Shadowverse Has Quickly Become One of My Favorite CCG’s
This is no small feat considering I absolutely love Hearthstone, I even wrote a whole article about that fact. Having had it for about two weeks now, I’ve been able to explore the game pretty well and have come to the conclusion that for many people Shadowverse will certainly trump Hearthstone.
Initially starting out as a free to play mobile only game, Shadowverse has recently found itself getting a lot of attention since it hit Steam on October 28th earlier this year. At first glance the game may appear to be nearly identical to Hearthstone with just a change for anime aesthetic, however, this is not the case. Shadowverse offers a chess-like experience with unique mechanics not found in other collectable card games (CCG’s) like Hearthstone.
One of the strengths of Shadowverse is the fact that it features a fairly lengthy story campaign that doubles as a tutorial for each of the classes in the game. Each story is fully voice acted and is enough of a challenge that it is still fun without being frustrated. Each story can be completed with the default card sets, but players can create custom decks to make the challenges a bit easier.
Shadowverse has several interesting mechanics, most of which are class specific. There are 7 unique classes in the game: Forestcaft, Runecraft, Bloodcraft, Havencraft, Shadowcraft, Dragoncraft, and Swordcraft. An example of a class specific mechanic is Bloodcraft’s Vengence mechanic. Once the player is at half health, Vengence becomes active and the players cards become more powerful when played. Each class feels viable and there is a class that suits any play style.
The most impressive and unique mechanic is the evolution points each player is given at the start of each game. If you go first, you get two, if you go second, you get three. These points may be used after a few turns to power up cards that you have in play. Usually, evolving a card, or follower as they are called in Shadowverse, just buffs the follower for +2/+2 but sometimes has an added benefit. While this may not sound like that interesting of a mechanic, believe me when I say it adds a lot of depth to the play experience.
An example of what the game looks like when playing
Gameplay is about what anybody has come to expect outside of these unique aspects for CCG’s. That being said, the biggest difference between this and Hearthstone gameplay wise is that combo and control decks are highly encouraged in Shadoweverse. This is its most attractive quality for myself, but having these other unique mechanics are an added bonus that I certainly wouldn’t turn down.
Players have access to several modes outside of the single player story campaign which include: practice against the AI, casual and competitive online modes, an arena mode, and private matches. Of these modes, arena and private matches are uniquely interesting.
Shadowverse calls its arena mode “Take Two” where players create a 30 card deck by drafting between 2 sets of 2 cards at a time. This makes the drafting process a lot faster and the card pairs are very fair in what each offers. Compared to Hearthstone’s arena mode, players take their decks and play 5 matches. Depending on how many wins vs losses the player gets in these 5 games determines how good of a reward they get at the end of the arena run. The rewards are weaker than that of Hearthstone, but the experience overall is a lot less random and more fair.
Private matches are also of special note because of the unique ability to do Take Two’s against a friend for absolutely free. Having this drafting mode for private matches balances things for friends that have vastly different skill levels and card pools. This goes a long way in giving Shadowverse more longevity since the mode uses all cards in the game and is completely free.
Shadowverse also has a very fair business model. Free to play users will have no trouble competing but the option to use real money to purchase packs or cosmetics is there. Nobody I know has ever spent money in this game and most of us are high ranked at either Master (the highest rank) or somewhere in the “A” ranks. Things cost about the same amount of in-game currency as they do in Hearthstone but the in-game currency is stupidly easy to get. Not to mention the fact that the Shadowverse team is very generous with handing out free packs or money all the time.
While there are a lot of positives to be had here, there are some negatives. The navigation between menus and how to do basic stuff in the game, like open card packs, is a bit confusing. However, once you know where stuff is, this problem isn’t that bad but there is a bit of learning when you first start out.
The anime aesthetic may also be a major turn off for some people. In addition to this, some of the art is a little racy. Personally, I think it would be pretty dumb not to try the game out for a reason like that if the rest of it sounded good to you, but I know anime art can majorly turn some folks off.
Some people have voiced issues with balance but most of these issues aren’t really there. I will say that Shadowcraft definitely feels like the weakest class right now and almost nobody plays them on ladder, even at the lowest ranks. Seeing that Shadowverse is only 1 expansion in though, there is still plenty of room for this to change in the future.
For more information you can check out the Steam page, check out Shadowverse’s website, or search your mobile app store for the game. I highly encourage giving this game a look especially for those looking for a more back and forth game compared to what Hearthstone can offer. While this doesn’t quite beat out Hearthstone for me, I can see many people preferring Shadowverse vastly over Hearthstone.
So what do you think, is Shadowverse better than Heartstone? Let me know in the comments below. Remember to leave a like if you enjoyed the review. Consider sharing this article with people who might find it useful and follow me on Twitter @JS_Reviews to keep up to date with all the happenings here.