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The Xbox Live Marketplace is filled with great games from AAA publishers but far often neglects it indie counter part. There are some gems apart to be found if people took their time and search for what their looking apart from the plain awful games to offer, which bring us to Raventhorne, Xbox Indie Games Summer Uprising first game that show cases and celebrates the indie community.
Raventhorne, created by MilkstoneStudios, casts players as a fallen hero who is on a quest to avenge his own death. You play Raventhorne, a fallen warrior who has been awakened. In a few short moments, your wielding weapons that are powered by the gods and has developed magical powers of the most generic kind. I found the setting to be a nice breather and a smart decision to separate themselves from the crowded fantasy and science fiction genre. But one of few things you can forgive Raventhorne is the horrible writing, yes it’s bad. But I didn’t accept Mass Effect quality when I was playing. So the writing became more joke for me to laugh at. The story spans across six worlds that challenge players defeat various monsters with platform RPG combat.
Your primary weapons are powered by the gods. You don’t get a vary of weapons as your two main will be either be the axe or the sword. What I love about the combat and where the game really started to hit it’s stride, is the overall balance. Every enemy has a purpose and is rewarding to kill. Killing a pack of enemies is addicting with the blocking system in the game, which is very crucial to your success. If you time your block right, you could saving yourself crucial health and have the chance to finish of your opponent with easy. Raventhorne on the outside looking in is a straight up hack and slash, but what this game remarkably different is combat system. The combat mixes traditional platform RPG elements with magic to make a original platform system that helps make it stand out from the rests
The spells in Raventhorne can appear basic at times but over the course of the game. Each spell becomes more and more powerful, offering for so dramatic and thrilling moments. Spells like increase strength, which is key for picking apart groups of enemies, or health accelerator, which increases your health (duh) while fighting endless waves of zombies, but spells can often mean life or death in Raventhorne. But I did notice there was a few bugs while attempting to launch a spell. The left shoulder button (LB) appeared to not be working for me, which is a shame since that was how you used to special magic abilities. This however does is not a big deal and didn’t affect my gameplay experience. I simply just powered through enemies without even thinking there was a problem.
Raventhorne has mechanics and has good gameplay that sucks you in but one of few problems the game has is the pacing. Running through levels and fighting is fun but only with consequence. If you die, you simply just restart the level with full the same experience you gained making the thrill of beating an enemy absolute. This makes the games gameplay repetitive and boring at times.
The visuals in Raventhorne steel the show and help show what indie game design is. Most of the work was done by deviant user amiastur, helps bring new life to the game. The highly detailed character designs allow the characters to pop off the screen and help capture the mood and setting of the game. Then you throw in a good soundtrack. This is truly a great overall presentation, I felt truly ingrained in the world.
As you can see I loved my time with Raventhorne. I think this was a great first game for Microsoft’s Indie Games Summer Uprising. The combat and presentation shine to provide a unique, short title on Xbox Live Marketplace. I wish more people got behind indie developers and supported projected like these. My only problem with the game is I wished the levels were to make the world seem bigger. Raventhorne is only 240 Microsoft Point, and is defiantly worth picking up.