Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: R.A.W. Realms of Ancient War

Money's been tight lately, really tight. Life has been difficult and stressful and my health has been utter crap. Given these things when I'm looking at games these days I want cheap, fun, easy. I want to kick ass and take names in a way I can't in my everyday life and I wanna do it with minimal stress, difficulty or money.
WTF does this have to do with anything? I dunno, just felt like sharing.

That being said, last week I was looking at the sales on Steam and saw the Sherlock Holmes collection on sale... 6 games $8.74..WOOT! and also some game I've never heard of named Realms of Ancient War for a little over $11.

Action, RPG, ooh Wizard! controller enabled! (I suck at Kb/m) So I read the description...and it was...well where the hell was it? its like 2 damn sentences. Its got some bullet points, something about explosive action blah blah blah. Oh look something about controlling enemies real details. That didnt help much. I went and looked up got panned. Somewhere around a 5 or so. But I tend to like the shit everyone says sucks so, that wasnt telling me anything.
Finally I watched the trailer and it looked like Diablo 3 kinda, and kinda like Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance and I enjoyed both of those so I figured, sure, why the hell not.
I picked it up along with the Sherlock Holmes collection and installed it and figured it would probably sit there unplayed with he other 600 games til hell freezes over.

But a few days later a bad day and some curiosity led me to start it. I played about 4 1/2 hours that day and only stopped because my head was pounding. A couple days later I fired it up again and finished it.

Its not a very long game, maybe 10 hours? I don't know, I paused a lot to deal with stuff at home. But even still it manages to feel meaty enough. The game is 25 chapters long with an interesting beginning story and a good satisfying ending, though I couldn't help but feel like while I didn't know the mechanics of HOW it would play out, I had a good inkling of how it would work out, if that makes sense.

You get a choice of 3 standard fantasy characters: Big Burly Barbarian, Evil-Looking Pointy Armoured Wizard with spooky glowy eyes and Half-Naked Elf Rogue Chick.  Not being the burly type and not wanting to be a friggin elf for the bajillionth time combined with my love of fireballs led to me being the Wizard.

I really don't know jack about my character beyond he's a wizard, he carries a book and a crystal ball and he claims to be looking for some sort of artifact. That's it. That's all you get to know about your character. They are looking for a random Macguffin.

So I flung fireballs and force pushed skeletons and picked up rainbow named and colored loot. I gathered enough unnecessary mana potions to fill an olympic swimming pool because my spells didnt take much to cast them and that fireball basic spell can take you through the entire game. There were plenty of skills to choose from, its just that none of them really worked as well as my started set levelled up. Fireballs, force push and  toxic cloud are all you need, maybe a healing spell if you get a little nervous about your health.

And there's one thing I didn't like at first, though by the midway point it no longer mattered. The game has an odd "lives" system. You start with 3 gems called "soul stones" if you are killed you will respawn at the last checkpoint you came across, til you run out of soul stones. Lose all soul stones and its game over. Reload after a game over and you have to redo the entire chapter, even if you were at the last checkpoint when you died. But as I said, that stopped mattering after a while. You get 3 soul stones at the beginning of each chapter with a cap of 9 stones. I ran out of stones at the very beginning thanks to a douchey spider spitting poison once. After that I always had a full set of soul stones and I rarely ended up needing one.

The locations, enemies, etc. are fairly varied and fairly good looking. I'm not the best person to ask about graphics, they don't matter much to me unless its an absolute eyesore. But this game  was pleasant enough to look at. It very much looked like the old PS2 games I loved, both Dark Alliance games, Norrath, Gauntlet.
The story itself is told with voice overs and drawings. The voice-work is good and the drawings quite nice, I especially loved the look of the Elf King. The story is pretty linear and the side quests are minimal.
While the story is linear there is some backtracking and such and sometimes the lack of a minimap can be a pain in the ass, you do have a waypoint arrow but its vague at best. So I had moments of annoyance as i tried to figure out what the hell i missed in order to get door A to open when the waypoint arrow only kept pointing at said door when the person I needed was on the other side of the map.

The game also has a bad habit of suddenly sending out hordes of little jumpy minions that keep spawning out of the ground around you, mobbing you. Something that my poor Wizard couldn't stand up to early on in the game, after all as a wizard he was suitably squishy despite the bitchin' spike armour.

I feel there's something else I'm forgetting...I distract easy..look shiny!
Oh sorry, there was this like glitter thing on the ground and the sun hit it and...well that's not important right now...
I might have forgotten something and I'll probably think of it after I post this so I'll update it if it comes to me (chances are it will wake me up at 3am).

For now know that its a fun little hack n slash. Not deep, not difficult but enjoyable and very pick up and play. Well worth its non-sale price of $15.
You KNOW me, and my track record with buying, playing, finishing games. For me to buy it, play it and finish it all in the same week, its worth a look at.

Oh oh OH! I remember now!!!

the bulletpoints said that you could take over enemies! Yes! you can! and i forgot because honestly, its a footnote, something you are required to do exactly ONCE and after that it is optional. I did it a few times just for shits and giggles but really, its nothing deeper than a fun trick to do once in a while. Basically sometimes there will be some  BIG enemies, trolls, ents, giant spiders and the like. When a yellow circle is visible under them you can press a button and take over their movements causing them to wreak havoc among their little minions. If you play your cards right you'll kill all their little friends and their little friends will damage him so much you ride him to death. When the enemy dies you get booted back to your own body again. Its fun enough but, its sometimes easier just to go in there and fight than it is to wade through the smaller enemies to control the bigger one. The big ones arent that hard to take out anyway.

minor footnote...the game does have co-op, but its only local co-op which kinda sucks cause a friend had bought the game as well in hopes we could play together but so such luck.

So as usual, I'll leave you with a trailer for your enjoyment and I DEMAND! (in the nicest possible way, please) that you give the game a try if hack n slash is your thing.


Robert Nocturne said...

good review, pretty spot on :)
still bummed about that coop mode though.

Sihaya Atreides said...

Yeah, that would have made this game perfect. you know I don't like competitive MP but I love co-op