Realm Royale is the latest in a genre that has taken the world by storm. Battle royale titles exploded onto the gaming scene just over a year ago, with games like Fortnite and PUBG proving to be incredibly popular. Of course, this led to a whole host of developers trying to create their own versions.
Developed by Hi-Rez Studios, Realm Royale is built upon another game known as Paladins. This team already has plenty of experience in making games that try to break the dominance of one or two bigger titles. The question is whether that will put them in a good position to challenge the current battle royale leaders.
The first thing to note is that Realm Royale is not trying to shake things up too much. It is very much the typical battle royale game you will no doubt be very familiar with. There is little in the way of new additions or gameplay changes that truly make it distinct from the many competitors on the market. One hundred players drop from the sky and you can work together as part of a small team or individually, with the aim being to be the last person alive.
Where Realm Royale does do some things differently is that players can choose between five unique classes. These come in the form of the Mage, Assassin, Engineer, Hunter, and Warrior. Each has their own types of weapons that you can craft and special abilities to use. Although they don’t come with extra health, the different classes do move at different speeds and their abilities can give you an advantage in combat or getting out of trouble quickly.
However, they never seem to become too powerful. These special abilities, which can range from speed boosts to magic fireball attacks, never make the overall game feel too unbalanced. There’s never a point where an enemy with one particular special ability will be able to completely overwhelm you. Achieving this is something the developers can be proud of as it is a tricky proposition to get right. Obviously, the classes help to keep combat interesting and allow some experimentation in how you approach rounds.
A leveling system also ensures you are properly rewarded for your time investment. Rather than just give away cosmetic items, Realm Royale unlocks new abilities the more you play. In keeping with the design philosophy described earlier, they are not necessarily better or more powerful abilities. Instead, they offer more diversity in how you can play the game.
Realm Royale has another little quirk that can help it stand out a little. When you are eliminated from a match you will turn into a small chicken. Survive 30 seconds and you’ll respawn as your original character, get caught and you are out for good. This addition creates some great opportunities for action and fun when a teammate is suddenly scrambling around trying to avoid opponent gun fire all while clucking away alerting everyone to their presence.
Another nice touch is the Forge. Scattered throughout the map, they take on the role of supply drops in other battle royale games, giving players the best weapons and items. Getting them isn’t as easy as just lucking into where a crate lands on the map, though. You have to actually work to get your gear. Gather enough material from dismantling weapons and you can choose to craft a special weapon. Once you begin, other players will be notified that you are using the Forge and you will have to defend it for an agonizing 60 seconds or so.
This effectively removes a degree of the randomness that plagues other battle royale games when it comes to getting the very best items. It is much more satisfying to earn that legendary weapon rather than simply stumbling across it by chance. Forges also concentrate the action during the endgame. With players converging on these areas to give them the best chance of surviving, no one will have to spend minutes searching for enemies. You have a good idea where they will be and this keeps things interesting right up until the final moments.
Although it gets a lot of things right, Realm Royale also struggles in some disappointing ways. There’s a definite lack of variety when it comes to the weapons. You’ll find yourself picking up the same things over and over again in each round, so it can become stale very quickly. The actual gunplay suffers from a lack of precision and feels very weak.
Then you come to the wholly bland visuals. Realm Royale doesn’t look particularly bad. It just completely fails to present itself in a way that will stick out in such a crowded market. It is an aesthetic that borrows heavily from classic fantasy tropes and reminds you of typical MMOs.
Unfortunately, the soundscape is just as uninspiring. What music there is feels like placeholder and the audio effects leave plenty to be desired. Perhaps these will improve with future updates as the developer works on enhancements, yet for now it is a source of complaint.
Taking those criticisms into consideration, Realm Royale is still worth giving a go. It brings a few interesting ideas to the table and tries not to emulate Fortnite too much. Escaping the issues with the visuals and unimaginative weapons or environments is just something the developers have not quite managed to do. If you don’t think those problems will bother you, Realm Royale could become your new favorite in the battle royale scene.