RAW: Realms of Ancient War (360, PS3, PC)

In a land torn by warring humans, elves, and dwarves, the four kings of the north, south, east, and west assemble together for a truce. But at the meeting spot, the rulers unleash an unspeakable evil, so now it’s up to three warriors to bring peace to the land. RAW is a hack and slash, action RPG where you can play as three different kinds of fighters in single player or co-op, available for download on 360, PS3, and PC (360 version reviewed here).

First you must choose your character. The Warrior is strong and can equip heavy weapons and armor, but has limited range. The Wizard has powerful magic attacks, but can only equip the lightest armor. And the female Rogue has long range arrow attacks and can melee with daggers. The action is viewed from a top-down perspective and plays somewhat similar to other titles like Gauntlet or Diablo. Use your attacks and skills to mow down enemies, gather treasure, and complete quests in each world.

As you level up, you’ll be able to equip better armor and weapons that you gather from defeated enemies or buy from merchants. You’ll also be able to upgrade skills from a skill tree as you gain experience, too. Early on in the game you’ll gain the power to possess monsters as well, allowing you to play and battle as other creatures for a short while. Play control is easy to learn, and the game often gives you button cues so you know what to press.

The only main problem with the game is the co-op mode is local only, no online. But a second player can join in at any time to help fight off baddies. If you enjoy simple hack and slash games with a Lord of the Rings style story and feel, then you may want to give RAW a try.

Kid Factor:

RAW: Realms of Ancient War is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Blood and Violence. Slashing enemies splatters blood around and defeated foes lay on the ground permanently for the rest of the stage. But since the action is viewed from such a faraway perspective, the violence doesn’t seem quite so intense. If older kid gamers are OK watching movies like Lord of the Rings, they should be fine with this game, too.

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