My Review of Ravenfield
Ravenfield is a single-player sandbox first-person shooter made by Johan Hassel. It is a simple shooter that has gameplay akin to the Battlefield games. The thing that makes it special is that it is completely single-player. All of your allies and enemies are bots.
It is fun to run around a shoot bots for a while, but is it better than its multiplayer counterparts? Let’s find out!
The graphics in Ravenfield are very simple. This is intentionally done not to stress your computer too much. In a game where there can be 200 bots fighting against each other, these straightforward graphics are almost needed for the game to run on even mid-tier pcs. While the graphics are very simple, they are by no means ugly. The menus and such are also very simple, making it easy to figure out where and what things are.
The sound design, much like the art, is simple and serves a fairly utilitarian purpose. The music consists of very simple military fanfare that sounds exactly how you would expect. The guns and vehicles all have simple sound effects that let you tell them apart from a distance. Again there is not much to talk about with the sound since, just like the art, it is very simple and functional.
The gameplay in Ravenfield is, you guessed it, simple. When you start a match you get to choose from an array of guns, which include your standard shotguns, pistols, assault rifles, etc. Then you also get to choose some equipment, which includes grenades, a rocket launcher, health and ammo packs, and a sword. Then you spawn in at a chosen spawn point and you go complete whatever objective you want. The controls are very standard fps controls. You can lean, crouch, go prone, sprint, aim, etc. Now up to this point, I have described Ravenfield as a very simple game. However, I think this simplicity serves a very good purpose in that it makes the game very easy to customize. Just in the base game, you can change many different things about the matches. There are multiple different game modes which include a small-scale objective-based Spec Ops mode and multiple Capture-Point-based modes. You can also change what vehicles and weapons are available to each team, and how many bots are on each team. You can also customize where the initial spawn points for each team are, and how the number of bots is distributed to each team. There is also a difficulty setting that dictates how good the enemy team is.
All of this is available in the Quick Action mode. There is also another mode called Conquest where you move troops on a board game-type board to fight small battles to capture certain zones. Along the way, you also earn money that you can use to buy new weapons and vehicles. This mode is currently underdeveloped and is getting updated in the future, but it makes for a nice addition to the game.
The customization in Ravenfield goes even further with the thousands of mods available for it on the Steam Workshop. There are hundreds of different weapons, skin, vehicles, and map packs that you can use to play out pretty much any scenario that you can think of. There are also mutators available that can fundamentally change the gameplay. This is where I see the real fun in Ravenfield coming from. Getting to mix and match mods to create your perfect scenario, whether it be WW2 or Warhammer, is what really brings the fun out of Ravenfield. There is an in-game map maker that you can use to make your own maps that you can upload to the workshop.
The mods and customization options in Ravenfield make the game very fun as you can make the game whatever you want it to be. Although some problems limit the combat scenarios that you can make. The biggest problem is the AI. The game being single-player means that your enjoyment of it will be affected by how good the bots are. While the bots in the game function well enough to make the game fun, they could be greatly improved upon. The bots operate in two modes. Either they are trying to defend a flag, or they are trying to capture one. You can make battle plans that will make your allies more likely to defend or attack a certain flag, but it is not always perfect. There is also a squad command option that allows you to recruit allies to your squad that will follow you around. You can give them orders, such as getting in a vehicle or moving to a particular spot. The few times I tried using this function did not really work out for me, as the bots would not do what I was trying to tell them. When the bots are defending a flag, they will oftentimes just crouch right next to it all in one big huddle, waiting for an enemy to enter their sights. There is also a small quirk where bots will oftentimes crouch-walk to where they need to go rather than sprinting.
The performance of the game is another problem. Depending on how good your computer is will greatly dictate how many bots you can have and what mods will work well. I, for example, can only have about one hundred bots before the game drops frames enough to be unplayable. This is not always the case, however, as the size and complexity of the map also play into the performance of the game. The mods you have installed can also affect how long the game takes to start up as all the mods are loaded before you can play anything. The game is not an unoptimized mess, but it certainly could use some improvements.
Ravenfield is a very fun game to play. It is a game that replicates the best parts of Battlefield and other big-scale FPS games. The main strength of the game is its abundance of mods and customization options that allow for a very large amount of replayability. The performance and AI in the game do hold it back. However, I do not think that these two issues make it completely unfun. If you like the epic large-scale battles of Battlefield or similar games but don’t like the multiplayer aspect, then I would highly recommend picking up Ravenfield. If I ever feel the need to relax and play a low-stress shooter, this game is my go-to.