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Review

Review: Culdcept Revolt

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Are you rea­dy to throw dices and take turns to see what fate has in store for you, Allen? Is basi­cal­ly the ques­ti­on Culdcept Revolt rai­ses to the play­ers all over the world now.

And thanks to NISA we were able to get qui­te the look into the game and its cha­rac­ters. You may have heard of the series alrea­dy, though it’s not qui­te as known here in Euro­pe as it is in the North Ame­ri­ca and espe­ci­al­ly Japan.
Culdcept Revolt is; as its pre­de­ces­sors, a board/card game of qui­te intri­guing natu­re. Made by Omni­ya Soft, the series was first released back in 1997 on the SEGA Saturn and later 1999 on the Play­Sta­ti­on as well. It never made it sta­te­si­de or to the EU, same goes for Culdcept Second on the Dream­cast. While the X360 recei­ved an ent­ry as well Culdcept Saga only North Ame­ri­ca came into con­tact with it. We final­ly got lucky enough, thanks to NISA to recei­ve the second 3DS game of it aka Culdcept Revolt, the first – again – was exclu­si­ve to Japan.

You may ask yours­elf, what the game actual­ly is… if you’re not inte­rested in loo­king it up yours­elf. Revolt is one of few games that mana­ges to make some sort of balan­cing act bet­ween a card game like for examp­le Yu-Gi-Oh! and Mono­po­ly. It sounds cra­zy but it actual­ly works, which is asto­un­ding. Ima­gi­ne a board-game with mons­ter take overs regar­ding ter­rito­ry.

Usual­ly Culdcept’s sto­ry revol­ves around the god­dess Cul­dra, who bes­to­wed powers upon cer­tain peop­le, so cal­led “Cep­ters”. The sto­ry then usual­ly bran­ches off into a war sce­n­a­rio or ter­ri­to­ri­al batt­les and sin­ce there’s magic invol­ved it usual­ly takes a super­na­tu­ral turn. In most Culdcept games sto­ry is only a secon­da­ry device to game­play; though still, cha­rac­te­ri­za­ti­on and game­play are key in “Revolt” for 3DS.

A man named Allen (name of the prot­ago­nist) sud­den­ly awakes in an empty room, hea­ring a voice. This voice asks him who he is and whe­re he came from, but all that springs to him imme­dia­te­ly is his name.
Only a few play ses­si­ons later the voice turns out to be the lea­der of a cer­tain rebel group in a city. While sho­wing the play­er the ropes what they – as a Cep­ter – can do and what not, we learn that the city Allen lan­ded in got clo­sed off, due to some Count. And that Cep­ters all around the city are being kil­led left and right for wha­te­ver rea­son comes to mind.
Usual­ly the lone­so­me, memo­ry-lacking-main-cha­rac­ter joins the group of out­laws right away and all fight their mer­ry way to a hap­py ending. Allen howe­ver is dif­fe­rent. While he is cer­tain­ly gra­te­ful, he has no inte­rest to join, sin­ce his cur­rent con­di­ti­on is far more of his con­cern. And so he tri­es to regain his memo­ries, while wal­king into an unknown city con­sis­ting most­ly con­sis­ting of enemies.

Natu­ral­ly every bit of main sto­ry quest does give play­ers insight of what’s hap­pe­ning around Allen and to that give addi­tio­nal fields, hints and rules for the board game part. It all see­med a bit simp­le in the begin­ning, but the intro­duc­tion and exe­cu­ti­on of ele­ments was hand­led very care­ful­ly.
Side­quests are also on board, just in case you want to earn more cash for boos­ter packs. Tho­se give you Spells, Mons­ters of dif­fe­rent ele­ments or Equip­ment cards. Play­ers of the old Culdcept games will pro­bab­ly feel right at home sin­ce most card designs and rules are the same or simi­lar to old ones.
This isn’t all side­quests do; they exp­lain moti­va­tions and cha­rac­te­ris­tics of all “Cep­ters” the play­er encoun­ters and pro­vi­de lots of cha­rac­ter buil­ding for Allen him­s­elf as well.
Tho­se who are not in it for the cha­rac­ters or the games world buil­ding are able to skip through most cuts­ce­nes and go strai­ght into “boar­ding” ele­men­tal fields.
And once you finish the sto­ry or rather Quest Mode of the game, you are rewar­ded with a neat litt­le extra for all your ten­aci­ty and effort.

