By Steve Baltimore / August 10th, 2021
|Title||Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle|
|Release Date||August 10th, 2021|
|Genre||Collectible Card Game|
I’ve been a fan of collectible card games for many years, but I have never played Shadowverse, despite seeing a lot of friends play it online. When I saw that Marvelous had announced Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle for the Switch, it got my attention. This release would play like the online game, but also have a story based around the anime release. When an opportunity came up to check this out, I jumped on it instantly. Let’s see if we have a great card game, and if the story is good enough to please fans of the anime.
The game begins with our protagonist, the new transfer student at Tensei Academy. You quickly run into Hiro Ryugasaki, self-professed superfan of the popular card game, Shadowverse. Along with his friends, Mimori and Kazuki, they want to find the Shadowverse club at their school. Hiro gets you to play a game of Shadowverse with him right off the bat. He sees you are very skilled and begs you to join them in their search, and you agree. You soon find the club but there is only one member, a boy named Rei Saotome. He seems pretty beaten down when you meet him, but he is not opposed to you helping get the club back on its feet. The problem is you’re a few members short and the student council president, Kagura Kirisame, has set some pretty lofty goals in order for you to have the club recognized. Not only will you have to find a few more members, but you will have to win the national Shadowverse championship. Hiro and the protagonist will not be deterred as they set out to restore the Shadowverse club to its former glory, no matter what it takes.
The story here is pretty straightforward, but I have to say it is very entertaining. While this doesn’t follow the anime story, all of the characters retain their wonderful personalities. I found myself wanting to do each of the character side quests to learn more about them and see what adventures they would go on next. I have to say, this is certainly one of those times the character work is greater than the overall story, but that’s not a bad thing at all. When the characters shine like these do, it’s very easy to keep interest in the plot.
Graphically, Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle looks great on the Switch. It retains the art style from the anime, and fans will notice many locations from it right off the bat. The character models look great and all the environments are nicely done as well. Like most other collectible card games, the cards contain a ton of fantastic artwork. This art includes many fantasy type creatures such as dragons, elves, fairies, undead monsters and more. Each of the follower cards are voiced when they enter play, and all of the special commander cards are as well. Some cards will even have animations that play when they enter the field. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, I was getting those Yu-Gi-Oh! vibes as well at this point. Nonetheless, the presentation here is very nicely done, and the game runs just as well handheld as it does docked.
The soundtrack in Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle is one of the best I’ve found in this genre. This is partly because a lot of these tracks are variations of songs found in the anime, but they fit this world to a tee. There are plenty of laid back tunes for the lighter moments with the characters just hanging out, some fast-paced battle tunes that gear you up for a fight, and some more somber tunes for some of the more emotional scenes. The game can be played with a full English dub or in Japanese with subtitles. Both casts do a great job, so this one really just comes down to your personal choice. I went with the Japanese voices because I was watching the anime while playing and that was the cast I was used to.
Now let’s dig into the most important part, the gameplay. As the protagonist, you will choose how you want to spend your day. You can roam around town and have Shadowverse Showdowns with various folks in town to earn new cards and pre-made deck layouts (Deck Codes), or maybe you want to take on some of the game’s many side missions, the choice is yours. Doing character quests will usually make time pass until the next day, and some missions will take place during the night only.
When roaming around looking for a Shadowverse opponent, you’ll notice each one will display a rank and a deck class. Your rank, of course, starts at the bottom and goes up as you compete and win the various Shadowverse tournaments. You can challenge anyone that isn’t more than two ranks above you and earn some pretty sweet cards and deck codes. You will also level up the deck class you are currently using. This will earn you some items, and certain quests cannot be taken on until your rank with certain classes is up to par.
I was a bit worried that Shadowverse would be complicated when I first started playing, but those fears were gone very quickly. It’s very easy to pick up and play, but has a surprising amount of depth that keeps you coming back for more. First off, you will need to get used to each of the card classes and their play styles. Each of the seven classes will have unique leaders and spell cards that you can use to pummel your opponent into the ground. Each round you will be given a play point, and these points will be used to summon followers, cast spells, or put amulets into play. Just like many other games in this genre, lots of these have various special abilities and triggers you will have to make work toward your advantage. Depending on who goes first, you will have two or three chances to evolve a follower after a few rounds. Using these evolutions at the right time is very much a key to victory, or defeat, as well.
Each class also has a signature effect which gives you a big boost in battle. For example, Dragoncraft decks will have an Overflow effect. This means after seven play points have been used, the Overflow effect on certain cards will be activated. These usually give your followers a nice buff or useful ability. Runecraft decks have Spellboost effect, and cards with this effect will either reduce the casting cost of other cards or power them up. The game does a great job explaining most things except for how these signature effects work, but very early in the game a puzzle counter will open up. This counter will give you specific cards and conditions for winning a game in one round. This is very helpful in figuring out just how all the mechanics of these cards work, and you can earn nice rewards in the process.
At the end of the day, I have to say I had a great time with Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle. The characters and story are great, and the game is very easy to pick up and play. The online modes will let you battle with your friends online and this adds a ton of replay value to the game as well. I think some of the later boss battles are completely unfair and will frustrate some players. You just have to stick with it and change your deck up accordingly until you take them down. I put right around 35 hours in this one and there is still some post game stuff I could take on. If you’re a fan of the Shadowverse anime, this one is well worth your coin at the $49.99 price tag. Fans looking for a good collectible card game to pass their time with on the Switch would do well to snag this one up as well.
Game was provided by the publisher.
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