by December 2, 2020 @ 8:00 am
Reviewed on PS4
There’s a simplistic beauty to the gameplay of Raji: An Ancient Epic. Developed by the India-based Nodding Heads Games, this title is a throwback to older action-adventure titles — think God of War on PS2 or the Prince of Persia series. That’s not to say that this game feels dated. Quite the contrary, actually. Though Raji channels the beloved style of a bygone era, it still offers a polished combination of platforming, exploration, and combat.
A Grim Yet Beautiful Escapade
Raji: An Ancient Epic is set in India, and it takes cues from Hindu and Balinese mythological themes. Demons have invaded the town where the titular Raji lives, and she soon finds herself trying to recover her kidnapped brother. At the same time, she’s gifted with special abilities by the gods to rise up against the demons and save India.
The story is decent, and the story sequences, which look like old cutout puppet shows, are pretty great. The narration can be a bit long-winded, though, which can sometimes get in the way of what is an otherwise smooth-flowing action-adventure game.
At the heart of the gameplay is some tight platforming. You’ll scale walls, climb columns, and hop across ledges. It’s all very fluid, and guiding Raji through the levels feels great. This climbing and hopping action makes for some of the most fun in Raji: An Ancient Epic thanks to how nicely the character controls.
You’ll encounter a lot of enemies on your quest. These range from smaller, peskier creatures to large, imposing brutes. Thankfully, you’re equipped to properly take them down. Weapons such as a spear and bow allow you to perform stylish acrobatic moves and long-ranged attacks. You can even unlock special abilities, like dropping lightning on the enemies. The combat isn’t as smooth as the platforming, but it’s a great deal of fun nonetheless, and it offers a nice challenge.
You can get through Raji: An Ancient Epic in under five hours. The game keeps things light and focused, and it never feels like it overstays its welcome. Admittedly, a few extra areas to explore would’ve been nice considering how much fun it is to experience the gameplay and world.
An Artful Action-Adventure Experience
The art style of Raji: An Ancient Epic is quite masterful. The game keeps things simple from a technical standpoint, but the world around you is beautifully designed. Aside from some truly impressive architectural designs, you’ll see massive murals, beautiful tile floor art, and dreamlike lighting effects. In addition, the zoomed out camera helps make you feel like you’re a tiny part of this much bigger world, which is quite symbolic as Raji attempts to save her brother while a war between gods and demons ensues.
Speaking of which, the demonic enemies in the game are quite a sight to behold. Though they’re creepy to witness — they are, after all, demons — there’s an artistry to their designs, as well. They all appear like something you’d see in an old painting or mural.
The game’s music is right in line with the ancient Indian setting and art direction. You’ll hear dark, ominous themes composed of string instruments and powerful drum beats. The voice acting works well, too, even if the narrating gods can be a bit too chatty.
If you’re looking for a compact adventure that offers a polished throwback to games from the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox era, Raji: An Ancient Epic offers up exactly that. The slick platforming, fun combat, and beautiful art make this game a worthwhile play. And though it’s a bit on the short side, it’s intensely enjoyable for its duration.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
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