Ravensword: Shadowlands review

            

After being in development for over two years, the expectations for Ravensword: Shadowlands are understandably high. Is this longly anticipated title the mobile RPG of the year?

Although that question is not so easy to answer, one thing is sure – this is one of the most content-filled games that ever ran on any mobile device. The sheer number of quests, activities, spells, weapons, armors and other items is on pair with most console titles and Ravensword: Shadowlands provides enough content to keep you occupied for a really long time. The question is, will you have the nerves to play through all of it? But, first things first.

The graphical aspect of the game is as impressive as it was initially announced. Even though the game is playable on an iPhone 4, it really is a shame to not see it in its full glory on an iPhone 5 or the new iPad. Detailed characters and textures, beautiful lighting effects, huge draw distance, diverse landscape and smooth animations worthy of a handheld console makes this one one of the most graphically-impressive mobile games of 2012. Of course, everything is not perfect and this huge world came to life at the expense of some graphical glitches, pop-up and occasional performance issues, but what Crescent Moon Games managed to accomplish with Ravensword: Shadowlands is still commendable. The sound effects are solid and although voice acting is not completely consistent, it’s usually good and quite believable. The game’s soundtrack is fantastic and Sean Beeson deserves at least an honorary mention for the work he did.

 The controls are intuitive and simple to get used to. Virtual joystick for movement appears wherever you touch the left side of the screen and there are only four buttons on the right – the attack, jump, cast and the button for changing player’s perspective. There’s also an optional hotbar on the bottom on the screen and even though it doesn’t sound as much, every action you need to perform is very doable with this layout. Blocking is done by holding the attack button and the quick tapping of the jump button while strafing will result in a dodge. The inventory system is a little chaotic, but since you’ll sell most of the stuff you’re carrying anyway every chance you get, the situations in which you’ll have a bunch of different items with you won’t happen too often.

The character-building system is a combination between the classical RPG “earn experience to level-up” and The Elder Scrolls’  “practice makes perfect” systems. You won’t be able to build an ultimate jack-of-all-trades during one playthrough, so the game is worth replaying at least once. The game also features a fatigue system similar to earlier Elder Scrolls’ titles: when tired, your character’s actions will be extremely slow and you’ll be forced to either replenish your energy or run from combat.

Unfortunately, Ravensword: Shadowlands suffers from some broken quests. It’s not a big deal, but we hope that the developer already has an update on the way because it diminishes the experience. Also, even though the amount of side-quests is impressive, a lot of them feel half-baked and are identical to one another. Sure, the same can be said for a lot of of other RPG’s on every platform, but that still doesn’t make the fact that the game’s side-quests are repetitive right. Other than that, the game’s story is pretty unremarkable and naive. On a more brighter note, enemies and environments are incredibly diverse and you’ll never get tired of the game’s setting.

Ravensword: Shadowlands is a very ambitious game, so it’s understandable that it’s not perfectly polished. Most of the things that are wrong with this game can (and probably will) be fixed with a few simple updates, but the things that work well, make this game the role model for every future mobile open-world mobile RPG and that’s the way we’re going to remember it. Although it doesn’t hide its own role models (especially The Elder Scrolls series), Ravensword: Shadowlands is simply put – impressive. So, if you’re looking for a great mobile RPG, look no further.

Graphics: 9 - beautiful and huge world came to life at the expense of some graphical glitches and minor performance issues

Sound: 9 - quality sound effects and voice acting, epic soundtrack

Gameplay: 8 - bugs and repetetive side-quests diminish the whole experience, but this game is still fun to play

Duration: 9.5 - huge amount of quests and other content, although you probably won’t play through all of it

Score: 9 - Ravensword: Shadowlands is not without its flaws, but it’s a fantastic open world RPG nonetheless

 

Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Crescent Moon Games
Release Date: December 20, 2012 (iOS), March 21, 2013 (Android)
Platform: iOS, Android (coming Q1 2013)
Price: $6.99

Explication:
The game score is not an average of other rated elements (since not all of them are equally important), just the reviewer’s overall opinion of the game.