Realms of Ancient War takes place in a land which was once ruled by four kings. These kings head the four lands of the world, but something goes wrong and the kings are removed from power. Which then leads to the world falling. You then find your way into a world from your dreams that leads you to one of the fallen kings who takes your body form to restore the world. Even though you’re drawn to the King of the North to help restore the various portals, you find that there is far more to your quest than you first thought.
As you start out you find yourself in one of three starting areas which varies depending on the character you choose to play as. You then make your way to a portal which leads you to the King of the North. From here you then need to progress through the segregated parts of the world connecting the four lands. At first the game starts out as a fairly general hack and slash, but it soon takes a turn for the worst where you have to restore order to the land.
Even though this is a hack and slash title, it has very strong connections to the RPG genre with it’s leveling system, NPC quest lines and character progression trees. You can tailor your character to the build you want, though you will need to pick and starting build by the character type you choose. So how does the Realms of War face up to the genre and title it calls it’s self?
As you start out, you may not hear very much from the audio, but it’s there. The world does start out very quiet with mostly ambient sounds of sword, bows and magic from your character and drones from enemies dying. Each area, just like the graphics has it’s own soundtrack ties everything together. The audio is very clear and complements the game perfectly.
The audio design behind this title has been put together carefully, though I would have liked to see a bit more. The cut-scenes are good example. They have a high quality animated art style with fitting narration. This is something that should have been throughout the whole game with various NPCs you meet and interact with. This would have given far more life to the world instead of having to read subtitles with every interaction.
The visuals are another highlight that R.A.W has to offer. Everything stands out and has it’s own unique look, as well as a believable world. The world isn’t open, nor is extremely big, but the attention to detail and crafting has been done extremely well. Each area has it’s own look and feel, which also has it’s own enemies. So once you enter a desert, snow filled mountain or forest all enemies and visuals fit together perfectly.
All the visuals are crisp, clear and have their own style. But there are times where if you have large amounts of enemies on the screen you will see drops in the frame rate. This is a rare occurrence, but when it happens it’s extremely irritating as it’s usually at times when you need to move quickly to avoid death.
The game does really speak for it’s self on the graphics and visuals, but there are points where you will find some areas look bland or lack some of the creative design that you may see in other areas of the game.
To begin with the story starts out fairly general, it explains what’s going on currently, and that your help is needed to restore the land. There is quite a lot of dialog throughout the game, but you will find yourself reading more than listening to audio or watching cut-scenes. This isn’t always a bad thing, but there are times when important information to do with your quest is explained over the top of you fighting a large group of enemies. So if you’re not able to multitask while mashing buttons while reading at the same time, you may miss the odd snippet of information.
There are also side quests which have their own little stories, but they’re rather short and don’t really have much too them. It would have been nice to see a bit more to these quests as they have potential to expand the game and give the world a bit more life outside of the main story.
The general gameplay mechanics consist of picking up loot, hacking away and large groups of enemies and progressing through various checkpoints in the world. You have three classes to choose from, each with their own powers, strength and weaknesses. You also have a slightly different back story behind each character, so everything starts out a little different.
As you would expect with any hack and slash RPG style game, you have a leveling system, abilities, and character progression with loot and weapons thrown into the mix. As you level up, you can unlock new character traits as well as find and buy new armor and weapons to butcher your foes with.
Apart from the three classes playing slightly differently, you will find yourself doing the same thing with each area you enter, sweep the area, kill the enemies and collect the loot while looking for the doorway to progress. You will find that each area has some rather interesting visuals, which compliment each part of the world, but you will find yourself doing the same things. You will find the move powerful move sets, then continue to find ways to kill the enemies as fast as you can. Or if you’re like me, run past large groups of enemies to explore the area further otherwise you will find yourself standing the same spot for 10 minutes trying to reach the next small area.
There is a co-op side where you can have two friends join your efforts, but there only seems to be local co-op. So if you’re looking to play this online with your friends, think again. The co-op experience breathes new light into the game and makes it far more interesting, but with today’s online networks, there’s no reason not to able to play online with your friends.
Once you reach the half way mark, you may be wondering why you’re still playing. At this point you would have experienced everything the game has to offer, as well as having to backtrack through the whole game to reach the end. The experience is solid enough, thought this game does suffer from what a lot of hack and slash games are plagued with. Repetitive gameplay that makes up 90% of the action.
The game’s world is extremely detailed, even though it is linear, but you will end up fighting a lot of the same enemies. You will have to also deal with endless amounts enemies spawning behind you while collecting loot. This isn’t always a bad thing, but when you’re trying to give yourself some space between fights, you can end up spawning extra enemies which will just corner you and make awkward fights more frustrating.
Wizarbox have made a fairly solid game, but it really needs some work and expansion to make it really worth the high price tag. The game offers so much potential, but it falls short in too many areas to make it a a must own title. I highly recommend trying the demo, but if you’re looking for a gun action filled adventure to play with your friends, you may want to pass on this title.