From a distance, Raji: An Ancient Epic caught my eye immediately. There are some things that show you the promise of a pretty quality game right away, and from the animations on screen and the art design, Raji had it. So, when I had the chance to play the game and talk to the developers for a while, I took it.
You take on the role of Raji, a young girl chosen by the gods to defend humanity as demons lay waste to the world. I played the prologue, which featured a chat between two of the gods as they observed Raji making her way through the world. One of them is skeptical, while the other convinces them that Raji is the right choice.
The most impressive thing about Raji, what drew my eye initially, is the fluidity of movement. That's not just in the traversal as you make your way through a level, but the movement in combat as well. I can't explain it better than you'll see it in the trailer above, but it just looks fantastic, and even more important, it feels right.
Movement in combat isn't really limited in Raji, and the animation reflects that. Raji bounces around the screen, and not just in overly flashy ways either, but it all just makes sense. Never did I feel frustrated by the controls, moreso I was engaged by how responsive they were to my inputs and in what was displayed as Raji moved about.
God of War is the most obvious comparison to Raji, in more ways than one. The combat and traversal on the screen is definitely reminiscent of the God of War series, mostly those before the recent release last year. While God of War has some more AAA shine to it, from what I played Raji can go toe-to-toe in terms of movement and animation.
Another parallel to God of War is that Raji is going to deeply explore both Hindu and Balinese mythology. When talking to the developers, they said this was a very important undertaking to them, as they saw most games depicting Indian culture in some way did it superficially. That the setting or the use of mythologies from that part of the world was just the dressing for the game.
Raji plans to give insight into those mythologies and expose them to the gaming world at large in a deeper way. Hinduism has a vast and deep well to draw from, with a massive pantheon of important figures to engage with. Seeing a new culture explored is another reason to keep an eye on Raji.
Raji is incredibly promising, and I am definitely looking forward to its release. If you are looking for some crisp feeling hack and slash gameplay, or are intrigued by the idea of learning and seeing more about Hindu and Balinese mythologies, you should be interested too.
Raji: An Ancient Epic is set to release early next year for Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4.