Developer: Crescent Moon Games
Price: $6.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Crescent Moon Games has had a very busy 2012, and the studio has saved its best for last: Ravensword: Shadowlands is a stunningly impressive open-world RPG. Set 500 years after the original Ravensword: The Fallen King, this puts players in the shoes of a warrior who survived a great battle under mysterious circumstances, and now he is the only one who can cast the great evil down to whence it came. Of course, that’s if the player really feels like it: there’s plenty of sidequests and other things to do while checking out the world.

This is quite the sizable game: there’s over a dozen large-scale outdoor areas to explore with a selection of indoor areas to also explore, along with a big central town to explore. Most everywhere that is visible is explorable. The combat largely has players switching between their melee weapon of choice, with selective magic attacks and a ranged weapon to use as well. But there’s fun in figuring out tactics and using stealth to get the upper hand. It’s just cool to go into stealth mode, pull out a bow and arrow, shoot it at an unaware foe for additional damage, and then watch as they rush in a hope to get some damage in before they get picked off. Then I switch to a melee weapon and strategically pick them off. And the best way to level up a skill? Just keep at it. Using bows improves the skill in that, same with melee weapons and defense.

The game looks great on a bevy of devices; it looks phenomenal on the iPhone 5, with maximum draw distance enabled, but it still shines on even the iPad 2, though draw distance is reduced by default; this can be configured in the settings. iCloud support is enabled, and save history goes back to the last 10 saves, in case of emergency.

The open world nature of the game can be both a blessing and a curse. For example, at one point, going out the north area leads players into a likely bear encounter. Without a buddy to deliver a shotgun and chair, the player’s life is in great danger and they probably will care about that. But then the next area has decidedly less powerful foes. And in many cases, there is no way to know just whether something that’s coming up is actually possible or not until jumping into it.

Ravensword: Shadowlands is a must-have for fans of open-world RPGs who want this kind of major experience that they can take with them on their phone, and then sit back and enjoy while on the couch with their iPad.

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