So, Ravensword: Shadowlands is pretty much terrible - can you believe that? This game feels unfinished/unpolished and is exactly the kind of stuff that gives mobile games their bad name. Basically, it seems to be a pseudo-ElderScrolls rip-off with a slightly upgraded combatsystem (dodgerolls!). The problem is, it feels like a working alpha of something that they somehow never bothered with completing. I mean, the original Elder Scrolls: Arena had more going on than this - the plot is (even considering that the majority of fantasy RPGs have very bad stories) incredibly dull. Some big foozle wants to take over the lands from his shadowy demon-dimension... yadda-yadda. You are "the chosen one" who needs to find and wield some sort of legendary sword that can kill demons. As simplistic as this premise is, with a bit of lore here and there and some developed characters this still could have worked. The devs did not bother though, you hero has no personality whatsoever and the NPCs all have about 2 lines of dialogue - but aren't having any characteristics or personality either and only serve as generic placeholders, fulfilling a certain function like questgiver or vendor. And don't expect them to have some sort of "life" they will be frozen in place day and night, just waiting for you to interact with them in the most basic way imagainable. I have seen quite a bit of openworld-games that were lacking in the story/character-department - but this game is literally devoid of anything even remotely resembling "writing".
Unfortunately, that is only the tip of the iceberg - as the gameplay is just as underwhelming. If you manage to find a quest (you don't exactly see who is a questgiver and who is not, so you go running around town talking to everybody and feel like you will never get those minutes of wasted life back) you can go about getting X, killing X or talking to X. Which is hardly entertaining nor exciting especially when there is basically no motivation besides gold or XP. Questing as a whole feels utterly pointless (that is why I did about three missions in the entire game and simply didn't bother anymore). The mainquest isn't much better off, you basically run as far as you can to all four cardinal points, find a dungeon, get a stone and return.
The rest of the time you spend hacking and slaying various beasts and enjoying the scenery. But even here the game manages to fail, as the vast areas are strangely barren. Feeling a lot like early MMORPGs with mobs just sprinkled over the landscape without much rhyme or reason - then again, all the enemies either just stand around waiting to be killed or roam a very tiny area so it doesn't look too static when you can see them from far away. Which is another low-point - you spend way too much time running through empty areas, there is nothing happening and not much to explore despite the vastness of the maps.
If you finally manage to get locked into combat with one of the beasts it is mostly a "click 'em to death"-afair without much finesse. Sure, you can block, dodgeroll or cast some spells from magic runes - but there is no punch to any of that, no "gamefeel" whatsoever. And it is ultimately pointless as you will sooner or later be either dead because you get caught in a loop of weird hitstun (getting clobbered to death in the process) or dealing one-shots to all who oppose you.
As a game, it is a failure - horribly unfinished, at times feeling like a fangame or a mod to something. The only things I kind of enjoyed were the visuals and the music - which is overly dramatic considering that nothing really "epic" happens and suffers from the loops not being long enough, thus becoming somewhat repetitive. While the visuals, which are not exactly state of the art, have that early 2000-charme to them. Some of the monster-models are looking actually pretty cool and at times there are even nice details on creatures, like the saliva dripping from the jaws of some of the bigger dinosaurs you encounter. Some of the beasts you fight are pretty huge too, which was kinda fun and again reminded me of some olden MMORPG-shenanigans.
Finally, the UI is pretty bad - sorting stuff or selling items to vendors feels clunky. There is NO gamepad support, eventhough I think this game could work pretty good with a controller. And you just can tell from clicking around the status screens that this was ment to be on a touch-enabled screen, which is less than optimal on a machine that has proper input-technology attached to it.
I think it is worth a laugh or two if on sale, as it is hilariously crappy and underwhelming (and I actually did finish it!) but since you can get almost every other noteworthy and/or modern Openworld-RPG on PC here on Steam, there is NO reason to get this other than ♥♥♥♥♥ & giggles.
Posted: January 19th, 2014