Culdcept celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Can the franchise stay relevant with its latest game, Culdcept Revolt for Nintendo 3DS? Read on to find out.
To be really honest, I’ve never played a game of Culdcept before I reviewed this game. Therefore, my perspective of the game will be of a newcomer’s standpoint. To give a vivid comparison of how the game flows, each round of Culdcept plays like a game of Monopoly… on steroids. On top of Magic (currency), you also hold up to 7 cards in your hand to unleash a variety of actions during your turn. For example, creature cards are required to acquire and defend “properties” and while spell and item cards are used to strengthen the gameplay.
Confused yet? It is hard to explain the full gameplay, especially in three sentences, and I doubt you will want to read on. Good thing is that the tutorial process was well crafted to allow newcomers like me to explore the multiple facets of the game. By the end of the tutorial, you should be accustomed to the general gameplay of Culdcept.
However, accustomed is not the same as mastering. The first few full rounds of Culdcept will be similar to just learning how to ride a bicycle. The game has nicely made an advice function to help newcomers out, and it does work initially. The AI helper is always quick to point out certain angles of the game that you might have missed, and even advice sound moves when you are unsure of what to do. If the AI deems that you should invade your opponent’s land, come hell or high water you should invade because high chances are, it is correct. As a result of the advice function, it is unlikely for you to feel demoralised or rage quit during the initial few campaign missions. However, even as the game tries its best to make the learning curve as gentle as possible, newcomers will definitely find the steep learning curve impeding their enjoyment initially.
That is when the attractiveness of Culdcept slowly seeps in. The more you play it, the more addicted you get. From not understanding a thing and just following the AI’s advice, to playing your own game, taking risk against the AI’s advice. The game slowly becomes your game and you finally understand the beauty of it.
Forming The Team
Part of the fun of Culdcept is building your own deck of 50 cards. The game starts you off with a well-rounded book, but as you progress and get new cards, you will want to form a stronger book of your own. Unfortunately, the game does not advise on how to create the best kind of deck, it is entirely up to you to trial and error with. You can create a more specialised deck or a more well-rounded deck depending on your strategy and only by understanding your own strategy can you build the best deck for yourself.
Single Player & Quest Mode
During the review, I was unable to test multiplayer aspect of the game, however, I did spend a good deal of time on the Single player and Quest Mode of the game.
Being the official storyline campaign, Quest Mode is likely where most will spend most of their time in. In each quest stage, a round of Culdcept will be played. Depending on your skill and luck, that can range from anywhere between 20 minutes to over 45 minutes (especially when the dice works against you). They are not exactly bite size, but it is always easy to continue from where you left off.
Quest stages are plentiful, with numerous side quests to keep you occupied along the way. Already, that should provide you with over 80 hours of gameplay. Though the main storyline is not too bad, it is hardly exceptional. Some of the plot for the side quest even felt forced and illogical. Overall the storyline felt like a subtle distraction at times, especially when you just want to start the next round of Culdcept. At best, the storyline is like a side-dish to the more awesome gameplay.
Single player CPU AI is somewhat of a hit or miss. At times, the AI may seem to have an unfair advantage against you (which I trust that it does not), yet sometimes they’re are the dumbest players around. Granted, luck plays a part in the game, but when your CPU ally is dragging you down in an alliance match while you’re carrying the team, sometimes it can be a bit frustrating.
One interesting thing about the game is how it presents your post-match statistics. After each match, a graphical and data representation of the game is produced for you to analyse. Interestingly, the game even allows you to screenshot the graphical data into the Nintendo 3DS’s photos app. Though each match is different, and it is unlikely that any analysis of the data is going to yield much for the upcoming matches, it is always good to relish in sweet victory before heading off for another.
Outside of Quest mode, there is also another single-player mode called “Solo Match”. It is basically a place for you to test out your deck of cards and any strategies associated with it. The mode allows you to set up a match as you wish, allowing you to set turn limits, choose CPU opponents, and even the map to play in. Though it provides for endless possibilities, it is unlikely you will step foot into it until you finish Quest Mode.
Graphics and Music
The graphics of Culdcept revolt get’s the job done. While the game sports a relatively mediocre JRPG-ish art style, the more western styled card designs are the more praiseworthy aspect of the game’s graphics. They are very detailed, as detailed as it can be given the 3DS’s screen.
The game even tried its hands at a few CGI cutscenes but still, it was just good enough to craft a narrative, nothing really jaw-dropping in particular.
Audio-wise, the game did a somewhat alright job as well. It is not amazing, and will definitely not give you an earworm but it gets the job done.
Overall, the main and centre-stage of Culdcept Revolt is the Culdcept Board+Card game. Although the rest of the game seemed mediocre, at least they got their core right. In no way is Culdcept an easily digestible game, and newcomers will definitely have much to learn, but the game has presented it in a way that even newcomers can eventually come to enjoy. If you’re a newcomer to Culdcept like me, don’t be afraid of the sophisticated gameplay. Give Culdcept a fair chance, and you will definitely enjoy it!
- Brilliantly Designed Cards
- Well designed tutorial and Advice feature for beginners
- Surprisingly addictive after mastery
- Large content
- Culdcept is inherently sophisticated and newcomers might take a while to fully enjoy
- Hit and Miss CPU AI
- Storyline, especially for side-quest, can be sub-par
Verdict: Not Served on a Golden Platter but at Least it is Hot Where it Counts
Culdcept Revolt releases for the Nintendo 3DS on 3 October 2017
A review code for Culdcept Revolt was provided by NIS America for the purpose of this review.