Ravensword is out, and it’s awesome. You’ve seen the video, read about it’s rejection, maybe even heard about our interview, but now it’s finally out and you get to wrap your greedy fingers around your phone and dive into the world of Ravensword yourself. Well today I’m going to review the game and hook you up with a game guide from the developers to help you navigate through your new adventure (at the bottom of the page). So go get your cutlass and buckler, make those adjustments to your codpiece, sit down, and read on.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Ravensword follows in the footsteps of such open RPG’s as Morrowind, Fable, or even Zelda. The game certainly follows the same principals of an open styled sandbox where you can explore and do pretty much whatever you want. Some areas are closed off until you get keys or whatever you need to get in, but overall the game has the same feel. When the game starts your start out with the traditional amnesia story waking up with a pretty girl explaining where you are and what you can do. Your first mission is to go downstairs and talk to Donald for some work.
Movement is achieved by using a movement stick on the left, then swiping your finger anywhere on the right to look around. You can also use two fingers to turn faster. To attack you can just hack away with the attack button or tap the target to lock on keeping you facing him while you strafe to dodge and stab away. If you double tap on enemies you can see detailed specs on your attacker like hit points, attack, etc. You also have a choice of third person or first person views. I imagine this is not just for user preference but will also help older devices keep up with the graphics of the game. Although it runs buttery smooth on my iPhone 3G you also have options to turn off shadows, or foliage to lighten the CPU load.
Enough about the game mechanics, let’s talk about what makes this game good. The first thing I was impressed with in this game was how funny it was. The developers are clearly RPG lovers and, of course, start you out on your first quest killing rats. This is where you get your insight into the developers twisted sense of humor. Instead of killing rats to save the village from evil, you kill them for Donald, owner of “Rat Donalds” as the main ingredients for his middle-aged fast food business. I also found myself laughing throughout the game as I talked to villages, and read item descriptions. Check out this great line from the description of the dagger: “A short, sharp bit of steel with a handle, for when you’re feeling stabby.” This sense of humor translates into the game world itself and it really makes for a very fun experience. Instead of taking yourself too seriously you feel at liberty to goof off a little and really explore and experience the world.
I was also impressed with the graphics. The colors are great, and the motion and textures are great. Nothing is super high rez or anything but for the platform the graphics in Ravensword are truly stunning. I also love the detail int he 2d graphics like the buttons, items, and menus, everything looks really good. One pet peeve of mine is when RPG’s don’t bother to reflect your new armor or weapon on your character. Fortunately in Ravensowrd as you level up and get more gear you will look cooler as you go along.
Unlike some other RPG’s on the iPhone it’s clear this was built from the ground up for the iPhone. For example you never have to worry about saving, just hit the home button wherever you are, and when you open the game again there you are, exactly where you left off. The loading is very minimal and everything just works amazingly well. Even the controls fit the device extremely well.
The last thing I like about the game is the length. Ravensword provides 6-8 hours of gameplay for the main quest and lots of side quests. Considering the price and the platform you really get a lot of value in this title. It feels like a good length for the iPhone not too much, not too little.
I love the controls they came up with for Ravensword, but after playing Elimintate I realize it would probably work better if I could increase the the look sensitivity a bit more. Mine is all the way up and I feel like it’s still not quite as sensitive as it should be. This is a minor annoyance and something that could be easily fixed in a future update.
One thing I think a lot of people might think is a negative is the lack of character customization or even classes to choose from. I have to admit at first I thought this would be a problem, but after getting into the game I don’t find it to be a problem at all. Like Legend of Zelda I don’t have to worry about skill allocations or the size and color of my face, all that has been worked out by the story and you just get to go along for the ride. Each level up you are told how much your stats increase, but you have no control over where those stats are allocated. Although I find this liberating in a way I can see where some may find this to be a negative.
Even though the graphics and engine are really good the physics and movements could use a little more refinement. For example, if you try to jump a fence that is too tall you will hover in mid-air until you turn away from the fence and can drop back down. Sometimes fighting also feels a bit awkward. It works, but it just doesn’t seem as polished as it could be.
The Bottom Line
Ravensword is the funnest RPG I have played on the iPhone, the graphics are great, and the story is as interesting as it is hilarious, you will have a good time playing this game. Ravensword earns our Editor’s Choice award and will be a contender for game of the year.
BONUS!! We have acquired a walk-though for Ravensword. This will take you through the main story line to the end of the game. Click here to view. Remember however, that much of the game is just exploring there are places the story doesn’t take you that has awesome items to collect.
P.S. I know funnest isn’t a word, but I’m using it anyway dammit.