Ravensword:Shadowlands tries its hardest to change that perception, and manages to leave you breathless if you give the game a chance.
Tasked with the review of Ravensword: Shadowlands, I figured I would get a good chunk of playtime in, work through the story, then write up my thoughts. That simply just wasn’t possible due to the scope of this game.
Sure I could have just breezed through the game’s main quest lines, but that would be difficult for me. I have a bad habit folks, I get distracted by creating my own adventure in open-world games. Throw me in GTA and I go driving randomly to find nooks and crannies others may not. Put Skyrim on and I explore depths far away from my homelands just because I can. Ravensword was the same way, in that it encouraged me to play the game my way, not just following breadcrumbs to the next story zone.
Speaking of the story, after launching the game and loading for a bit, you are quickly brought up to speed during a narrated cutscene that gives you the general gist of the universe you are about to enter.
Magical War, races at each other’s throats,you have no idea who you are, typical fantasy fare. Then we get to the intro.
The game’s intro sequence is a stunning piece of game that quickly gets you simultaneously excited and adjusted to the game’s effective control scheme in the best way possible: Fighting off gigantic monsters. Meanwhile your allies are getting tossed aside like discarded rags and you have to save the day, this intro sequence really serves to grab your attention like that guy screaming about his imaginary iguana -which he claims is the real president- when you ride bus every Thursday.
The difference is, rather than getting hit by a disturbed individual’s wildly gesticulating appendages, you are treated to an exciting adventure that is deeper than anyone could have anticipated.
Once you complete the intro you have an opportunity to customize your character, then are tasked with various quests to meet and greet with others. After that, the game is up to you.
I did a decent portion of the main quest but quickly veered off to test out my newly-designed character. I hunted down rats and other random animals to get used to the combat system and I suddenly discovered I had an inventory full of rat guts and had leveled up a couple of times. Apparently time just flew by without me even noticing.
As you play through the game you get points to distribute and focus your character’s skills. Want to be a long-distance archer? go for it. Hand-to-hand armored scrapper chick? You got it! How about a spell-slinging mage of the mystic arts? That’s here too!
The customization options are well thought out and considerably deeper than I expected. Leveling up skills and attributes is not so much a chore, but just something that happens. This means you get to play your way and your character’s skills and abilities will reflect your gameplay style. New equipment and armor show clearly on your character, which always has been important to me personally,
The influences from games like Skyrim and Morrowind are clear from the get-go and while you may be disappointed you can’t steal the silverware and sell it at the smithy as you can in most free roaming console RPGs, the amount you are able to do is simply astounding. I never felt like I was shoehorned into a small quest-focused world, but instead I felt like I could explore for days and be rewarded for my curiosity.
The game is not without flaw, I ran into a few glitches regarding items and monsters not really being sure where they should be, or if they should clip through you than behave normally, but they were infrequent enough that it wasn’t a major issue on my part.
The other negative I can find with this game is that the loading times tend to be on the very long side. Sometimes 30 seconds, sometimes loading for over a minute before cutting to the adventure
Otherwise this game is the perfect remedy for those jonesin’ for a console-quality open-world RPG but can’t get to a console or PC.
Whenever someone complains about the only games that are played on mobile devices are “casuals”, give them your device for a bit and let them experience Ravensword:Shadowlands for themselves.
Just make sure you get it back from them, since once Ravensword:Shadowlands sinks its hooks into some people, they might not want to give it back.