If you’ve hopped into your first Vessel in Ravenbound and are unsure what you’re doing, this beginner’s guide will give you the tips and tricks you need to get past the first few bosses.
Not quite a soulslike, Ravenbound is a new action roguelite game developed by Systemic Reaction (Avalance Studios Group) and available on Steam for PC. Inspired by the creatures of Scandinavian folklore, players must make their way through the open world before taking out powerful imprisoned gods. With permadeath mechanics and a unique card system, getting started in the game can feel like a challenge.
Ravenbound Beginner Guide
Players start the game by completing the tutorial, which autoloads. You’ll start with a sword and shield character but will be able to unlock different weapon variations the more you play, including dual-wielded axes and a longsword. Here’s a quick rundown of the HUD so you know what you’re looking at when you start.
- Health: The green bar is your health pool and can be increased through specific cards. When you get hit, a portion of the bar will turn into Gray Health, which can be regained by successfully attacking enemies.
- Focus: The blue bar is your focus. When you have full focus, you can hit the circle button on your controller to enable Surge, which increases damage output.
- Fragment/Rage Meter: Fragments can be gained by killing enemies or opening chests. When the player gets three Fragments, they can hit up on the D-pad to Empower them and unlock more Cards. Empowering Fragments will fill your Rage meter.
Core Gameplay Concepts
Your character is called a Vessel and is randomized each time you die in the game. In this case, the real “you” are the cards you accumulate, which can be unlocked throughout each playthrough to give your Vessel more powerful gear and passive bonuses. Don’t worry so much about losing this first character, as you’ll likely go through many Vessels throughout your gameplay experience.
When Vessels die, they experience permadeath and you must restart from the very start of the game.
The game’s tutorial will walk you through the basic movement mechanics in the game, including:
- Block: Timing a block at the perfect time will execute a parry that knocks down smaller enemies.
- Dodge: Dodging at the perfect time will initiate Frenzied for additional damage.
- Grappling Hook: The Grappling Hook can be used to reach high-up areas.
- Focus/Surge: The focus bar is the blue bar under your HP. When this fills up, the player can initiate Surge, which greatly boosts damage.
You’ll also learn how to Empower Fragments and choose cards, which dictate your gear and passive abilities.
Ravenbound Gameplay Walkthrough
Start by going to the blue mission marker, which designates the location for the Pillar of Hatred. This will provide you with Mana. Mana is your main resource and is needed to unlock more Cards, which dictate your Gear, Weapons, and Relics.
Use your block and parry to take out the enemies. Once you clear the mobs at the Pillar of Hatred, remember to walk up to it and press Triangle or Y to get the Mana from it. Once you’ve obtained the Mana, hit right on the D-pad to use your Raven’s Eye ability to find a Raven Tower, which you’ll need to step on to turn back into a Raven so you can travel to the next location quickly.
Make your way to the Green Quest Marker, the level’s sidequest. This will lead you to the area’s Town, and completing the quest from the villager will provide you with 10 gold, which you can use to roll more Cards or to Heal.
Here are a few in-depth guides to help explain the Healing and Card mechanics in the game:
Facing the Level Boss
After completing the sidequest, you’ll need to clear mobs which are indicated with icons across the map. Boss mobs will provide stronger Fragments, which in turn will provide a better chance to roll higher-level cards.
In the beginning, however, you should try taking out the basic white mobs, as these are the easiest to defeat. Once your Rage Meter fills to the first line, the boss will unlock and will be indicated by the blue quest marker, indicating the main boss for the level. Typically, this will require taking out 3 or 4 camps of mobs.
The first boss, Hatred’s Tempest, in Ravenbound is actually quite easy. In the first half of the fight, the boss will have a three-slash combo. Blocking or parrying is ineffective, so use L2 to dodge the attacks instead. If you want max efficiency from this fight, then you can Dodge, Dodge, Parry the last attack to build up the most amount of Focus.
At half-health, the boss will transform and will start unleashing differently-timed attacks. It will do a double slash move and a frost move that has some range. Stay at a distance and download the timing from these attacks before taking them out.
Understanding Rage and Red Chests
When your Rage Meter fills to the first diamond, you’ll receive a negative buff each time you Empower Fragments. Opening chests also have this effect, but only for your next Empower Fragment pull.
Negative buffs will empower enemies and bosses, making it harder to continue killing enemies on that level. We recommend facing the boss as soon as possible so you don’t build up too much rage.
Ultimately, Ravenbound is a pretty challenging game, and the goal is to try to get as far as you possibly can without dying. Hopefully, however, this guide will help you get started and understand the core concepts in the game.
For all our guides, see our Ravenbound Section.