R.A.W: Realms of Ancient War – Preview
On the back of successful old-school hack-and-slash RPG games like Diablo, Focus Interactive were showing off their new title, R.A.W – Realms of Ancient War, at Gamescom this year. While the basic combat mechanic is lifted straight from the Diablo games, the developers have included a number of unique features which they hope will make it stand out from the crowd. Released on XBLA/PSN the game will mainly focus on two player local co-op with no online functionality. The developers explained that they would like the game to have that old-school appeal, where two players would sit down together and battle through the game’s fifteen to twenty hour storyline.
The gameplay itself is similar in style to Diablo 3, meaning you bash buttons until everyone is dead, but the combat is set around two assigned skill sets which can be switched out on the fly. One skill set may contain all of your heavy-hitting direct damage attacks, while the other may focus purely on defense, but they can also be switched up depending on how you want to play the game. In the short hands-on demo I was given, I played as the warrior who mainly focuses on dual sword wielding and direct damage attacks. Early on in the game the dual skill sets do not really come in to play, but further on in the game they become a requirement as the number of enemies on screen multiplies and tends to become overwhelming.
There are three classes in the game; as I mentioned above, the warrior is your basic ‘warrior’ type. He can take high amounts of damage and dish it out, mainly focusing on close area attacks. Where the warrior is a close combat character, the mage deals mainly in ranged area of effect abilities. I played a little of the mage character during my hands-on time with R.A.W. and many of the abilities deal damage in blasts or in cones out in front of him, which is very handy to have on your team at the later levels where the volume of enemies is ridiculous. There is also the rogue, who mixes both close combat skills with her twin daggers and long range damage from her bow. The three classes have their own unique play styles and the game really comes in to its own when mixing these classic character combinations.
Incarnation is an ability which adds another element to combat. During sub boss and end of level boss fights you may be able to enter the mind of a large boss character. Anything from giant statues to the commanders of undead armies can be taken over, allowing the player to quickly end tough fights, zipping into a boss and using them and their abilities to destroy the enemy. Once you are done and exit, the boss is killed. It wasn’t made clear at the time how this will be controlled and not abused to end every boss fight quickly. I could see this being an insta-kill button.
As well as boasting thirty levels to play through and an estimated ten to twelve hours of gameplay under its belt, R.A.W. has all of the components of the classic hack-and-slash RPG game. Focus made clear that they were really looking to take a step away from the cartoony look that Diablo had and have really worked on giving it quite a different style which, for an XBLA/PSN title, is great. R.A.W is due for release this month and, from what I saw at Gamescom, the game is clearly ready to go and could be a must-have for all those hack and slash fans out there. Is it a competitor for Diablo 3 though? The developers seem to think so; I’m not so sure.
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