I needed to love Ravenbound. A 3D open-world rogue-lite based mostly on Scandinavian folklore, a descendant system like Rogue Legacy – from the very outset, it sounded wonderful. Developed by Systemic Response of Technology Zero infamy, it’s fairly bold. There’s a sprawling open-world island to discover, dotted with factors of curiosity and teasing you with the liberty to beat them.
The execution begs to vary, although. At the same time as your wings unfold out en path to preventing the ultimate boss, the technical points, fight, and world design threaten to weigh it down into oblivion.
“The objective of Ravenbound is to discover Avalt, gaining totally different tools and Relics and turning into stronger to problem an Ellri’s Guardian and acquire their Blessing.”
And that’s a disgrace as a result of Ravenbound is attention-grabbing. The artwork model will not be to everybody’s style, however it’s colourful whereas making a sobering impact. Character fashions aren’t real looking and really feel type of restricted with their animation, however the surrounding environments are good to have a look at. This isn’t a recreation attempting to wow you with its visible constancy, a lot as set up a temper and environment to immerse you additional into its world.
Till music blares in simply as immediately because it blares out, or the atmosphere strobes ever so barely whereas working away or turns into a visible mess when activating Ravensight whereas it’s raining or snowing.
Set in Avalt, a fantasy island, the story considerations the Ellri, who introduced prosperity till betrayed by their sister (named, um, the Betrayer). They created the Raven, a mystical creature of immense energy that might defeat the Betrayer, however have been uncovered throughout the ritual and subsequently imprisoned in Tombs. Consequently, the Raven’s energy is incomplete, and it should occupy a Vessel and develop its power.
This units up the method of selecting a random Vessel with distinctive beginning traits, which develop as you full challenges and unlock extra with accrued Legacy. You begin as a Human, who can drain playing cards for Cash, however finally unlock the Ulvar that drains playing cards for further injury or the Simlar, which might achieve this for extra Mana. The objective of Ravenbound is to discover Avalt, gaining totally different tools and Relics and turning into stronger to problem an Ellri’s Guardian and to combat the Betrayer.
“You have got three Fragment slots – gather three Fragments, which is finished by slaying enemies, and you may Empower them to realize a selection of three playing cards.”
If you soar into the world of Avalt and fly round, there are quite a few factors of curiosity to discover. You’ll be able to go just about wherever, however you possibly can’t simply fly every time. When touchdown and reverting to Vessel kind, you could discover the closest launch pad to show into Raven kind and fly once more. It’s tedious but in addition an indication of issues to return.
Concerning Vessels, you may have subsequent to no selection within the early going. Rogue Legacy offsets this by making the primary new lessons comparatively low-cost and throwing in some attention-grabbing genetic quirks. Ravenbound’s Vessels get a Sword and Protect after which regularly Twin Axes, some armor, and both elevated essential probability when Frenzied or extra armor for his or her armor, which makes the early going tough.
When coming into the world by a regional door, there are two waypoints. One results in the city, the place a sidequest – singular, not plural – awaits. One other results in the area’s Tear of Hatred, which you could purify. You have got three Fragment slots – gather three Fragments, which is finished by slaying enemies, and you may Empower them to realize a selection of three playing cards.
These playing cards can vary from higher armor and weapons to extra Mana, used to play stated playing cards, Relics that confer totally different results, Cash and even extra Relic Slots. Extra playing cards unlock as you fulfil sure situations, like clearing a Tomb X variety of occasions. They’ll present highly effective advantages, like Daybreak’s Rot which consumes your whole Focus with an assault to deal 700 % elevated weapon injury, or Vined Amber Goblet, which inflicts Spored on close by enemies when utilizing Surge.
“Whereas there’s a big world to discover, Hatred drastically reduces your selections. Higher hope you get some first rate playing cards from the freebies and don’t run into some notably highly effective Elites that may rapidly destroy you.”
Unlocking every card gives a objective to try for over a number of runs. They’re additionally tied to a particular Fragment factor, of which there are 5. So you possibly can farm enemies with these particular elemental Fragments within the hopes of getting a particular weapon or merchandise drop and even specializing in sure sorts of injury. There’s nonetheless RNG to cope with, and based mostly on my expertise, it may well go both approach. After all, that’s not the one difficulty you’ll have when getting geared.