At the begin­ning of the game, you will have next to no opti­on in menus and regar­ding play styles, but that chan­ges later on. 15-20 hours into the game, you can crea­te wha­te­ver book you want. Books har­bor spells, or basi­cal­ly any card you own in them, free for you to sum­mon, if you draw the right one. The boards pro­vi­de dif­fe­rent lay­outs and all is put into the world of Culdcept Revolt wit­hin the plot, mea­ning only the par­ti­al­ly ani­ma­ted back­grounds give pro­ve that it’s actual­ly the­re in this world/city. Other than that, each board con­sists of action panels like a market/tent/warp, spell ones, Mons­ter panels in the colors of red, blue, green, neu­tral and yel­low, and also last but not least lap panels. Like in mono­po­ly, the lat­ter ones are some kind of check­point that pro­vi­de you with addi­tio­nal crys­ta­li­zed mana (GP) aka money.
Sum­mo­ning Mons­ters costs exac­t­ly that of cour­se, so does every action besi­des wal­king. Unli­ke other card games, the books in Revolt have a 50 cards limit. This means that play­ers should choo­se care­ful­ly what to pack in it or just expe­ri­ment the hell out of it.

Mons­ters or rather the cor­re­spon­ding ele­ment gets a bonus on tiles in form of more HP or STR when you sum­mon, e.g. water to a water field and so forth. Play­ers can even let mons­ters chan­ge fields, jump to the adja­cent panel and use this to their stra­te­gic advan­ta­ge, but at the cost of your turn and a cer­tain amount of mone- er… mana.
While you natu­ral­ly get more boos­ter packs later on, all crea­tures and spells seem to be okay, even well balan­ced. At least every book that was crea­ted and tried out worked equal­ly well (around 7 dif­fe­rent ones).

The A.I. in Culdcept Revolt is qui­te inte­res­ting and chal­len­ging as well. You will hard­ly get bored, when you unlock cer­tain cha­rac­ters to play with or against them. Espe­ci­al­ly not when tho­se poor bas­tards take over your pain­sta­kin­gly upgraded field fort­ress, which could’ve net you 1200 mana in one go.
This also means the ran­dom fac­tor is a bit of a pain and some­ti­mes even extre­me­ly frus­tra­ting. That does not imply that it isn’t fun to play, it’s just a remin­der that it’s not all sunshi­ne and roses in the world of the Cep­ters.

In case you want to play with your fri­ends, there’s an online and off­line mode that will hope­ful­ly let you go all out against stran­gers and fri­ends ali­ke on release day.

All is under­li­ned with an enter­tai­ning, and to our sur­pri­se not nerv-wre­cking OST. The com­po­ser balan­ced the BGM out real­ly well. It ran­ges from enter­tai­ning and weird tunes, which could very well be right out of Dis­gaea, to abso­lute­ly gor­ge­ous batt­le tracks. The down­si­de to this is: The­re was no opti­on to mute or adjust dif­fe­rent sounds. While sound effec­ts and the like can be neat, the announ­cer voices in the game get annoy­ing some­ti­mes. Other than that even the sound is real­ly well mixed and you won’t miss any effect or music while play­ing, even on fast.

The design and spri­tes are not only well made but down­right char­ming. Ever­yo­ne has their own set of move­ments and their very uni­que design. No won­der; none other than Nis­hi­mu­ra Kinu worked on the cha­rac­ter designs. And she did an out­right per­fect job por­tray­ing the cha­rac­ters fee­lings. That one is known for her lively and char­ming cha­rac­ter illus­tra­ti­ons; not only in Virtue’s Last Reward. The board struc­tures have a huge varie­ty and are (thanks to the ele­ments) very color­ful. At no point in the game did we tire to look at the ani­ma­ti­ons, cha­rac­ters faces or card actions in the game. All artists who desi­gned the cards for the game see­min­gly gave it their all to make them look sty­lish, while some might strike your fan­cy more than others, ever­ything regar­ding Culdcept seems well made.

