This title was reviewed on PS4, but is also available on PC and Xbox One.
It’s a two for one special! I just reviewed Apex Legends, now I’m reviewing Realm Royale! Guess what? It’s good too. Realm Royale boasts a similar style to Fortnite, but it changes some crucial things that make the game more fun to play and unique compared to other entries in the series; A mixed modern-meets-fantasy world, four distinct classes that have skill trees to be customized as you level, a range of cool weapons with more being added as time goes on, and a team-oriented loot-and-craft system that makes playing with friends a blast. Altogether, despite how much less unique the other aspects are, this makes for a really fun battle royale that I keep coming back to.
So for some light background, this game was made by Hi-Rez Studios, the same guys behind Smite, Paladins, and Tribes Ascend. It was released on PC awhile back, and it’s just now on consoles for a tentative open beta, so technically this isn’t a full release review, it’s an early access review, but due to the update-as-they-go structure Hi-Rez has taken with the game, I’m going to treat it as a full game in this article. With that, let’s get right into it.
You have four classes: Mage, Assassin, Hunter and Warrior. Each one has it’s own respective recommended weapons that you’ll craft, and it’s own unique starting abilities and perks and whatnot. Each one levels as you play it, and you’ll unlock more abilities as you play the game. You have the standard team setup, with solos, duos, and squads being the three possible modes. I played most of my time with this game with two of my friends, so most of my experience comes from squads and duos. Now, I’ll come right out and say this; I had a lot fun, and so did my friends.
The unique weapons, ranging from magic staffs and elemental bows to massive LMG’s and Elemental Rifles, make different play styles easy to experiment with, as well as making each successive round feel just as fun and much more varied than other battle royales. On top of this, Realm Royale boasts a sick crafting system. Each major location has a forge that you can use to craft epic or possibly legendary weapons, runes, movement abilities, combat abilities, and potions. You craft these using shards, the crafting currency you get from killing opponents who have them and disassembling weapons.
Your perks and class affect what weapons/abilities you’ll make, and rarity will always be either epic or legendary. You can also craft a resurrection scroll if a teammate is dead, the function of which is self explanatory. Each item you craft will be separate from your teammates and takes 30 seconds to craft, so you’ll want to rely on teamwork to survive and get your cool stuff. Movement abilities range from short range flight to invisibility backflips, and runes will improve different stats and whatnot. Weapons range from bows, crossbows, magic swords, and staves, to revolvers, shotguns, assault rifles, and LMG’s.
Outside of this, everything is pretty standard. The circle closes in, you fight against the other teams and try to be the last one standing. One thing that does change however is the downing system. When you go down, you turn into a…. Chicken. You run around for 20 seconds as a chicken, avoiding bullets and whatnot, and you’ll resurrect at half health. Get killed as a chicken and you’re dead unless your teammate makes a resurrection scroll at a forge. I like this system, because it gives you a chance to get back up without your teammates help if you’re fast and lucky. It’s also limited to three times a match, so if you go down three times and get back up, you’re guaranteed to die the next time. I think this is pretty unique and well balanced.
I do have a few gripes with this one too, though. For starters, I do think the game should’ve had more weapons at launch. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a decent variety and it’s still in early stages, so it isn’t a huge issue. I do still like a lot of variety though, so it would’ve been cool. Secondly, the hitboxes and damage dealt can be kind of wonky. Sometimes I’ll do a ton of damage with a weapon, and other times I’ll do pitiful amounts. Sometimes I’ll get a killing headshot without even feeling like I aimed, other times I feel like my bullets decide to perform brain surgery and pass through my enemy’s face. It can be a bit odd.
Overall, that’s really about it. The world is mostly just samey villages across multiple biomes, and the formula for this genre isn’t really changed outside of the addition of classes and crafting. The gameplay is solid and fun, despite some minor faults, and I had a lot of fun playing with my friends. If you like battle royales, I would give it a shot. If you like fantasy type games, there’s elements of it here that you’ll probably appreciate. This game is for everyone, and I think it does a good job of keeping the formula simple while still adding it’s own unique flare. In sum, it’s a whole new realm of possibilities for the genre moving forward.