|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Activision||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Once you enter the combat phase, monsters take turns performing various actions, including Attack, Ability, Mugic, and Taunt. Each monster has several attacks to choose from, and you'll see symbols signifying what motion gestures are required in order to successfully pull off each attack. It all really comes down to simple up, down, or sideways swipes with the Wii Remote, and gesturing at the right time along with onscreen cues will afford you extra Action Points and other goodies that can help you during combat. It's an interesting system, but in practice, it doesn't feel satisfying, nor does it add anything of great value to battles.
Mugics are pretty much the focus of the story, and in battle, they are used like items. Some Mugics damage enemies, while others heal or add buffs to your own monsters. Abilities are used more like actual magic, allowing you to sacrifice equipment to be used to heal party members or damage enemies in a pinch.
The game's formula is simple and pretty repetitive. The world is surprisingly expansive and occasionally interesting to roam around in, but you'll be doing mostly the same things over and over. The story and gameplay just never come together to form any type of entertaining bond, and though we appreciate the attempts at mixing up traditional RPG gameplay, Shadow Warriors doesn't feel fresh or very fun.
In addition to the Story Mode, two players can go head to head in Versus Mode. Battles are mostly the same as in single-player, though defensive motion moves are stripped from the equation. This makes the combat feel even more mundane than usual, and ultimately, we don't see the multiplayer component offering much value to players.
Visually, there are some interesting elements to check out, and the draw distance is impressive at times. The framerate, though, runs at a steady lag, making the entire journey feel like something of a slog. There are a few polished pieces of texture work, but for the most part, the game looks like it was rushed out the door. Character models are blocky, and constant shimmer can be a real eyesore.
The music fares a bit better, with subtle themes that peak during moments of excitement. Some of the loops during combat, however, grow tiresome after hearing them for the umpteenth time. The sound effects are somewhat hit and miss; gunfire and spell casting are fun and rattling, while foot clamor and the rustle of grass sound tinny and fake.
Chaotic: Shadow Warriors is mostly solid, but uninteresting and repetitive gameplay, along with an overall lack of polish, make it a lackluster experience difficult to recommend to fans. Poor collision detection and floaty mechanics don't help much, either. There are some cool ideas here, though, and if the story were fine-tuned a bit (a lot, actually) and worked into the gameplay in a more meaningful way, Chaotic would probably be off to a good start. Motion controls in RPG-like gamplay aren't a bad thing, but they just aren't pulled off quite right here. Fans of the card game will want to remember there's no actual card gameplay here, but if they're just dying to see what Activision's done with their beloved mythology, there are worse games out on the market this holiday season.
CCC Freelance Writer