Ravenmark – PC Game Review
Ravenmark – Scourge of Estellion PC Game Review. Publisher: Witching Hour Studio Price $14.99 (STEAM)
Passed Inspection: Detailed fully developed fantasy world. Easy to use tactical combat controls. Excellent tutorials and reference materials. FUN!!!
Failed Basic: A little too easy for units to disengage from combat.
Witching Hour Studio of Singapore has released a classic fantasy war game with the STEAM release of their new game Ravenmark – Scourge of Estellion! This game is a follow up to Witching Hour’s Ravenmark Mercenaries multi-player war game from 2013 but it expands that game with a much stronger narrative element and excellent AI.
The recommended system requirements for Ravenmark – Scourge of Estellion are as follows:
OS: Windows XP SP2+ / Vista / 7 / 8
Processor: Intel P4/AMD Athlon XP or better
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: Open GL 1.5 Compatible Graphic Card
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 732 MB available space
On first glance, Ravenmark – Scourge of Estellion reminds me of a mix between “Game of Thrones” and the Japanese animated video series “Heroic Legends of Arslan”. The setting of the game is Eclisse, a land beset by conflict. The Empire of the Raven (also known as the Empire of Estellion) is trying to maintain its grip on the land but a nation to the South, Kaysan, a nation ruled by religious zealots, is leading a coalition of humans and swamp elves to try and conquer the land to the North, Estellion.
The game is a turn based strategy game with each unit representing several hundred combatants usually led by a “heroic” leader. Each unit is rated for the abilities of its leader plus the unit type which can include infantry, cavalry, pole armed forces or ranged forces which can include bowmen and even primitive rifle men. Each unit is also rated for its attack strength, defensive strength, hit points and movement speed. Terrain can affect movement speed as can the unit’s level of readiness from excellent condition to exhaustion. In addition to humans, the units can be Elves, Halflings and other expected fantasy races.
For those familiar with infantry tactics, many of the old tricks can be used to help your forces secure victory. As expected, terrain plays a major function in each battle. Terrain is ranked for elevation plus terrain types include forests, swamps, roads, hills and even castles and cities. When fighting, try and hold the high ground as much as possible. Try and outflank your enemy while not being outflanked yourself. Form your lines wisely with bowmen and riflemen being set to the rear of melee units.
Combat is very easy to learn with a click on a unit brining up options including attacking, moving, using special abilities, changing formations, wheeling formations, etc. Speaking of formations, infantry units can be made to change in to a line formation in order to lock their shields for maximum defensive bonuses. When all of the units have been given orders, click on the option to play a turn. A nice “undo” function is provided for curtailing costly mistakes before the turn plays through. In addition, if you lose a key battle, the game allows you to replay and try again to win.
While tactical combat is the heart of the game, animated cutaway sequences let the players know what is happening at home and abroad plus conversations between various heroes allows the players to keep abreast of the rich story telling that this game represents.
It is, in fact, these story telling elements which raise this game from merely being a tactical and strategic combat game to a tour de force of fantasy role playing narrative gaming. The music, the sound effects, the artwork, all contribute to creating this extremely compelling game universe. It is a pleasure when all of these elements coalesce to form a game which is more than just the sum of its parts.
To help achieve this strong narrative, Ravenmark – Scourge of Estellion, also provides an in game atlas of the known world as well as a very extensive “codex” of knowledge about the world, the countries, the factions, the heroes and villains, the creatures, the magic, even the weather and holidays are all covered.
I hope that Ravenmark – Scourge of Estellion becomes the hit it truly deserves to be and, I for one, hope that the franchise can expand in to a computer role playing game which allows us to further explore the complexities of this complete fantasy world.
The only negative remake I can make about this great game is that, at times, it seems too easy for melee units to disengage with their enemies and then maneuver on the battlefield.
Aside for this minor complaint, I can say that I truly love this game. Onward to victory my friends – ride to glory! Viva Ravenmark – Scourge of Estellion!
Armchair General Rating: 99 %
About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!
This game held my interest for a little while, but I quickly grew tired of it. Seemed to be doing the same things over and over. I guess if you really spent a lot of time reading the Codex and other descriptions you might get into it more. But I don’t generally game to get my reading in. I use books for that.