12 June 2012

My Thoughts on the Raven games

Yesterday I finally got around to playing Ravenshire Castle. It is the third installment in 6waves' group of "Raven" games for Facebook. I've been playing Ravenwood Fair and Ravenskye City for a while, so I figured I would give this one a try. All three games are of the city-building variety. That makes it sound as if all the games are pretty much the same, but there are some key differences and I like different aspects of each game.

Ravenshire Castle is similar to Zynga's Castleville in theme. Your character shows up at the castle and is mistaken for a royal by Prince Patrick. The kingdom has been ruined by an opposing force so there are a lot of diseased trees to chop down and structures to be rebuilt.What makes this game different is that there is more of a sense that you are competing against other players (PvP, the gamer types call it). You have to sneak into other people's castles and search for the trinkets you need to rebuild things without getting caught by the guards who are constantly moving through the corridors. It isn't terribly challenging to avoid them, but it does give more of a feeling that you are actually playing a game rather than just clicking on items.

Gamezebo did a review of Ravenshire Castle about a month ago. I agree with most of the criticisms. Although the graphics are the most advanced of the series, I can't appreciate them if my computer can't render them. The game was glitchy even on the speedy work computer. I honestly prefer the graphics and animation in Ravenskye City. They are prettier than Ravenwood Fair but they don't slow my laptop down. It is strangely relaxing to pull up Ravenskye City and just chop down vines at the end of a stressful day.

All three of the games suffer from one of the most common problems in Facebook games: lack of friends who play. Luckily the fans of these games have found a workaround for this. On the game forums you can post a link for an item you need, and another player can click that link and give it to you without being your friend on Facebook. It is still time-consuming to seek out and click all those links, so I only do it for Ravenskye City.

That leads me to which game I find more compelling. Although I still go back to Ravenwood Fair just to cut down trees (again, it is strangely relaxing), I find that the story for Ravenskye City is more fully realized. Reading the history and the feuds between the NPCs gives you more of a reason for the quests you are completing. The PvP twist of Ravenshire Castle doesn't make me want to stick with it. If I was to recommend only one of the three, it would be Ravenskye City.

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