On the tech­ni­cal side (at least the review ver­si­on) the game seems a bit lacking. While the spri­tes are a loo­ker, the cha­rac­ters them­sel­ves are well writ­ten and the sound­track hold enter­tai­ning value. The limit in opti­ons and fea­tures, espe­ci­al­ly for tho­se who have a new 3DS, is a bit sad­de­ning.
You can’t chan­ge the but­ton lay­out; set­tings don’t give you much besi­des tur­ning mul­ti­play­er in-game chat on or off. And play­ing the game on the fas­test mode is still slow; you can’t skip the texts the AI throws at you on the field, eit­her. Even if you’ve read them alrea­dy, becau­se you’ve actual­ly had a game over befo­re, the­re was no way to turn them off in the review ver­si­on.

The­re are times whe­re we would’ve given hell to map the came­ra and field view to the n3DS nub, ins­tead of pres­sing R, going to the map opti­on every time just to then navi­ga­te to the cor­re­spon­ding mons­ter on the map. Only for the rea­son to see the effec­ts of mons­ters, in case we might step on a land­mi­ne by going a cer­tain way.

Now regar­ding saving, the game will save for you, you can­not save manu­al­ly. If you run out of bat­te­ry while in the midd­le of a game, you’re out of luck ent­i­re­ly. The­re isn’t even a suspend/quick save opti­on.

It’s trans­la­ti­on in Eng­lish seems to be well done. Most cha­rac­ters have been given a good tre­at­ment, so all seem uni­que in the way they talk with each other.
But the­re is the need­le in the haystack: It seems to be Eng­lish only. While the actu­al manu­al out­si­de of the game sports most lan­guages, the game its­elf remains Eng­lish. It’s not dif­fi­cult to read but most may be a bit taken aback by that fact.

Conclusion

Culdcept Revolt may sounds like some cra­zy card cult or the second com­ing of sci­en­to­lo­gy at first, but it will pro­bab­ly fasci­na­te inte­rested peop­le more than they could ima­gi­ne. It is a char­ming, well ani­ma­ted spri­te-packa­ge full of exci­ting and fun but also a few frus­tra­ting moments.
The lack of cus­to­mi­za­ti­on for the con­trols or sound/save opti­ons won’t hold the game or it’s fun back eit­her.

Despi­te Culdcept Revolt being Eng­lish only, it can glue you befo­re your 3DS for around 20-30 hours to see its main sto­ry. Much more time is nee­ded, if one actual­ly wants to see it’s rela­tively ‘small’ world ent­i­re­ly. Just keep in mind that some cha­rac­ters are rather minor and might vanish out of sight after a few batt­les. The sin­gle play­er length and pos­si­bi­li­ties alo­ne might give card game play­ers and board game lovers rea­son enough to buy this.

In case you’re inte­rested in loo­king into the world of Culdcept now, this is as good a start as any. Off you go with a pat on the back.

For all tho­se who know 100% Oran­ge Juice on Steam and are legi­ti­mate­ly sca­red of its A.I. this is a much less maso­chistic approach for a vir­tu­al board game, and it’s por­ta­ble!

There’s even a collector’s edi­ti­on of it, for tho­se who play­ed the game this one is qui­te ent­i­cing. This one inclu­des:
– a set of metal dices from the game
– the scrump­tious art­book which holds Nishimura’s drawings
– foil copies of cer­tain cards
– natu­ral­ly the game its­elf
– the sound­track.

Game Tit­le: Culdcept Revolt

Gen­re: Rol­len­spiel

Release Date: 06.10.2017

Plat­forms:

Deve­lo­per:

Publisher:


This game was pro­vi­ded by the publisher for review pur­po­ses, check our review poli­cy for details.

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