|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Activision||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Not one to be left out of the video game loop, the Chaotic card game now comes to Wii - that is to say, the license, anyway, as the gameplay of Chaotic: Shadow Warriors is a monster battler that has nothing to do with actual card battles. This adventure-RPG does have a few compelling ideas fans might find entertaining, but is it worth your gaming dollars?
It's obvious going into the game that Shadow Warriors is made specifically with long-time fans in mind. You play as a young Chaotic player mixed up in a world of mythological creatures. Unless you've already got some grasp on the Chaotic universe, you'll likely have a tough time keeping up with the story. Regardless, the adventure moves along with a pace that wastes no time with character development, and the dialogue is usually laughably bad. Lines such as, "I'll knock you out so fast, you won't even know," are only the tip of the iceberg.
Luckily, you won't need to know anything about the game's characters or story in order to successfully navigate the world of Shadow Warriors. A voice from somewhere tutors you on the basics, though there are some facets of the gameplay that are left a little fuzzy. Chaotic on Wii is completely quest-driven, and a handy camera system always points the way to your next objective.
You'll travel through the game world in real-time, and the level design is a mix of corralled pathways, á la Fable, and more open areas with a bit of platforming. You're given a gun early on in the game, and it's used mostly to defeat small insect-like creatures as you make your way from one checkpoint to another. Your character doesn't have a health bar, so if you take too much damage, you'll simply port away to the nearest safe area.
Control of your character is mostly responsive, though there are occasional issues getting him to jump when you need him to. Jumping is also very loose and difficult to control midair, making the game's platforming segments often quite frustrating. There are some fairly interesting platforming ideas throughout the game, but a floppy camera and clunky control never allow you to siphon any real enjoyment out of the game's exploration.
Shooting, on the other hand, is a good bit of shallow fun, and ammo is in plentiful supply. Gunplay is merely a means to an end, but it's a novelty that helps pass the time when you're traveling about the overworld.
The real meat of Chaotic on Wii, though, is, of course, the monster battles. As you progress through the game, you'll scan new monsters, which you can then add to your fighting roster. Battles are played out in a typical turn-based, RPG fashion, though motion controls are the game's main shtick.
Shadow Warriors rearranges several old-school gameplay mechanics to create its own version of monster battling, but it's a formula that will likely feel very familiar to anyone with experience playing traditional RPGs. Battles are completely scripted in the sense of when they happen, so you won't have to contend with endless random encounters.
Before entering the battlefield, you're given an opportunity to edit your battle party. You can select which monsters to send into battle, as well as what to equip them with. There are variables having to do with elements and such, and that's where the gameplay can start to get a little too complicated for the Chaotic newcomer. Knowing which monsters and items to use is essential in combat, but the game doesn't do a great job of teaching you the ropes.