Ravensword: Shadowlands (R:S going forward) debuted as a mobile game late last year and just recently released on Steam through the Greenlight initiative. To say nothing of the story, most people will probably compare R:S to Skyrim for the simple fact that it feels quite similar in texture to Elder Scrolls. Clipping items, initiating dialogue, looting regular items, and even combat all have the telltale earmarks of Skyrim. Just to make sure I wasn’t alone in my feelings, I quickly Googled “R:S” and “Skyrim” and sure enough, tons of comparisons.
Being compared to Skyrim has to be awesome right? Especially on a platform that is under-served in this particular genre. And despite my subjective opinion on virtual dpads and buttons, I can see how people who don’t mind those methods of input would be all over a mobile game like that. R:S for all intents and purposes is Skyrim Lite. Crescent Moon Games actually did an amazing job of presenting R:S as a sprawling landscape to be explored but still managing to keep it bite-sized. In fact, everything is bite-sized. From the depth of skills and talents, to the depth of melee, ranged and magic.
So I’m at a bit of a crossroads here with R:S. On the one hand, I can appreciate the game’s roots. On the other hand, I don’t think that should totally excuse the end result of what this port turned out to be. Ultimately, the game is fun, if a bit short (I actually prefer short games). The combat is tight and satisfying. I hesitate to call the grinding portions “grinding” as they are never tiring and the quick travel further helps things get to the point.
About the only thing I can think to count as negatives for the game is the hunger-system and the sparse cities populated with characters models that are quite similar. With regard to the hunger-system, you’ll get prompts that you should eat certain items, but for the life of me I can’t figure out how I’m supposed to do that. All of the food-stuffs available in the game only have a “drop” action that can be applied to it. I’m not quite certain if eating is done automatically as there is no indication of such, so it remains a mystery. As for the NPCs, there are literally only five or six same character models just with different outfits on, that’s kind of lame.
TL;DR: Ravensword: Shadowlands is a Skyrim (Elder Scrolls) clone whose design principles were to be amazing on a mobile device. While the port introduces keyboard and mouse input, which thankfully alleviates all such issues I would have with touch controls, when stretching this game out to a full PC game I’m left wanting in a lot of areas. I have to stress that while the game is fun and conscientious of my time, it’s very hard for me to recommend this game to someone who is looking for something like Skyrim. I’m pretty sure there is an unwritten rule somewhere that one should never bring price into game reviews, but the simple fact remains that there are two points of contention. One is that R:S on Steam is double the price it is on mobile storefronts and the other is that you can very easily get Skyrim for $8 on sale recently. And the Xmas sale is on it’s way. If you are huge WRPG fan and just need something new, R:S will provide five to ten hours of gameplay depending on how much you want to explore and grind.
VERDICT 7/10: A clone that manages to hit all the high points even if it’s only brief and shallow.