Before I was handed the game I had only heard the name Chaotic and maybe seen a TV spot. Now that I have played the game I still have no idea what is going on or why this was made into a game. Based on the card game, Chaotic: Shadow Warriors attempts to bring its followers and new comers into its folds but fails with confusing story, flat art, a difficult learning curve and extremely linear game play.
Chaotic is based on a card game that came out soon after the Yu-Gi-Oh GX series began its run on TV and, I guess, has been going since. As stated above I was not familiar with the mechanics of the game at all besides the fact that it was turn based. The game does a pretty decent job of explaining to you just what everything means and does. Whether or not you actually pay attention to them or need to is another story. One good note about the tutorial that walks you through the various situations was the voice. It was interesting to listen to. This is quite possibly the best quality in this game for people who are not followers or are new to things.
The game thrusts you into a world and story that you will know nothing about if you haven’t played before. This factor, combined with so many why, who, where, and what questions, makes the game ridiculously confusing. It’s a good thing this game runs on an extremely linear path otherwise I would have no idea what I was looking for. Chaotic simply refuses to answer any “why” type of question which makes for a pretty bland and confusing game. Your character, a boy that shows up in the world of Chaotic somehow, does battles with creatures, shoots bugs, and does missions for any friendly he meets all in the name of trying to figure out something going on with the Mipedians, your opponents. Again nothing is explained about who or what Mipedians are or why they are hated so much so all I can say is that they are the bad guys.
Something that was pretty evident within the first 10 minutes of play is how the game plays like a mash up of the 3 most popular card games of the present: Pokémon, Magic: The Gathering, and Yu-Gi-Oh. You scan creatures with a “scanner” to “capture” them, use specific abilities attributed to each creature type, and try to build an army. The game seems to try to capitalize on these 3 features while trying not to make them look like they took them from the other series. Battles consist of alternating between attacking and defending sides of up to 5 creatures. It is during these battles, more specifically the attacks, that the creatures release their oh-so-cringe-worthy 1-liners. Combined with some ridiculous character designs and animations the lines come out horrible and remind you of a game that was designed for those of 10 years. While the game may carry a 10+ age marker on the box the difficulty curve was staggering. Being one who has played his fair share of Starcraft, a fast paced multi-tasking game, the increase in difficulty that occurred by battle 3 had me working to manage my creatures and abilities as best as possible. Opposing creature levels nearly tripled by the time you figure out how to level up your own creatures which then have to meet specific requirements before they can even be upgraded.
Like most game tie-ins Chaotic is not the most beautiful thing to lay eyes on. Far from it actually, this game seems very devoid of significant textures on its creatures. Skin looks matte, shadows are pixilated and don’t even seem to be doing their job at all, and elements such as fire or water look cheap and belong in the last generation of consoles. Ground texture stamping is used heavily, merely pasting the same pattern on the ground through the entire game. Overall the visuals are just bad and are representative of the basis for creating a game, capitalizing.
Through my play I also encountered many other issues that stuck out like sore thumbs such as not saving immediately after battles, a broken directional guide, complex character stats that did or meant nothing, excessive amounts of invisible walls, and a re-spawn system that has no penalty for failing a puzzle or challenge. These elements combined with the already stated make for a game that is not worth a cent of your $60 that games now cost. Die-hard fans may enjoy seeing their favorite creatures come to life but that is the only concession to be found here. Save your money for the cards or perhaps a better game, which isn’t hard to do. Have a different opinion about the game? Leave a comment below telling us about it.