Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion on PC
I am absolutely, positively a sucker for tactical RPGs. Since getting hooked on Final Fantasy Tactics back in the original PlayStation’s heyday, I’ve found a love for this genre, and yet I find it difficult to get my hands on ones that seem similarly well-constructed. Ravemark: Scourge of Estellion is my latest taste of this deep, complex genre. While there’s some roughness around the edges, I’m happy to report that it’s a solidly-constructed and engaging story that manages to create a worthwhile experience. So, without further ado, let’s crack open Witching Hour Studios’ foray into strategic glory.
Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion follows a group of commanders in a war that rages across the world of Eclisse. Players will take control of these commanders and their troops, leading them across continents in turn-based strategic battles. Combat plays out in two-phase style split between the command phase, where players will dictate troop formations, movements, and make adjustments to standing orders. After this, the action phase kicks in, with all units on the field making their moves in initiative-determined succession after all the moves are locked.
What makes Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion something special, in terms of its combat, is a combination of things. The formation system, which allows players to link and unlink units of the same type on the fly, gives a great customization to any given battle. Combined with the unique flow of battle from the so-called “WeGo” system and the fact that players have a limited number of command points to work with each turn, Ravenmark really builds a unique and thought-heavy strategic style.
Of course, Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion has to have something more than a worthwhile battle system to really shine. A good game of this type needs a good story, and Ravenmark tries to deliver on this. I say “tries” not because it’s necessarily unsuccessful, but because the story features such a large cast and scale that it can be tough to follow. With war, betrayal, and politics playing out across the land, players may struggle to keep up with the many twists and turns, but it’s clear a ton of work went into crafting the complex tale.
If there’s anywhere that Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion falls short, it’s probably in the aesthetic design. There’s a lot of bland battlegrounds with tough to discern features, which can make using the terrain to your advantage difficult. Even so, the ways that it can be used when you’re able to are great. Placing archers on high ground, using defensive-minded formations to control choke points, and keeping an eye on how to outflank your opponent will all serve players well in their efforts. The unique flow of battle can turn the tide in an instant, though, so the most important thing is to keep an eye on the whole and predict what your foe has planned so that you can act accordingly.
All told, Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion is built on one of the more stragey-focused systems I’ve had the pleasure of playing recently, and the formation and command systems are top-notch ways of adding some additional depth to the typical tactical style. While the story is dense, it’s not incoherent, though less attentive players will find themselves lost. With a Steam price of $14.99, there’s plenty of content to say it’s easily worth it. While the reliance on forethought and the thick, winding plot may be overwhelming for some, this is a must-have for players who love to put their minds to work in tactics-first games.