R.A.W.: Realms of Ancient War: Hack, slash, repeat

October 9, 2012

I like hack-and-slash games that throw me right into the action. I’m also a sucker for a nice medieval setting with a touch of fantasy. Just from the looks of it and gameplay previews I’ve seen, it looked like R.A.W.: Realms of Ancient War would be another decent Diablo clone.

I was wrong.

The story starts off as something I’ve heard before in possibly another game or movie I’ve watched. The elves, dwarves and humans once lived in peace, in a land that oddly represents the elements in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The four lands were at war for decades. Looking for a chance at peace, the kings from each land came together and tried to work out a way to stop the war. Unsuccessfully. The Northern King was never to be seen again, and the remaining kings returned to their homes beaten, injured and silenced. This is where the player comes in. You have a choice between three classes: the warrior, the rogue, and the mage.

The gameplay just feels really uninspired. It runs like your typical hack-and-slash game, but your options for fighting are extremely limited. (I decided to run with the warrior.) Right of the bat, there is no world map, nor even a mini-map you could use to find your way around. This is compensated for, however, with an arrow that points you in the right direction whenever you activate it. Moving the camera around to get a better vantage point in your fights isn’t an option either.

I found myself just mashing the same button over and over again, fighting the same mobs… over and over again. Worse than fighting the same mob multiple times is that I couldn’t even dodge, roll out of the way or even block. In other words, I literally had to take everything that was being thrown at me.

R.A.W. uses a life system. You start the game with three lives, and you revive at checkpoints if you die.  At any given point, you can only have nine lives. It almost seems like this game forces co-op on you since your teammate has five seconds to save you before you do. When you die, however, you lose everything and you’re forced to start back at the beginning of the game.

This would be worth it if there was anything worth actually grinding for in this game. There’s no stat customization in this game, and you only have abilities to customize. Each time you level up, you earn a skill point you could use to increase your abilities. The experience also doesn’t really come at an even pace. You could face a mob of a hundred spiders and gain almost nothing, or face one decently powerful enemy and gain half a bar. Grinding just felt tedious, if anything.

For the most part, I didn’t find many things redeeming about R.A.W.: Realms of Ancient War. It sports a boring fighting/customization system with no rewards, a punishing life system unless you’re playing co-op and a rather weak visuals to boot. At $15, it’s hard to justify a purchase for a game with no real selling point.

Pros: The setting is nice
Cons: Terrible life system, inability to do anything but attack

Score: 1/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.