Ravensword: Shadowlands Android Review
Simply, wow! At first glance Ravensword: Shadowlands appears to be Skyrim for your phone. While not on the same level as Skyrim or Oblivion, this game fills a much needed hole in the Android gaming market as a terrific open world RPG. Created by Crescent Moon Games, Ravensword: Shadowlands is the follow up the Ravensword: The Fallen King which was released in 2009 on iOS. This company has release several successful games that are similar to Ravensword, namely Aralon: Sword and Shadow.
The visuals of this game are amazing, as is the scope. The map is huge for an android/ios app. Something I loved about this game was the variety of the environments. Locales include a large swamp, flowing plains, arctic and mountainous. The AI reacts decently, but it’s reminiscent of many Skyrim/Oblivion imitators. One feature I really wish the game had was a day/night cycle. It’s something Crescent Moons has done well recently with games like Aralon, and I found it surprising that they didn’t add this into this game. That said, considering this is an Android/ios game, it’s still pretty amazing and barely noticeable during the game play.
Something that is telling about this game, and is really an unfair knock on it, is that I feel like the player may find his or herself comparing it to console and PC titles that are similar. It isn’t on that level, but feels and looks very close, which may leave the player somewhat disappointed in the game. It is easily mistaken for a console game due to its stunning visuals. Keeping in mind that this is a $7 android game is important when judging it. If you keep that in mind, it’s a great value.
The world is beautiful and presents the gamer with numerous places to investigate, plenty of different enemies to defeat, decent sized cities and villages to travel to, a large open world, and a good storyline to follow. The game play is challenging and leveling up to defeat enemies doesn’t become overly redundant. It feels very much like an Elder Scrolls game in this way. There are side quests that the player can do to pass the time while leveling up, but the quests feel like they weren’t all that well thought out at times, and there really should be more of them. Still, given the scope and platform of this game, it is as good as it currently gets. Also, there are guilds to join that also present the player with guild specific side quests, which are fun and interesting at times.
The musical score doesn’t get on your nerves, and the sound effects are decent for an android game. The in game characters the player interacts respond believably, but not all scripts are voice acted. Morrowind is one of the closer comparisons.
About the only gripe I have about this game are the controls. They are decent and do what they need to, but do become frustrating at times. This is a common theme I have had for many Andriod/ios games, and seems to be something that android/ios players will just have to deal with for the foreseeable future. You’ll have the ability to scale up or down the sensitivity of the virtual directional sticks which does help, but still feels like it’s too slow for the game play at times. I need to clarify for everyone that this does not make the game unplayable by any means, just that it is the most frustrating core feature. The inventory screen is fairly easy to navigate, and item selection is easy as well. Ravensword: Shadowlands is also available for the Ouya for those of you who own it, and I think the game would be 100 times better on that system. Controller support would rectify the only real limit I felt. I played this game on my Galaxy S4, and loved every minute of it. I did not experience one single glitch or problem in over 20 plus hours of gaming.
Ravensword: Shadowlands doesn’t offer a new concept to gaming by a long shot, but the execution on an android ios device is amazing. The limitations of touch screen devices are the only devaluing part of this game. It works well, but occasionally can lead to death by giant. The textures and details of the visuals are jaw dropping. The story is solid, but not surprising or really all that inspired. The game could benefit from additional side quests and alternate plot lines. The game is very much story driven, which works well, but I would have liked to have seen more player driven character choices. This game is as close to perfect as it gets for android. That said there are a few things that could have been added that would’ve put it over the edge. I highly recommend this game.