First Reviewed: March 5 2020
Released on: September 26th 2021 (Dawn of Calamity)(Initial release: June 17 2016 (iOS, Android), October 28 2016 (PC))
Available Platforms: Mobile (iOS, Android), PC, MACOS
Price: Free (Has microtransactions, loot boxes and a Battle Pass)
Today I’m going to try something different. Ironically enough, I’m going to take another look at a game I already reviewed. Those who’ve been reading my articles for a while will undoubtedly wonder why I’m examining Shadowverse again. To put it simply, I’ve been playing it religiously these past few days. While I don’t have any issue with the first review, I wanted to expand on some points. I also wanted to point out the additions with the newest expansion: Dawn of Calamity.
Before we get into the review, I would like to let my readers know that this is not sponsored a sponsored re-review. I’ve just been playing it a lot lately, so I got new things to say about it. With that out of the way…
Since my first review, I’ve learned so much more about the game, explored more of the other game modes (particularly the Multiplayer offerings), and got to explore the deeper mechanics of Shadowverse. It’s been a journey exploring the myriad of cards from the last expansion Renascent Chronicles, and the current expansion, Dawn of Calamity. So, without further ado: Is this the Dawn of Calamity for Shadowverse?
Since my last review, Shadowverse added more content to its story mode. The parts I left out last time were the fact that after our group of eight heroes/anti-heroes fight the threat of their world, they are dragged through a portal that sends them to different worlds. The first one sends the gang to the land of Isunia, a world ruled by five guilds. However, conflict is brewing underneath the surface as there is something sinister pitting the guilds against each other. If things don’t settle down soon, Isunia might erupt into an all-out war.
Following the Isunian adventure, Tetra, an android from the world of Aiolon, asks our protagonists for help. They follow Tetra through the portal, but only four of them make it to Aiolon, a robotic world filled with machines ruled by Belphomet. The other four end up in Natura, a beautiful forest-like world threatened by the awakening of the Viridia Magna, the deity of Natura.
There is so much more story content now that I haven’t even touched on the newest story content (mostly because I’m still not done with the previous chapters). I agree with past Sergie that the story does start slow, but playing as the other characters answers questions that helped connect each character’s story. The story evolves beautifully, to the point where I got fully invested in it (something quite rare for a mobile game).
As of Dawn of Calamity, I found the art on the cards much more appealing than their past iterations. At first, I thought it was because I got more familiar with the game, but after looking at the past cards, they are a little busy for my liking. Dawn of Calamity added a stadium background for battles. Ironically enough, the stadium seems bland compared to the other locations (like the cool-looking church or Urias’ crypt). The animation when some of the cards enter the battlefield spice up battles wonderfully, and seeing the player’s leader shout a proclamation of victory when evolving their followers never fails to amp me up.
One of the things I wanted to talk about in this new article is the Multiplayer modes, as I realized that my last article did not touch on it in the slightest. Shadowverse has its standard Ranked and Unranked multiplayer modes. What I like about these modes is that they offer players the choice to either play Ranked or Unranked in Rotation (only using the five newest sets currently available) or Unlimited (using every card ever released). The fact that there is a Ranked Unlimited mode means that decks players worked hard to make are always useable in some way, shape, or form.
One mode I find fascinating is the Arena. Shadowverse’s Arena has a Grand Prix mode, a Tournament mode, Take Two, and Open Six. Grand Prix is a special timed event where the best compete for massive in-game rewards and a chance at the final stage, which hosts insane in-game prizes (unsurprisingly, I got utterly destroyed during my attempts in the Grand Prix). Tournament mode allows players to set up their own tournaments easily. Take Two and Open Six are always available but require a Challenge Ticket or 150 Rupies (in-game coins). Take Two has players create a thirty-card deck by picking one of two pairs of cards. Open Six has the same idea, but players open six card packs and then make a deck using those cards.
Those familiar with Magic the Gathering will recognize Take Two and Open Six as “draft” format tournaments, and they would be correct (especially with Open Six). I love these modes, as it requires extensive knowledge of which cards work well on their own rather than creating synergy with each other. Synergy is possible but very difficult to achieve in these modes. Each round of Take Two (or Open Six) asks the player to play five matches. The more matches the player wins of these five, the better the rewards they earn after their round is over. The player can take a break between each game and come back to their round later. When I finally had a three victory round, I felt incredibly proud.
New as of Dawn of Calamity is the Quest mode in the Solo section. Quest mode has the player challenge characters from the Shadowverse anime to a battle to earn quest points which will reward the player with sleeves, icons, free packs, and animated alternate art versions of some cards. Players can also complete puzzles, where the game tasks the player to defeat their opponent in one move. The beginner puzzles are easy enough, but some of the more challenging puzzles are real head-scratchers. I loved these puzzles, as even if I couldn’t figure them out on my own, they gave me some ideas on what to look for when trying to deliver the killing blow in an actual match.
Shadowverse’s stand-out feature to me is its Vials. I touched on them very briefly last time, but at that time, I truly underestimated how impressive this feature is. After a while, the player will acquire quite a collection of cards. I didn’t know that the player can automatically have the game turn cards the player has more than three copies of into Vials. Imagine not knowing this, using this feature, and acquire so many Vials that they can use them to make a genuinely devastating deck.
This brings me to another prominent feature of Shadowverse that I discovered recently. If the player finds a deck they would like to try making, they can copy that deck’s Deck Code (or scan the QR Code with the mobile version of Shadowverse) and create that deck for themselves. If the player does not have the required cards for making that deck, they can use Vials to create the remaining cards. Because of this, I was able to make an infamously dangerous Swordcraft deck. This taught me how powerful some of these moves could get, what can counter it if I encountered it in the wild, and other popular strategies and what counters them. I’ve seen many people complain about these decks, but I’ve loved them myself. Even when I lose, I can take the loss in strides and find out how to customize the deck to my liking.
Shadowverse’s free-to-play rewards are plentiful. Players earn extra sleeves, icons, Rupies, Vials, free packs, and Challenge Tickets when playing the Story Mode, collecting Daily Rewards, Completing Quests (as of Dawn of Calamity), clearing Daily Missions, participating in the Grand Prix, Take Two, Open Six and unlocking achievements. A game should reward the player by playing the game. Shadowverse heard this loud and clear and rewards the player with almost everything they do in Shadowverse.
I want to bring up the microtransactions again since Shadowverse added a Battle Pass since the last review. From what I understand of the comments I read on forums and social media, the consensus seems to be that there is no need to buy Crystals (the premium currency of Shadowverse) to buy extra card packs. If the player wants to spend a little money on Shadowverse, there are additional leaders and sleeves that the player can use to customize their deck’s appearance. Still, Shadowverse is generous with the in-game rewards it gives out (even after playing for a month), which I commemorate Shadowverse for. As for the Battle Pass, I keep forgetting it exists until the game tells me I unlocked something from it.
To say I’ve fallen in love with Shadowverse is an understatement. The additions Dawn of Calamity brought to the game, Quest Mode, a new story installment, awesome cards, and very generous rewards make this an even easier recommendation for Collectible Card Game (CCG) or trading card game fans.