It’s extremely suggested to go for the Tear of Hatred first as a result of in Ravenbound, any makes an attempt to realize energy – like gathering Fragments, opening chests and so forth – grants Hatred. Empowered too many Fragments? One among your slots is completely locked as a result of Hatred, leading to fewer card selections. Opening a chest in a corrupted space? You take up a slot’s value of momentary Hatred, which solely goes away when Empowering Fragments, additional decreasing your card selections, and also you acquire some everlasting Hatred.
Every completely locked slot of Hatred grants 5 % extra injury to bosses and Elite enemies. So whilst you could or could not turn out to be stronger, your hardest foes are scaling up. It’s all of the extra annoying with Elites as a result of they’ve one of the best loot and normally assault in teams of two or three. Now think about coping with that once they deal extra injury and take longer to die relative to your mortality.
Clearing a Tear of Hatred enables you to discover the house round it with out concern of Hatred from the encompassing factors of curiosity (whereas additionally granting free Mana to play any playing cards discovered). Nonetheless, these are pretty restricted of their rewards. Previous that, the whole lot else is corrupted. So whereas there’s a big world to discover, Hatred drastically reduces your selections. Higher hope you get some first rate playing cards from the freebies and don’t run into some notably highly effective Elites that may rapidly destroy you.
“Go to the Tear of Hatred, cleanse it at no cost Mana, and a few non-corrupt loot close by. Go to the city and take a facet quest for some Cash. Empower Fragments and perhaps get stronger. Repeat.”
Additionally, there’s no map, so if it’s a must to go to city to heal and are available again to filter the remaining non-corrupt websites close to a purified Tear, it may well take some time to search out them. The waypoint for the Tear additionally disappears after it’s purified, presumably as a result of greater than two waypoints at a time is troublesome for the engine to deal with.
There’s a solution to kind of “recreation” the system by locking one in all your slots with everlasting Hatred, thus decreasing the variety of Fragments required to attract extra playing cards. By gathering Points of Hatred from corrupted chests, you possibly can basically choose up a Fragment, roll a brand new card, cleanse the second slot, choose up one other Fragment, gather the chest loot and repeat this course of in one other location. Nonetheless, your card selections are nonetheless restricted and RNG-based, whereas the Mana is restricted. Some chests grant Mana, however you’ll want to hunt them out.
If you’ve Empowered sufficient Fragments, you possibly can sort out a Guardian that’s holding an Ellri captive. Defeat the Guardian, and the Ellri cures your lively Hatred. You’re then despatched again to the beginning tower and might select a special door in future runs, beginning you out in, say, a rocky plateau and desert area or snow-covered mountains, as an alternative of the preliminary forest. It’s a lackluster reward, however a minimum of you’ve accomplished some Challenges, earned some Legacy to unlock extra Traits like new weapon varieties and races for future runs, and encounter extra various Relics.
Nonetheless, you’re nonetheless certain to the identical gameplay loop. Go to the Tear of Hatred, cleanse it at no cost Mana, and a few non-corrupt loot close by. Go to the city and take a facet quest for some Cash. Empower Fragments and perhaps get stronger. Repeat.
“It’s all simply preventing. No mini-games, timed platforming challenges, puzzles, NPCs with riddles, fishing or a couple of facet quest per area to combine up the gameplay.”
It’s much more monotonous as a result of there isn’t a lot selection to the factors of curiosity – each single one includes leaping in and killing enemies. The enemies turn out to be extra different over time, from Huldra and Draugr to Trolls, and so they do have totally different, albeit easy, patterns.
You additionally begin seeing random chests and teams of enemies with banners close to launch pads, stopping you from flying away till they’re cleared. Nevertheless it’s all simply preventing. No mini-games, timed platforming challenges, puzzles, NPCs with riddles, fishing or a couple of facet quest per area to combine up the gameplay. That facet quest additionally includes killing, by the best way, so it’s pretty moot.
