Though there are a slew of J-RPGs and K-RPGs on the App Store, there has never really been one fully-fledged, 3D, western RPG. Ravensword was close, but was missing so much of the RPG aspect that it was more of an 3D hack ‘n slash game rather than a W-RPG. However, Aralon: Sword and Shadow, a game created through collaboration between Crescent Moon Games, Elder Scrolls artist Mark Jones, and Galoobeth Games, aims to change that. Boasting over 30 hours of gameplay, hundreds of items, a day and night cycle, a pet and henchman system, mounts including various horses and dragons, three races, four classes, and more, this game really tries to deliver console-game worthy content onto the App Store.
When you start up Aralon: Sword and Shadow, you’ll notice the vast customization apparent in the game. There’s choices for character race, appearance, class, and more. Such a beginning to the game hints at the immense amount of gameplay time behind it, and Aralon delivers. With tons of loot to find, quests to embark upon, and equipment to buy, you definitely won’t be finishing it anytime soon – actually, you might even feel rather overwhelmed by the open world and beautiful atmosphere of the game.
The story follows you, the main character, as you begin a journey to exact revenge for your father’s murder and end the growing darkness that in the world of Aralon. You’ll venture out and clash with bandits, raid gnoll caves, and even run errands for a dragon. Though the main storyline is a good one, it’s extremely easy to forget about it as you run around living the good life and doing side quests – I feel that if there was more of an urgency to actually doing quests relating to the story, it would make the it feel more relevant to the game. However, this problem arises in all open-world games, but more incentive to keep the story would help make Aralon: Sword and Shadow an even better experience than it currently is.
Combat in Aralon: Sword and Shadow is well-thought out, as each class has their own unique skill set and play style. The warrior is a tank that can easily absorb damage and dish it back out in return, the rogue is a stealthy assassin that relies on critical hits and accuracy more than brute force, the ranger can use ranged attacks as well as melee ones, and the mage harnesses the elements to defeat his opponents. Each one of these class warrants a play-through, as they are all extremely fun to use. Skills can be used by tapping their icon, and to attack all you need to do is hit the attack button. You can also block and parry with another button, but during combat it is extremely difficult to anticipate an enemy’s attack – by the time you’ve hit the parry/block button, they’ve already done damage to you even though the animation hasn’t finished yet. That’s my one peeve with Aralon’s combat system, but as a whole it works and you can easily go on a rampage killing all that you see when using it.
All in all, Aralon: Sword and Shadow an amazingly deep W-RPG game experience. There’s so much freedom in the game that you’ll be awed by the beautiful environment and lush greenery. A lot of the game can’t be explained in words; you have to play to understand. Long story short: if you like RPGs, Aralon is for you. Just make sure you have a 3rd gen device or better to play it!