R.A.W. - Realms of Ancient War
"Sure to please fans of games like Gauntlet or Dungeon Siege III."
R.A.W. – Realms of Ancient War is a fun offline co-op RPG developed by Wizarbox that is sure to please fans of games like Gauntlet or Dungeon Siege III. This hack-and-slash features a warrior, a wizard, and a rogue with hordes of enemies to kill – up to 100 on the screen at once.
So where are all these monsters spawning from? That's for you to find out, after a voice inside your head tells you to go through the portal from your floating island realm down to the four earthly kingdoms below. The voice in your head belongs to the king of the icy north, so it should also be fun to find out why his voice is in your head and why he gave you a very special power.
The special power granted you by the northern king is the ability to reincarnate big nasty boss monsters and take over their bodies to smash up smaller minions. Of course, once the "Hulk smashing" is done... you need to defeat said hulk. This is not always easy, but as Peter Parker learned, with great power comes great responsibility.
The game features offline two-player co-op where the second player can press the start button to drop in at any time. I tend to find games like this occasionally monotonous to play single-player, but playing with a friend is an absolute hoot. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of hacking and slashing hordes of enemies with a friend, slicing things up with dual swords, setting poison traps, blasting magic spells, and all that good stuff. Control is pretty tight, the interface is straightforward, and players can map commands to the face buttons as they see fit.
Sometimes enemy hordes can be overwhelming, but each of the 30 levels have occasional checkpoints where characters can pick up where they leave off, but these checkpoints have limited use, so they're not a "get out of jail free" card. Thankfully, previously killed enemies do not respawn.
Each of the three selectable characters has 20 unique skills, and skill points can be allocated towards multiple skill trees. Many skills can be charged up for additional effectiveness, but be careful when using that in heavily infested areas. The main quest should last about ten hours for each character because, although the story mostly plays out identically for all of them, they all start at different points.
The sound is quite involving with a flurry of battle cries, sword slashes, and some ominous atmospheric music. I wish I had more extensive time to play through more of the game's areas to hear more of the music, because what I heard was good.
R.A.W. should be available on XBLA, PSN, and Steam September 2012 so grab a friend and hack-and-slash through hordes of enemies this fall.