raven to fulfil its duty and defeat the Betrayer.
Ravenbound is taking quite a unique approach to its structure, in that not only is it a fully open world game, it’s also a roguelite. Players will, of course, have the option to explore the world freely and head in any direction they want, but each run will also bring with it plenty of randomization elements. That means the world will be constantly changing, and everything from its locations to the enemies you will fight and the challenges you will face will be different across every run. What sort of a balance will the game strike between hand crafted design and randomization? That remains to be seen, though it’s an interesting concept nonetheless.
OPEN WORLD DETAILS
Where the open world side of things is concerned, developer Systemic Reaction is promising a vast fantasy land that will present players with plenty of opportunity for exploration, though it remains to be seen what sort of variety it will exhibit in its environments. From what we’ve seen so far, the world of Avalt will boast grasslands, towering mountains, snow covered regions, marshlands, forests, and more, all of which, according to the developer, is inspired by Scandinavian folklore. Meanwhile, not only will players have the option to explore the open world on foot, you’ll also be able to fly across it in the form of a raven.
What exactly can players expect from Ravenbound where its combat is concerned? According to Systemic Reaction, the game is built around a fast and tactical combat system. Equipped with weapons that are imbued with magical properties, players will, of course, be tasked with dealing out deadly damage through their own attacks, but apparently, it will be just as important to pay close attention to your enemies’ movements and attacks and pick the right time to dodge their incoming blows. Of course, the way your character powers up and the abilities you unlock will also change up the moment to moment experience in various ways- more on that in a bit.
Systemic Reaction is describing the world of Avalt as a beautiful yet deadly fantasy land, which, of course, means you’ll be squaring off against plenty of dangerous enemies as you traverse the map. Like the world itself, the enemies you face will also be inspired by Scandinavian folklore. According to the developer, players will be locking horns with creatures like trolls, Huldras, undead draugr, and more. Enemy variety can be a crucial aspect of the experience in any game, more so in roguelite titles than most other, so hopefully Ravenbound will have plenty of enemy types in its locker to throw at players.
Ravenbound is, of course, a roguelite game, which means dying time and time again is going to be baked into the core experience. The central loop of the game revolves around building up the Raven’s power to the point where it can fulfil its ultimate purpose, which means you’ll be sacrificing plenty of Vessels along the way. Each run will see you playing as a different Vessel, and once the Vessel dies, they’ll be gone forever, which means you’ll be moving on to the next one. That said, that doesn’t mean your progress will reset completely every time. Speaking of which…
Finding the right balance when it comes to permanent progression can be tricky for roguelite experiences, and Ravenbound seems to be going about it in quite an interesting way. Its progression system revolves primarily around cards and a deck building feature. Cards will grant various bonuses, including the likes of new character classes, improved armour, more powerful weapons, relics to enhance your abilities, and more. Each time a Vessel dies, you’ll pick new cards to equip your next Vessel with, while you’ll also get access to new cards during every run itself, some of which you’ll be able to find in the world itself, while others you’ll happen across by chance. Building the right build and equipping your Vessel with the right deck for the run will be crucial to making progress in Ravenbound.
LAUNCHING FOR PC ONLY
Interestingly enough, Systemic Reaction has confirmed that when Ravenbound launches on March 30, it will be available only for PC. There’s no word yet on when or if console versions can be expected, but one would assume that at some point down the line, the game will be headed to additional platforms. Systemic Reacton’s previous game, Second Extinction, originally only launched for PC in early access, before also coming to Xbox consoles via Xbox Game Preview, so there’s a chance that Ravenbound ends up following a similar path (though nothing along those lines has been confirmed just yet).
When Ravenbound does launch for PC later this month, it won’t require a particularly beefy rig for you to be able to play it. On minimum system requirements, the game will need either an Intel i5 6400 or an AMD Ryzen 5 1600, along with either an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 4 GB or an AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4 GB, and 8 GB of RAM. Meanwhile, on recommended system settings, the requirements do get cranked up a little bit, with the game needing either an Intel Core i7 4770 or an AMD Ryzen 5 1600X, along with either an Nvidia GTX 1070 8 GB or an AMD Vega 56 8 GB, and 16 GB of RAM. On either setting, you’ll also need DirectX 12 and 25 GB of free storage space.
As you may have guessed, Ravenbound isn’t going to be a full priced title when it releases for PC. Upon its launch, it will be available for $29.99. Given the fact that publishers are raising their games’ prices one after another these days, a game launching for a relatively lower price point is certainly a bonus.
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