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C.A.R.D.S. RPG The Misty Battlefield Review: Too Ambitious For Its Own Good

Platforms: PC (version reviewed), PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch
Genre: Roguelike, Deckbuilding, Turn-Based, Strategy, Fantasy

The rise of roguelike deckbuilder games has been notable, with titles like Balatro, Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire, and Slay the Spire gaining popularity. These games provide a unique gaming experience, blending strategy, addictive gameplay loops, and deckbuilding. Players are tasked with constructing powerful decks to overcome opponents.

That’s not the case with developer Acquire’s latest roguelike deckbuilder blends SRPG adventure, C.A.R.D.S. RPG: The Misty Battlefield. While the overall packaging is enticing for players to shuffle their cards, the game’s deckbuilding system and combat encounters lack the required variety to keep things exciting in extended playthroughs.

 

Limited Stakes

In this game, players lead the Clausewitz Battalion, a mercenary group on a mission to halt deadly Chimera experiments in the Fahftania kingdom. All of the Clausewitz Battalion has eight units in total, five default and three unlockable. On the battlefield, the characters are presented in chibi forms, offering a visually appealing contrast to the game’s subdued aesthetics. Players strategically place units on the battlefield, resembling a board game. Players start with five unique Clausewitz Battalion members, each with distinct traits, movement and attack capabilities, stats, and weaknesses.

During encounters, players have 3 turns to use their deck of cards against weaker opponents and 5 turns for boss fights. However, the game’s deck lacks variety, as the same set of cards is shared across all units (Captain, Archer, Warrior, Assassin, etc), which limits strategic diversity. The available cards include basic and debuff cards, leading to repetitive gameplay as players progress through stages. For example, if you are given a set of cards with attack abilities tailored for the Archer type while using the Captain unit, the attack points are significantly lower. There is no option to change the set of cards unless you skip your turn, which allows the opponent to make its move. In any case, there is no way to avoid this situation, and you must use the cards you have to defeat the opponent.

The level design is uninspired, featuring straightforward layouts with minimal tactical terrain features. The game introduces the Strategist Skills feature to enhance party stats, but the process of earning “Obtainable” points to increase these stats is tedious and unrewarding. Additionally, the power gap between the player’s cavalry and subsequent enemy groups is too substantial, which diminishes the impact of stat increases.

 

A House of Cards

Despite these shortcomings, the game features impressive voice acting and Japanese voice-over that effectively heighten the tension in battlefield scenarios. Paired with captivating 2D visuals, the game aims to immerse players in the epic saga of a kingdom in turmoil striving to reclaim its victory. The fog feature adds an intriguing layer of challenge, shrouding the battlefield and requiring players to rely on their instincts to determine if they are close to an enemy or a facility box, adding an extra dimension of strategy to the gameplay experience.

One positive aspect of the game is the level-up system. In this system, every win or inflicting more damage than the opponent results in a character’s status levelling up, increasing selected stats. This mechanism helps to increase the character’s base HP and improve their overall health status, which can be crucial for survival in the game.

However, it can be a double-edged sword. If a character has been inflicted damage from a previous duel and is thrown into battle by the enemy, the chance of surviving or winning the combat can be slim. To break through this situation, players will need to use defence cards and potion cards throughout the battle.

In conclusion, while the concept of merging SRPGs and deck-building is promising, C.A.R.D.S. RPG: The Misty Battlefield lacks the depth and variety needed to realize this hybrid concept fully. It’s like trying to build a house on a foundation of quicksand: while the idea may be great, the lack of the fundamentals means it won’t stand the test of time.

 

Pros

  • Cute chibi characters.
  • Impressive Japanese voice-over.
  • The fog feature adds challenge.
  • Surviving is made easier by the level-up system.

Cons

  • Shared card decks across all characters/units.
  • Limited variety of cards.
  • There is a huge power gap compared to the enemies.
  • Repetitive gameplay as players progress through stages.
  • Uninspiring level designs.
  • Earning “Obtainable” points can be tedious.

 

FINAL SCORE: 50/100

Review copy provided by the publisher. C.A.R.D.S. RPG: The Misty Battlefield is now available on PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam.

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