Chaotic: Shadow Warriors Review for Nintendo Wii

Chaotic: Shadow Warriors Review for Nintendo Wii

Not one to be left out of the video game loop, the Chaotic card game now comes to Wii – that is to say, the license, anyway, as the gameplay of Chaotic: Shadow Warriors is a monster battler that has nothing to do with actual card battles. This adventure-RPG does have a few compelling ideas fans might find entertaining, but is it worth your gaming dollars?

Chaotic: Shadow Warriors screenshot

It’s obvious going into the game that Shadow Warriors is made specifically with long-time fans in mind. You play as a young Chaotic player mixed up in a world of mythological creatures. Unless you’ve already got some grasp on the Chaotic universe, you’ll likely have a tough time keeping up with the story. Regardless, the adventure moves along with a pace that wastes no time with character development, and the dialogue is usually laughably bad. Lines such as, “I’ll knock you out so fast, you won’t even know,” are only the tip of the iceberg.

Luckily, you won’t need to know anything about the game’s characters or story in order to successfully navigate the world of Shadow Warriors. A voice from… somewhere tutors you on the basics, though there are some facets of the gameplay that are left a little fuzzy. Chaotic on Wii is completely quest-driven, and a handy camera system always points the way to your next objective.

You’ll travel through the game world in real-time, and the level design is a mix of corralled pathways, á la Fable, and more open areas with a bit of platforming. You’re given a gun early on in the game, and it’s used mostly to defeat small insect-like creatures as you make your way from one checkpoint to another. Your character doesn’t have a health bar, so if you take too much damage, you’ll simply port away to the nearest safe area.

Control of your character is mostly responsive, though there are occasional issues getting him to jump when you need him to. Jumping is also very loose and difficult to control midair, making the game’s platforming segments often quite frustrating. There are some fairly interesting platforming ideas throughout the game, but a floppy camera and clunky control never allow you to siphon any real enjoyment out of the game’s exploration.

Chaotic: Shadow Warriors screenshot

Shooting, on the other hand, is a good bit of shallow fun, and ammo is in plentiful supply. Gunplay is merely a means to an end, but it’s a novelty that helps pass the time when you’re traveling about the overworld.

The real meat of Chaotic on Wii, though, is, of course, the monster battles. As you progress through the game, you’ll scan new monsters, which you can then add to your fighting roster. Battles are played out in a typical turn-based, RPG fashion, though motion controls are the game’s main shtick.

Shadow Warriors rearranges several old-school gameplay mechanics to create its own version of monster battling, but it’s a formula that will likely feel very familiar to anyone with experience playing traditional RPGs. Battles are completely scripted in the sense of when they happen, so you won’t have to contend with endless random encounters.

Chaotic: Shadow Warriors screenshot

Before entering the battlefield, you’re given an opportunity to edit your battle party. You can select which monsters to send into battle, as well as what to equip them with. There are variables having to do with elements and such, and that’s where the gameplay can start to get a little too complicated for the Chaotic newcomer. Knowing which monsters and items to use is essential in combat, but the game doesn’t do a great job of teaching you the ropes.

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.

Chaotic: Shadow Warriors screenshot

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.

Visually, there is some decent variety in the world of Shadow Warriors, but a chuggy framerate and an overall lack of polish make for a lackluster presentation. 3.0 Control
Overworld controls work, but platforming is mostly frustrating. Motion control during battle is an interesting premise, but the developers don’t pull it off here in a satisfying way. 3.4 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is effective, if a bit repetitive; sound effects are a mixed bag. All of the dialogue is voiced, though it’s not always conversation you’d want to hear. 2.5

Play Value
The Story Mode is a decent length, and the overall game construction is solid; it’s just not a terribly fun experience. Multiplayer does little to add value to the package.

2.9 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • 30+ attacks particularized for specific Creatures.
  • 35 pieces of Battlegear.
  • Two-player single-box multiplayer.

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