There’s some lore on stones and websites to find that confer some Legacy, however the world feels fairly barren more often than not. The cities desperately want extra upgrades outdoors of spending Cash for a random assortment of playing cards, therapeutic and shopping for weapons. Extra personalities among the many NPCs would even be welcome, and as an alternative of regularly returning to a city to heal, it could be good to have some transportable therapeutic answer that might be replenished.
“As a complete, fight could be very spammy. Utilizing a Guard to down enemies, or assailing them with charged Heavy assaults can really feel good, however it will get repetitive.”
Since fight is a core element, it must be on level and effectively achieved. It has to encourage you to return for extra. Ravenbound’s fight could be very hit-or-miss. You have got the usual Mild and Heavy assaults, and each could be charged to deal extra injury to interrupt enemies and stagger them. You may also guard towards assaults, which is extra like a parry and turn out to be quickly invincible if carried out proper, or evade an assault on the final second to turn out to be Frenzied for a injury bonus. There’s additionally Surge, gained by attacking enemies, and when activated, it additionally gives a quick injury bonus.
When taking injury, you’ll have a gray space of well being which is able to deplete after a while. Damaging foes will restore that lacking well being, so choosing up a Relic which will increase the window that gray well being stays is sweet.
Different Relics, Tools and Traits can present distinctive results, like a well-timed Guard inflicting Weak spot and Bleeding on an enemy, decreasing their general assault energy and making use of injury over time standing. After all, you possibly can’t simply guard towards enemy assaults ceaselessly since there’s a minimal quantity of guard well being. As soon as that runs out, you’re left weak for a quick interval.
As a complete, fight could be very spammy. Utilizing a Guard to down enemies, or assailing them with charged Heavy assaults can really feel good, however it will get repetitive. Two-handed weapons just like the Longsword are slower, dual-wielded weapons are quicker, and that’s roughly it. Extra mechanics are desperately wanted, ideally with out being on the mercy of RNG playing cards.
“Optimization wants some work, even when working the sport on Medium settings, and there’s fairly a little bit of pop-in.”
After all, the fight can be fairly spotty. Typically you’ll dodge on the proper second and nonetheless take injury. Different occasions, you’ll Guard however not stagger an enemy as a result of their assault really didn’t join, regardless of visibly showing so.
As famous earlier, the enemy varieties could be fairly different, though their patterns are very fundamental. Count on quite a lot of leaping slashes, whether or not coping with people or creatures. Not less than the Guardians really feel distinctive, having distinct assault patterns and phases regardless of not wanting that totally different from one another.
There are additionally bugs. Some NPCs in cities would immediately flip invisible, although they may nonetheless be interacted with. Optimization wants some work, even when working the sport on Medium settings, and there’s fairly a little bit of pop-in. Weapon audio simply randomly turned muted at some extent. Some Huldras dealt lightning injury originally of a brand new run, which is seemingly not imagined to occur, and rapidly killed me.
The sport is steady sufficient, for essentially the most half – I solely skilled one crash again to the desktop throughout a combat. The digicam can be finicky, having problem staying locked on Guardians throughout boss fights whereas not shifting away from some Trolls I used to be attempting to flee from, which felt awkward given my low well being.
” I simply remembered there’s a janky grappling hook, such is its influence on the gameplay.”
As I stated originally, I needed to love Ravenbound, and there are specific endearing issues about it. Alas, it’s only a record of “may’ve” and “ought to’ve”. The Hatred system may have been a enjoyable danger and reward mechanic. Fight ought to have been a enjoyable amalgamation of dodging, parrying and slashing. The world may have been energetic and distinctive secrets and techniques to uncover. I ought to have been capable of fly wherever on the drop of a hat.
As a substitute, I simply remembered there’s a janky grappling hook, such is its influence on the gameplay. Except grappling up mountains is a game-changer for you, that’s.
Ravenbound may nonetheless very effectively reside as much as its potential as a rogue-lite-hack-and-slash-meets-3D-open-world. Nonetheless, its fight, world design, enemy selection, Hatred system, cities, NPCs, efficiency, environmental results and extra nonetheless want some severe work, and that’s earlier than including any new mechanics or selection to the gameplay.
This recreation was reviewed on PC.