Inspired by games like the Diablo franchise or Torchlight, Realms of Ancient War is an old school hack and slash dungeon crawler with very limited depth and breadth that is hard to overlook even tough it isn't a triple-A title. The story in the game is not the worst we've seen so far, in all honesty it's fairly interesting and one of the stronger points of the game. The game starts years after the so called Ancient War which divided the land to 4 territories (East, West, South and North...duh, imagination at it's best). The Northern King proposed truce so he invited the remaining kings to the Hero's Garden. Something went wrong because the Northern King was never to be seen again and the rest of the kings became soulless zombies. Yes, clichés after clichés, but it's not all that bad. The game contains some witty dialogues and turns.
We can pick from 3 unnamed characters: wizard, warrior and rogue. Each have different styles but they aren't that different that any would change the gameplay significantly. Each class has it's own skill tree, where you can level up your attacks. There are 1 level and 3 level skills. Skills open up gradually. The first group right after the beginning of the game, the second after you reach lvl 10, the last after lvl 20. However, there are two problems related to your skill management. First, in every stage you can gain exactly one level. No matter how much you fight or how many side quest (there aren't that many) you complete. You can only get 1 skill point in each stage. That makes the whole level grinding procedure useless and dropping all the challenge. You will get your skill point no matter what.
The second problem comes with the use of your skills. You have only 4 skills at your use at a given time. Two of them are to be activated with the mouse and two with keystrokes on the keyboard. You can program these skills to the aforementioned buttons. If you want to use other skills you have to use the alternative set. Essentially you have 2 sets of skills, which can be changed at any time with a button push. Easy enough, in theory at least. Practice is a different beast. Remembering which skill you have assigned to which button in which set is pointless, painful and horrible. When a dozens of foes are attacking you there is no way this system can be use properly. Using this method is understandable on consoles where there are limited buttons to use, but on a PC it's unacceptable. This is where you realize that 4 skills/attacks are well enough to complete the game.
At least the fighting and hack'n slashing is exciting. You are continuously attacked by tens of enemies, making the game challenging and intense. Sometimes it is hard to hit smaller enemies, like spiders which live everywhere, rain forests or volcanoes it doesn't matter for them. Graphically the game doesn't excel, but it's not bad either. For an XBLA title it's passable. Not are the audio tracks though. Audio effects are horrible and repeating. Listening to the same 3 grindings throughout 8-10 hours when you hit enemies is annoying. The music is on par with the rest of the audio. You get one passable song which plays when you start the game, the rest of the music tracks during gameplay are just pointless burrs.
R.A.W. is a below average hack and slash game that tries to build upon it's great predecessors of the genre but fails in every possible way. It's chaotic, mediocre and boring. A game that is hard to recommend when you can get a dozen of it's kind cheaper (or even for free). If you can finish it once there is no point starting the game ever again.
Rating: 45/100; Replay Value: 1/5; To Beat: 8-9 hours; Played on: normal.
Posted: November 3rd, 2013