Raji: An Ancient Epic is an action adventure game that is based around Indian culture. It was developed by indie studio Nodding Head Games and was published by Super.com to consoles and PC in August and October of 2020.
Raji and her brother Golu are street performers. Raji walks the tightrope while Golu tells stories about ancient demons that incest roamed the lands. Except suddenly the story isn’t just a story anymore and demons come out of nowhere, killing and stealing people off the streets, including Golu. As Raji tries to stop the demons, she herself is slain. Resurrected by the deities themselves, it’s up to Raji to find her brother, and stop the demon horde that has swept across the land.
The story itself is sort of basic, and that’s the gist of it. Raji never really has any true dialogue aside from screaming Golus’ name every time she sees him getting swept off further. The interesting part is that there are two Deities who talk between each other mostly as they narrate Raji’s adventure, Durga and Vishnu. They talk about how Raji has to have the determination to keep moving on unless she wants to lose her brother forever, or how much she seems to be steeling her resolve to do more than just save her brother.
My absolute favourite part of the game when it comes to storytelling though is easily learning more about the Indian Deities themselves. Now I’m not sure if the stories you can come across are 100% accurate or not, or if the developers themselves added a little fluff to it all to make it more compelling, but that’s exactly what it was, compelling. I enjoyed getting to a new section that told the stories, like about the Avatars Of Shiva, or the birth of Durga. It was all fantastically done.
When I first started the game, I thought it was mostly going to be a walking simulator, I really did. But when the game started to tutorialize me on combat, I was very surprised. What I found was something that felt like a top down Prince Of Persia, and I loved it even more, as that’s one of my favourite game series. The way Raji can dodge attacks, or spin on a column to hit everything around her felt fantastic to do. As the enemies get close to death you get to do an execution on them, that ends up healing you in the process. The one downside is that if you’re in the middle of a good combo, you may not see the button to execute them, as they have to stand still for a second for the game to register it.
When I was in the middle of playing the game, it actually got a big update called the “Definitive Edition” patch. This brought with it many tweaks. Like the ability for the audio to be spoken in Hindu. Along with difficulty settings that I honestly wish were there when I first started it up, as I honestly may have played on Easy right from the get go, given the chance. The combat starts off simplistic enough, but eventually it starts to get really bogged down, especially when there’s multiple kinds of opponents on screen, and the fact you don’t get invincibility after taking damage. So it’s easy for enemies to get you in a corner sometimes and just beat you until you’re dead. This goes doubly for the couple bosses that you see as well. It’s easy for them to kill you quickly, and the fact that they have such large health pools, needing to restart a fight plenty of times until you learn their moves was a pain. It took a lot of the joy out of it in all honesty. Especially when it came to the last boss. By the time it finally fell, I didn’t feel a sense of joy, only relief because it took so friggin long for it to die.
Aside from the combat, there is exploration, quite a bit of it too. This also helps harken back to my whole point of a “top down Prince Of Persia game”. You run up walls, parkour across platforms, slide down flags and banners. It was all an exceptional experience and I loved the exploration the most. There’s even a benefit to exploring, as you can find skill points to put into your weapons to give them better abilities. Like making your weapons shoot lightning out to all the enemies, or giving them a high chance to freeze enemies so they can shatter to pieces so they die right away. I spend minutes deciding what skill to increase. The only downside is that once you get a specific weapon in the game, another gets taken away, which sucked because the one that gets taken was the main one I used. But I learned to deal with it, as the new one was pretty sweet.
- Learning About Deities
- Definitive Edition Gave More Options
- Exploration Is Fun
- Barebones Story
- Dull Main Character
- Boss HP Pools Are So Large
Raji An Ancient Epic was a surprise to say the least. With fun gameplay, gorgeous locales, and learning more about Indian culture, I hope we see a sequel to it. I also want more games set around Indian culture, because this did it so well! I’d say the game is definitely worth a buy.
Game & Developer Information
Developer Website: Nodding Heads Games
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: Super.com
Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: £19.99/€24.99 Europe / $24.99 North America
Trophy Information: 21. 0 / 0 / 0 / 21