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Review: Ravensword: The Fallen King - Plus Video

November 23, 2009



Ravensword: The Fallen King is one of the most highly anticipated, hugely hyped, and ambitious titles yet for the iPhone. Ravensword is a 3D open world Role Playing game attempted to be fashioned after console versions like Elder Scrolls. The game begins with a short cut scene presenting a mystery surrounding a small village where unknown creatures appear at night, villagers have gone missing, and the king has been absent for a few years. Your character wakes up completely unaware of his surroundings, and is told what happened and why he’s here. From this point you’re given missions and quests to play out the entire storyline. Ravensword_backpack


Ravensword’s main features revolve around bringing a deluxe 3D open world RPG to the iPhone. The game is said to have 6-8 hours of gameplay. A deluxe storyline is included that unfolds quest by quest. The included controls are nothing ground breaking, and are typical for the iPhone. There is a virtual stick in the bottom left, and an attack and jump button in the bottom right. You swipe across screen to move the camera, and swipe with two fingers for faster rotation. When upon an enemy you tap on it to lock on to focus all of your attacks on it. Tap when locked on to bring up enemy statistics. You can view your own stats as well as your collected items by tapping the backpack in the upper right. You can view the game as third or first person by tapping the upper left. Ravensword_orc

The Good

Ravensword is extremely well designed game beginning with a great storyline. The game is presented slowly, but with a nicely written overarching plot that unfolds well. The quests you’re given are easy to obtain, and progress the game well so you always know what you’re doing, and what it’s leading to. Visually it’s a masterpiece for the iPhone. The open world 3D rendered environment is great to behold, and runs smoothly throughout. The character building, and environment design is well done as are the character animations. The soundtrack included provides typical fantasy fare to put you right into the world. The sound effects of your character and the various enemies are basic and repetitive. Overall the sounds and visuals transport you to the fantasy world you’re playing in. Ravensword_troll After quite awhile once you finally make it into the game beyond the forest it starts to get more interesting. The action picks up, and once you’ve already invested that much time you’ll want to reach the conclusion. The combat system does get in the way, but you’ll want to soldier on. Some RPG specifics may be lacking, but the overall theme is here, and it’s done well. The quests are solid, the leveling system works well to guide the progress, and the enemies and fantasy storyline is spot on. There is no doubt that the two man team of Russ Menapace, Human Powered Games, and Josh Presseisen Crescent Moon Games, have done an outstanding job of bringing open world RPG to the iPhone. This is easily the best of it’s kind for the iPhone. The problem is that it’s just not genre breaking or even iPhone game breaking. Ravensword_sophie The controls are adequate, but nothing amazing. When you do complete a mission there is the homing amulet you can activate to get right back to town. Too bad there isn’t one to get right back to the point you died. The included save system does pick up in the exact location you left off which is absolutely necessary for an expansive portable title.

The Bad

Ravensword was so hyped, and was such an ambitious take that it created high expectations. Looking at the game in this light it has quite a few problems that really make it quite a disappointment. Where to begin with all of the problems? Ravensword_dungeon The main negative of this game is that it just lacks quality gameplay. The game progresses slowly at best, and takes quite awhile just to get into any solid action in the game. Overall you spend most of your time walking about the various environments. When you die in combat you’re taken back to the resting place the game begins at, and from there you have to trek all the way back to where you died which in most instances is a long way. The game feels like you’re given tasks or chores that are hassles, rather than objectives that are great experiences. There is really no fun to have in the game, and isn’t that what we buy a game for, to have a good time? There just isn’t much fun from endlessly walking through the open world to having to deal with a terrible combat system when you finally find some action. The combat system is ridiculous and graded as terrible at best. When you’re facing an enemy either rats, goblins, orcs, and way more it just doesn’t play well. When you come face to face you have to button mash the attack button to get any whacks in, and always have to be on the move, rarely leaving you in position to attack. Most of the combat makes it nearly impossible to get in an attack without the enemy getting a shot in as well. Ravensword_combat The controls are adequate, but not good enough to become transparent with use. As you play you constantly think about the awkwardness of the controls. Also not as big of a concern for me, but the game upgrades automatically rather than giving you the choice to upgrade your chosen attributes to a certain degree. The game is quite dry as you can complete everything, but you don’t feel anything doing it. Also it’s extremely challenging to maintain patience to get killing lesser opponents to upgrade your attributes enough to take on the tough enemies. Has it come to the point where we soldier on in “games”?

The Verdict

Ravensword: The Fallen King comes to the App Store presenting itself as though it would push the bounds of iPhone gaming. Sadly the game comes up short in the most important part of any game, gameplay. There is no doubt it’s designed supremely well with the 3D engine, sounds, and deluxe plot. Ravensword though lacks engaging and/or fun gameplay leaving you with just tasks to complete. The game is playable, and you can make it through the whole game, but it just isn’t a worthwhile experience. It’s no doubt the best RPG on the iPhone, but it isn’t ground breaking in any regard, and doesn’t reach a lager audience than just RPG fans. The game aims high, and comes up far shorter than I thought before I had a chance to play it. Ravensword: The Fallen King is worth considering for $6.99 depending on your love of RPG, or just wanting to have the best designed games even if it’s deficient in gameplay.

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