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Video Games Uncovered's Review (7/10)

Over the last few years, NIS America has helped many Japanese developers bring their games across to European shores, such as the Disgaea franchise and some of the titles in the Persona series. Culdcept Revolt, the latest release from the long running Culdcept series from its original developers Omiya Soft, is the latest game to receive the publisher’s help. Its combination of various types of analog styled gameplay and Japanese role playing game conventions has proven to be an intriguing concept, but is it enjoyable to play?

In a mysterious city that is kept away from the rest of the world, a power hungry ruler has outlawed a group of card wielding magicians known as Cepters, and is proceeding to eliminate them with lethal force. After waking up with his memories gone, a young Cepter named Allen is recruited by a resistance group known as the Free Bats. Together, Allen and his new allies must unite to free the city from its tyrannical overlords, and discover the truth that the sealed off city is hiding in its walls. Although the story does have some weaker moments, the overall narrative is enjoyable, and is filled with genuinely likeable characters such as the kind hearted Alicia and the ironfisted resistance leader Sych. One of the best characters is the morally ambiguous Nighthawk, who does not appear to be the villain that he tries to portray. No matter which character you choose to examine, their individual reactions to the villainous tactics of Count Kraniss is what keeps the player motivated to proceed.

As odd as it might seem, Culdcept Revolt plays like a combination of Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering and Monopoly. With every roll of the dice, you move your Cepter character across the various shaped game boards, whilst performing acquisitions of territory and passing through various gates which provide you with valuable magic points. At the beginning of each battle, a set target known as a Magic Goal is determined. If either duelist’s magic point total reaches that threshold, they are declared the victor of the match. Although the battles themselves are highly entertaining, the number may seem slightly vast at first glance. However, once you have claimed some territories for your own and won a few battles against your character’s opponents, you will soon find that the duels pass relatively quickly.

If you land on a space that is occupied by another Cepter’s monster, you can either choose to pay the toll fee out of your accumulated magic points, or you can face them in battle head on with a monster from your hand. The combat system relies on using monsters with high HP and strength values to eliminate your opponent from their claimed territory. It is at this point that the comparisons to Yu-Gi-Oh continue, as you can continue other cards in your hand to power up or power down your opponents to gain an advantage, or use their unique abilities such as giving a guaranteed critical hit to easily neutralize stronger enemies. The battles feel genuinely exciting when they do take place, so if you have a stronger enemy in your book, the games term for a deck, it is definitely in your best interests to do so.

Culdcept Revolt does not have any additional subsystems other than creating your own custom books, so you will need to craft a deck with monster and weapon cards if you are looking for a different way to proceed. It is possible to replay a previous battle through the game menu, but there is little reason to return to a previous area, as the game does not provide you with a rank at the end of each stage. So unless you are looking for a quicker way to beat each stage, you will likely only return to older levels to revisit a particular moment in the game’s storyline.

Aside from the starting space and the game gates, it is possible to claim every space on the board using your monster cards. Once you have gained a territory in this fashion, it is possible increase its value by using your magic points to a maximum level of five. As well as increasing the territory’s value, you can exchange the monster that currently resides there, and alter the element type of the current space on the game board. One of the best moments of each turn is when an enemy Cepter lands on your high valued space. The satisfaction you get from this event is just as satisfying on every occasion.

Although some of the cutscenes are rendered using three dimensional models, the main artwork of Culdcept Revolt is drawn using manga style illustrations, for both the characters and the game world. The only exception to this choice is the drawings on the game’s monster and spell cards, which are high fantasy drawings you might expect to see in Magic the Gathering. Each individual art style has been tried and tested many times before, and its implementation in this case cannot be faulted.

The soundtrack of Culdcept Revolt is a mix of orchestral themes and high intensity JPRG styled battle themes. The majority of them feel suited to their chosen environment, especially the epic introduction sequence that plays as soon as you begin the game. Although the characters themselves do not have full voice acting, a narrator vocalizes the arrival of major events in a battle as well as naming each of the as they are summoned into battle.

Overall, Culdcept Revolt is a highly enjoyable strategy RPG with stylish graphics and an intriguing narrative. While the story may not be perfect, it does have some enjoyable moments, and the card battle meets board game mechanics give each battle a replay value that many RPG’s lack by comparison. If you are looking for a unique RPG that will give you a challenge and some new mechanics to try out, then Culdcept Revolt could be the diamond in the rough that could prove to be your greatest treasure.

OUR VERDICT - Rating: 7

"If you are looking for a game that offers something a bit different, Culdcept Revolt is a strategy RPG that deals all the right cards."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 September 2017 15:52

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