Street Fighter III of Fighters.
Legend of Raven has been laying dormant for almost a year, with our latest preview of the title written by Blake Peterson in early September at a PS Vita event. After announcing that it would release for both PS4 and Xbox One last year in November, we have hardly heard a peep, so it was with eyebrow-raising astonishment that I found the game ready for a demonstration at Microsoft's pre-PAX ID@Xbox event.
Originally known as Yatagarasu, Legend of Raven draws from the core system of Street Fighter III, one of the most treasured fighters in the hardcore community, and has been carefully crafted by former King of Fighters developers. The roster may only have eight characters, but it shows that a high-quality fighter from an extremely small indie studio (in this case, Nicalis) can be done.
The underlying story, more deeply embedded compared to other fighting titles, revolves around Japan in 1926 in a timeline where World War II did not happen. A revolution sparks from the friction between those who hope to return Japan to the land of the gods, leading the government to enforce an iron curtain, suppress all information, and create a group of assassins collectively named the Yatagarasu, based off the three-legged crow meant to represent divine will.
The roster of characters should be familiar to fighting fans at least in spirit. Kou and Crow plays similar to a shotokan character like Ryu/Ken. The burly masked Chadha plays like heavy grappler like Alex with rotational-input throws, the boxer Jet has the dodging and feints of Dudley, and Jyuzumaru is essentially Fei Long with rekkas and anti-aerial kicks. Meanwhile, Shimo and Hina both have katanas that increase the range of their normals and turn them into Samurai Warrior-type characters.
Likewise, the system will feel similar to SFIII veterans with a set of normals, normal variants, high and low blocks, a super jump, throw, a overhead, and EX moves that cost a half-meter of energy to use. However, there are more than several differences. Characters can select one of two supers at the start of the match, not to disable one, but to make the chosen super more powerful. High and low parries are activated by pressing the right bumper button at the proper time. Holding both strong attack buttons will charge an unblockable attack, though it can be parried.
Overall, Legend of Raven makes the case for intense, old-school fighters and should be considered a serious contender and sleeper hit. It will release for Xbox One, PS4, and Vita, hopefully by the end of 2014.