Chaotic: Shadow Warriors Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii
Chaotic: Shadow Warriors box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, DS 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
There's Mugic in the Air
by Nathan Meunier

With roots as a card battling game that eventually morphed into a hit kids' cartoon, Chaotic: Shadow Warriors is made of the typical hyperactive, overstimulating stuff that most children simply thrive on. Plop them in front of the TV for a few episodes and then listen to them chatter about the inner-most complexities of the show. Sound unintelligible? It probably is. But even if you can't quite get into the cheeseball, self-referential plot concepts and terminology-thick dialogue, there are some sound gameplay concepts floating around here and there. You just might have to dig a little to find them.

Chaotic: Shadow Warriors screenshot

This game is clearly aimed at serious fans of the TV show. As such, it assumes you have a rock solid knowledge of the characters, terminology, and inner workings of the Chaotic universe from the very beginning. There's very little plot setup to fuss around with. Instead, it just throws you into the fray to sink or swim. Fortunately, you don't really have to crack the secret language code or be well-versed in the lexicon to get the gist of Chaotic: Shadow Warriors. All you need to know is there are battling beast warriors running around - some are your friends, others are not - and you can control a few of them to kick butt in turn-based encounters. The rest explains itself. Well, sort of.

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You play as Tom, a young lad who gets sucked into the world of Chaotic quite literally when he learns the strategic card game he so enjoys actually isn't as imaginary as he was led to believe. Of course, his obsessive knowledge of the game primes him to be quite the hero in this fantasy world. Perfect timing, considering a bunch of important Mugic fragments are mysteriously missing and Shadow Warriors with glowing red eyes seem to be taking over. Yeah, don't ask.

Chaotic: Shadow Warriors screenshot

A sizeable portion of the gameplay in Chaotic: Shadow Warriors focuses on exploratory adventuring in different areas found in the world of Perim. You'll wander around snaking pathways in search of secret items to pick up and important character encounters to jump into, as you move from one story-driven mission to the next. Falling into pits, touching blasts of fire, or winding up in water doesn't kill you per se, though you'll "port" back to the nearest checkpoint. The same thing happens when you get overrun by smaller enemies that roam around, like flying and crawling bugs. You're given a blaster rifle of sorts early-on to use to dispatch them, and shooting meandering pests does give you something else to do while you're exploring.

Light platforming and puzzle elements also appear sporadically during the quest. Unstable camera angles and an extremely limited range of character movement tend to get in the way of these stretches. Additionally, figuring out where you have to go is strangely confusing at odd times. There's a built-in feature that momentarily turns and points the camera in the direction you're meant to be traveling at the tap of a button. However, what you're meant to do isn't always clear, and it seems being in close proximity to hidden items or other hotspots can causes the camera to get "distracted." It's also hard to tell what you can and can't climb on in the terrain, since moving towards some visual elements that seem like they'd be fine for you to hop onto actually turn out to be impassible or on the far end of an invisible wall.

Chaotic: Shadow Warriors screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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