You begin Realms of Ancient War by choosing from one of three characters--Warrior, Wizard and Rogue. Each of the game's three classes comes with your typical action RPG skill sets with warriors heading to the frontlines for close combat, wizards flinging elemental spells from afar and rogues making a nice mixture of long range attacks with bows and close range sneak attacks. Defeating enemies in combat nets you additional experience points and possible loot, and you'll level up your character and their skills, equip the best gear and approach battle with the best tactics to take down your foes and continue in this method as you progress through the game. Each character can equip four skills to each of the four face buttons of the controller to utilize in combat, and you'll want a good variety of spells to ensure you have a good attack for every situation.
Many new mechanics have been introduced to a genre that doesn't always feature many innovative ideas. For starters, you'll quickly unlock a special ability in Realms of Ancient War that allows you to take control of your opponents for a short time and actually use them to fight against their allies. In addition, you'll find magical items known as soul stones throughout your adventure, and these special trinkets will allow you to come back to life after falling in combat, but you'll only be allowed to carry nine soul stones at any one time throughout the game. One other really cool feature is cooperative play. At any time during the game, your friend can pick up a second controller and join in your game as either of the remaining two characters you are not currently playing. They will have full access to nearly everything you do as you explore dungeons together and take down the game's most powerful enemies with tremendous teamwork.
From a presentation standpoint, Realms of Ancient War stands out as one of the best looking downloadable titles available on any platform. While the character models aren't quite the sharpest around, dozens of enemies can appear on screen at once with no slow down, and it never becomes too difficult to spot your character during the chaos, even in cooperative sessions. What really makes Realms of Ancient War an amazing sight to behold is the game's environments. The bright colors and careful designs combine to make some of the best worlds you've seen in any game, and each stage has its own unique look that makes it feel like part of a much larger world as you're exploring these expansive dungeons. The game also features some nice cinematics that explain the game's storyline in more detail, while the dialogue between characters in-game is typically text based. The game does feature a nice soundtrack that compliments the epic encounters in these massive dungeons quite well.
Realms of Ancient War is a stellar game that will have you immersed in its fantasy world for many hours, and upon completing the game, you'll return to try out the game's different characters, try your hand at a harder difficulty setting or hunt down the hard to find Statues of Kilthi. There's always something to do in Realms of Ancient War and for only $15, you're really getting a good deal of content for your money. If you're a fan of action RPGs, you'll love Realms of Ancient War. The game is a ton of fun, and is one of the best downloadable titles to come around in a long while. Buy with confidence.
Realms of Ancient War is now available for Xbox LIVE Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC and can be purchased for 1200 Microsoft Points or $14.99. Realms of Ancient War is rated T by the ESRB for Blood & Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Realms of Ancient War website.
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: Xbox LIVE Arcade (reviewed), PlayStation Network & PC
Release Date: September 19, 2012 (XBLA), September 25, 2012 (PSN) & October 4, 2012 (PC)