Ravensword: Shadowlands Updated Hands-On Preview

The original Ravensword was a landmark iOS game– a 3D, open-world RPG made just for mobile devices. At GDC back in March, we had a chance to go hands-on with the highly-anticipated sequel, Ravensword 2. Like we did with Crescent Moon’s last major RPG, Aralon, we want to give you an updated preview of Ravensword 2 by taking you on a tour of the first hour of gameplay.

Ravensword 2 begins with your character in the middle of a battle between humans and dark elves at the foot of a giant tower. This is where you get your first taste of Ravensword 2′s improved combat system, which will lock onto nearby characters and let you swing and block using one button. As you advance with your fellow knights, the tower explodes, killing everyone on the battlefield, except for you.

You wake up in a cabin in the town of Aven, where a woman named Layna says that you should speak to her guildmaster Perdis about what happened during the battle. Once you stand up, you’ll have a chance to customize your character’s appearance. Although your character must be male and a human, you can tweak his jaw and nose, change the coloring of his hair, skin, and eyes, and give him a silly or serious haircut (along with stylish facial hair and tattoos).

With your character customized, it’s time to explore Aven and begin your first few quests. Perdis will direct you to a mage’s house outside of town, on the edge of a forest crawling with wild boars. You can buy some light armor and a weapon from the local blacksmith (who will also ask you to search for his lost shipment of iron ingots) and then head into the forest.

The mage who knows what happened during the battle has a bit of a problem, though– someone has shrunk him and trapped him in a bottle. He tells you to fill a vial of water from an enchanted pool, which happens to be located on the other side of a cave full of vicious trolls. Before you’re strong enough to face the trolls, you’ll have to level up by ambushing a fortress of weaker goblin warriors, who also happen to have stashed the blacksmith’s iron.

We spent the better part of an hour exploring these few opening areas, swinging our sword at boars and goblins until we felt ready to take on some trolls. The trolls were tough, but once we could afford a bow and arrow (by selling all of our collected boar pelts and goblin shields), we could damage them from a distance. It also helped to crouch and activate stealth mode, which obscures your character.

Inside the trolls’ cave, one nice surprise we found was a treasure chest full of every weapon in the game, but we have a feeling this loot is just for play-testing and will not be available in the final version of the game. Still, it was nice to have our character try out late-game weapons like the crossbow, blunderbuss, and Ravensword itself, along with some shiny, sturdy armor.

Ravensword 2 isn’t as wide-open as you might think– we had to focus on a few early missions in order to get our character strong enough to explore. But the scenery is great, and leveling up your character is highly satisfying, since it’ll give you a number of different gameplay types to emphasize, like stealth, or combat. We’re expecting Ravensword 2 to be available later this month.

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