Review

Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle

Coming straight from Cygames, Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle is a story-based adaptation of
the collectible card game app. You play as a youth who meets up with Hiro Ryugasaki, protagonist of
the Shadowverse anime, and joins Tensei Academy’s Shadowverse club. It seems the club is suffering
from a lack of members, and the student council will only let it continue operations if it manages to
find enough members—and if they can manage to win the Shadowverse National Tournament.

Differing from the Shadowverse app courtesy of its story mode, Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle is nevertheless quite a ways away from being a gripping narrative. The presence of characters
from the Shadowverse anime is a pleasant bonus, but utterly meaningless to anyone without any prior
exposure to the franchise. Points are given for giving players the option of playing as either a boy or a
girl upon starting the game; however, there are no character customization options given at the outset.

The story largely revolves around your pursuits as a Shadowverse player, seeking new players and
building your skills as the Nationals draw closer. Plenty of obstacles present themselves, not the least of
which your student council president. You could charitably consider this “Love Live! with card games”,
given the emphasis on keeping the Shadowverse club alive. While the characters are pleasant enough
and nobody comes off as particularly annoying, it’s quite obvious this story is merely a means to an
end. Special consideration, however, goes to the animated cutscenes peppered throughout: they are
vibrant and eye-catching, and I can only hope the Shadowverse anime looks just as good. Character
models and locations are bright and colorful but otherwise generic, outside of the handful of named
story characters (many of which are lifted from the anime).

So with the story being such a bare-bones framework, how is the base card game? “Inoffensive,”
in a word, although this does belie the strength of the game’s mechanics. Shadowverse draws heavily from Hearthstone’s influence, not unlike how Force of Will drew from Magic The Gathering: two players take turn playing cards and attacking each other’s life points with summoned monster cards in an effort to drive their opponent’s life points to zero, all while trying to protect their own points. In a twist on the
Hearthstone formula, players can evolve a certain number of cards per game for a power boost or an
added effect, with players that take the second turn gaining an extra evolution per match. This is a
decent bit of strategy; players who go second have the advantage of an extra card being drawn at the
start of their first turn, while also getting the extra evolution.

Further strategy can be found via the various “crafts”, the strategic archetypes in Shadowverse.
Functioning akin to Magic: The Gathering’s colors or Hearthstone’s classes, the crafts determine the kind of cards you can use, and by extension how you’ll be playing the game. These playstyles have
unique mechanics that trigger in-game. For example, Dragoncraft decks can activate Overdrive mode
once you acquire seven Play Points (which goes hand-in-hand with Dragoncraft cards that increase
your Play Points). Meanwhile, Bloodcraft cards focus on paying health to trigger effects. There are seven
overall playstyles at the outset of the game, enough to be initially bewildering but few enough that you
can easily remember how they function. Cards from one type of deck cannot be used in another
(Dragoncraft decks can’t use Bloodcraft cards), but each deck archetype has enough cards to ensure that
there are ample opportunities to develop your own fun strategies.

There are also ample opportunities to gain new cards. The result is a fine little loop of going to
new areas; dueling against new NPCs; and slowly earning new cards, rupees, and card packs, all while
earning newer and stronger deck recipes that utilize rarer and rarer cards. It’s a bit of a grind, all things told, but the frequent interruptions from the story help ease the tedium. There are also a lot of quality-of-life details that help blunt the edge. Losing a match, for example, immediately sends you to a prompt asking if you want an immediate rematch with the current deck you were using.

The meat and potatoes of Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle are the duels themselves. The basic
interface is functional and clean. The menus are optimized for either touch-screen use on the Switch or
the use of joypads. The screen is clear and there’s plenty of space, with unobtrusive prompts for
clarifying card effects. Attack animations and cut-ins are flashy but don’t overstay their welcome. Some
rare cards have quick, nifty-looking intro animations when they’re summoned, but for the most part the
duels themselves are just thumbnails floating over a background. There are voice clips for every card,
but nothing particularly memorable about the performances. Special mention to the Dragon Warrior
card sounding like a gruff old man, for whatever reason. Duels feature unique music depending on the
type of craft used by the opponent, so you don’t have to worry about battle themes looping in your head
until your brain melts, but the music isn’t particularly memorable by any means. The backgrounds for
fights vary depending on your in-game location, which is also a nice touch—far better than battles
taking place on a generic grid, even if the backgrounds are nevertheless sterile.

Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle also features an online mode where you can enter ranked
leader boards or play free matches online. The service was not ready at the time of the review, but
players can look forward to a battle pass system for earning extra in-game cards. Finally, all copies of
Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle feature codes for in-game benefits for the default Shadowverse app.
All in all, Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle is an inoffensive but otherwise unremarkable card
game on the Switch. It’s a fun alternative to Hearthstone, and presumably fans of the Shadowverse
anime will enjoy having a new platform for enjoying the game. However, Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle does precious little to draw in newer players. The visuals are generic, and while the base card
game is fun there is little else of note. Fans of the Shadowverse app and anime will no doubt find plenty
to sink their teeth into here. Newcomers may well avoid the $50 price tag and just try out the app to see
if they’re interested in battling champions in Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle .

#Shadowverse #Champions #Battle

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