Thanks to NIS AMERICA for the review code
Title: Culdcept Revolt
Release Date: 10/03/2017
In a world ruled by an evil dictator known only as The Count, the outside world is barricaded by his evil group, trapping people inside a small city. As the Dictator plots to eliminate everyone capable of using cards that might be able to stop his regime, you take control of an amnesiac who joins the small resistance group to fight for freedom!
Despite having some easy to understand menus to guide newcomers, the presentation as a whole is mixed nonetheless. By far the biggest thing that most players will notice is just how blurry the character sprites are during cutscenes and battles. While the monster sprites aren’t nearly as bad, when it comes to moving a human character around a drop in quality is really noticeable, and I find it a bit baffling with just how poor it looks compared to the rest of the game.
Battle animations that play in battle scenes aren’t too much better, using very basic 3D models to showcase attacks and effects, which leads to the design of the boards themselves, battle backgrounds and the card/NPC artwork coming off as the best parts of the visual design.
The musical score is also hit and miss. Some early game tracks are pretty forgettable and boring, but other tracks such as the one that kicks in when someone is halfway towards reaching the Magic Point Goal are really energetic and exciting to listen to. Still nothing that would be worthy of a CD, though.
If you’ve played the Command Board Minigame from Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, or anything similar to Fortune Street, then you have already have played one major half of this game, which revolves around competitive territory building, so it should be really easy to get the hang of if you have even the slightest bit of familiarity.
After an initial tutorial for the single player that introduces the mechanics, the game opens up some more to allow for complete battles with CPU opponents during the story mode, where you and up to three others must travel to every gate on a game board, all while having your monsters to claim enough territory along the way. Once all the gates are reached, you get a small bonus and your monsters are cured of a fatigue status that kicks in after they engage in a battle or if too many turns pass. Once a monster is free of a fatigue status, you can choose to alter their territory at the end of your turn, which can range from letting you upgrade the toll fee for people that land on that space and fail to defeat the monster, to simply letting you swap out the creature currently on the tile for a different one from your hand, leading to some strategy as you also need to make sure that you have enough magic points to afford the tolls or summoning costs you’ll encounter on the field.
So this all sounds confusing, right? Well, thankfully Culdcept’s tutorial is rather helpful, introducing you to the game’s core mechanics in a way that actually makes the game feel deceptively complex, as in all honesty the game is pretty much a mix between Monopoly and Yu-Gi-Oh. Since the main objective is to gain as many Magic points as possible to reach the set goal of the board, and then make it back to a gate without going below that number, it’s pretty much required that you focus on summoning your monsters in spots where the other players will be more likely to land, especially if you end up placing a beefy monster and leveling said monster up to max. (as it can drain a whopping 2,200 G or more that way)
To help you trap opponents, there are other cards that can be added to your deck besides monsters. Sometimes you’ll get a spell card that can increase the MHP or Attack power of a monster on the field to make them more resistant to enemy forces, which can force other players to pay the toll if they aren’t able to defeat the beefed-up creature. Likewise, there are also cards that can force you or other players to have a specific dice roll the next turn, meaning if the CPU is three spaces away from your hi-leveled Ogre Monster, you can play Holy Word 3 and force them to engage the enemy, and it feels incredibly satisfying to have the plan work for an easy win.
Unfortunately, despite the very enjoyable core game, there are a few quirks here and there that can make the single player experience a bit of a pain. While you are able to speed up battle animations and movement, along with skipping story related cutscenes, you aren’t allowed to skip battle animations entirely, or even turn off the occasional comments the CPU opponents will throw at you every now and then, which can make battles drag on a bit more than they already do. The next minor issue comes from the fact that in order to unlock new card packs to get better cards, you need to play through the Story Mode, meaning that if you want to jump straight into the Online Mode (not currently live as of this review) you probably won’t last that long unless you progress through the story mode to unlock the ability to get better cards, when in all honesty having all the card packs available from the beginning but having it so that getting enough currency to buy them is the challenge would have worked much better. It’s a shame too, since I can see this being a fantastic online multiplayer game, and I have a feeling it will become just that when enough people progress through the Story Mode.
In conclusion, Culdcept Revolt surprised me with just how fun the battle system was. Instead of being as complicated and confusing as I feared, it ended up being akin to other games that I’ve played before, and the tutorials helped to explain the extra nicknacks that Culdcept introduces. For those who enjoy board game titles like Fortune Street along with classic trading card games, Culdcept Revolt is a perfect mix, and while there are a few quirks and battles can really drag after a while (taking an eternity to complete, especially if you’re playing with more than two players) the game is still an enjoyable romp, and I hope that future entries in this franchise get brought over as well! If this interesting and strange sounding game appeals to you, then I think it’s well worth taking the plunge to buy it. I give Culdcept Revolt an 8 out of 10.