R.A.W.: Realms Of Ancient War
16 cert, Focus Home Interactive/Wizarbox, Xbox Live (also PlayStation Network, PC) ***
Not an adaptation of the RTÉ restaurant drama, R.A.W. is a derivative, but engaging third-person hack-and-slash game, with a dash of role-playing. “Humans, dwarves and elves used to live in peace, until the advent of chaos . . .” says the opening voiceover. They’re not kidding about the chaos. Travelling through this medieval and bloody world, you must negotiate the usual fantasy monsters and villains: wolves, goblins, bandits and much, much worse.
Although undeniably similar to other games in its genre (not least Torchlight), R.A.W. has some fun garnishes of its own, such as magical mines, invisibility and the ability to possess lumbering monsters. You have the choice to play as a wizard (magical!), a warrior (brutish!) or a rogue (stealthy!). There’s also a local multiplayer option, which is increasingly rare these days and always welcome.
Yes, it’s old-fashioned, in its appearance and storytelling, but R.A.W. is effective where it matters most: The game-play is fast, smooth, challenging and fun.