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[PSN Review] Realms of Ancient War

This heroic-fantasy hack‘n’slash (action/role-playing game) takes you on a continent ravaged by a war that raged ten years earlier. The four Kingdoms of Men, Elves and Dwarves lay in ruins, preyed on by raiders and looters. In this chaos, a new, unknown threat is looming… To discover its true nature, the kingdoms sent detachments to investigate, a dangerous mission from which no one returned. But what about you? You, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time…
Take control of a powerful Warrior, a dark Sorcerer or a Rogue master of stealth, and plunge into a grand quest full of action! The world of R.A.W. leads you, alone or in 2-player co-op, through many levels as rich and varied in every corner of the continent.

Realms of Ancient War is an interesting, old-school dungeon crawler where you’re tasked with hacking and slashing your way from point A to point B in order to find what really happened at the end of the war that almost doomed the entire continent, because while the tales refer to one side of the coin, it is time to let the world know about what is on the other side.

You can pick between a Warrior, a Wizard or a Rogue, with their own innate abilities and special skills, and they each provide a different experience due to their nature. Every time you level up, you will start to accumulate skill points you can use to unlock new skills in the skill tree, or to upgrade your currently unlocked ones.

For example, the warrior has a skill that pulls in several enemies from far, far away so that he can deliver a strong attack to all of them at the same time. If you upgrade the skill, you can pull in more enemies and deal more damage to them. If you fully upgrade the skill, you’ll pull in a LOT of enemies, and deal massive damage. In order to keep you from overusing skills, there is cool-down period between uses, with more powerful skills needing a longer period.

Your weapons can be improved by adding elemental damage to them (fire, poison, etc), which allows them to not only deal damage per blow, but to also add damage per second to each enemy you hit. This is more effective with the Warrior, who can deal damage to an area with a single blow, but overall it works for other classes as well. Equipment (both offensive and defensive) is level locked, which means you have to increase your level up to a certain point before that great helmet or the magic ring you got from a sidequest becomes available for you to equip.

Even in the lower difficulties, you’ll be dead in a few seconds if you’re not careful, because enemies hit you for heavy damage, and they swarm you at any chance they get. Healing potions are your best friend, and you must ALWAYS have at least 18 of them with you at all times, perhaps even more in case you run into a long stretch between merchants. That’s right, you can deal with merchants in the game, and selling extra equipment and loot you find in your adventure is the easiest way to purchase HP and Mana healing potions, as well as special equipment that will easily be better than whatever you have on you at the time. Since you can also find equipment for the other two classes (the logic being that there is drop-in local co-op so that someone else can join you on your adventure, but without saving their character’s progress) you can earn a lot of coin by selling bows, cloaks and whatnots as I did while using my Warrior to overpower and tank by myself, for myself, during my quest.

When you are killed, you respawn at the last checkpoint you reached… as long as you have a soulstone. Think of soulstones as the extra life counter in other games, and as long as you have one, you can respawn. You can only carry 9 soulstones at a time, but you can find more to bring the number back to 9 if you ever use one. There is even a trophy for finishing a level without using a soulstone (that is, without being killed), which brings an extra challenge to the table. Are you up for it?

During some parts of the game, you will be able to possess larger enemies in order to take out huge groups of smaller ones, or to solve a particular situation with an ability that said large enemy can use, and they are a fun change of pace. You won’t be able to possess them forever (it is timed, as the enemy has a HP bar that goes down with every hit it takes), but the time spent doing this is time well spent. Plus, you also get a trophy after doing it several times!

The game does start out slow, and the first hour is NOT how you sell someone on this kind of game… but as you level up more and get access to more skills and upgrades, things just “click”. One thing I did not like is that you can’t save mid level. While there are checkpoints available, the game autosaves your progress only only after completing a level, which is a bit of a drag for when you only have 10-15 minutes to play the game but run into a long level that you can’t finish in time.

Realms of Ancient War is a fun hack and slash game that will provide you with 10+ hours of gaming for each character class. The customization you can do with the skill points you get, the huge amount of content available, the easy to control characters, and the interesting story will keep you hooked until the end.

[review score=”82″ pros=”Fun once you make some progress
Long game
Can customize your characters skills and re-spec if needed thanks to an item” cons=”Slow, slow start”]


This review is based on a PS3 version of Realms of Ancient War provided by WizarBox.