Ravensword: The Fallen King
An impressive 3-D RPG with tons of monsters and quests.
Ravensword: The Fallen King is Chillingo's attempt at an Elder Scrolls: Oblivion clone for the iPhone, no easy feat for a device not even half as powerful as the Xbox 360. Despite this fact, the developers (through some sort of technical wizardry, no doubt) pulled it off with satisfying results, producing an app with numerous non-player characters, a wealth of enemies and a humongous and detailed world. It'll probably slurp the juice from the phone's battery, but for $6.99, you won't find a better 3-D role-playing experience on the iPhone.
To appreciate this game, however, you'll need to make some concessions, starting with the cookie cutter narrative and game design. You play as an amnesiac that wakes up in Aven Town. Like in most role-playing games, you immediately set out to meet the townsfolk and accept quests (the first involves clubbing rats to death). From there, most of the experience unfolds as expected. There's a blacksmith that sells weapons, a guy named Lucius that specializes in potions and whole bunch of missions where you kill monsters and eventually restore some semblance of order to the land. Bottom line, RPG fans have seen it all before.
At the same time, you shouldn't dwell on the lack of originality. Ravensword is a remarkable video game, simply because up until two months ago, we didn't think this sort of thing was possible on the iPhone. Chillingo did excellent work creating a believable 3-D world populated by friendly characters and monsters of all shapes and sizes, including sword carrying skeletons, the aforementioned rodents and gremlin like critters. Scenery also changes, so one second, you'll wander through an innocent looking town, and the next, a spooky graveyard.
As for the gameplay, The Fallen King is surprisingly entertaining. You maneuver the hero using an on-screen d-pad, jump and attack with those respective buttons and adjust the camera by sliding a finger across the screen. You can even go first person if you'd like, by tapping the magnifying glass icon.
Battles play out similar to most RPGs, where the odds of hitting your opponent heavily depend in the weapon used, your level, the enemy's level and its strength, endurance, dexterity and luck. You'll also want to level up as much as possible, since the stronger creatures will make short work of you. But overall, it's fun to smash, fire arrows at and cut things.
All of this makes Ravensword: The Fallen King a wonderful achievement and a taste of great things to come, both from Chillingo and other companies. Don't hesitate to download it onto your iPhone.
What's Hot: Huge open world, short load times, a ton of quests, quality audio, basically Oblivion in your pocket.
What's Not: Cheesy dialogue, lots of wandering, crude looking characters.