PALADINS! In a nutshell. This is what I thought the game was like before I tried the BETA and this is still how I saw it after playing but unlike Paladins which is a more competitive hero shooter of sorts, Black Clover tries to put casual play as the core of the game. Matches feel shorter than your average game modes in Paladins while also incorporating offline-play whether it’s Story Mode (currently locked) or simple Mock Battles just to make you feel at home and get acquainted with the controls and a respective character’s play style.
Black Clover is one of my favorite anime that I keep watching as early as possible to get my fix for a “Shouting Asta” which if you didn’t know is an orphan that is unloved by mana for having none of it yet still strives to become the Wizard King in a world filled with people that can use magic freely. Sound familiar? *cough*My Hero Academia*cough*
Bandai Namco is very open when it comes to its fans. Simply put, they want to improve the overall gameplay by incorporating our suggestions through a survey. The game still needs a ton of improvements before I can be happy though! Ranked Matches is what’s in the forefront of the BETA with the only mode that actually incorporates other players through online matchmaking which is terrible for people with slow internet because “bad connections to the matching target” pops up and forces the player to create his own room to wait for other people to join his/her. Mock Battles, however, is an option despite the lack of balanced team compositions when choosing randomly for the BOTS rather than picking characters in their respective playstyle category based on the player’s pick.
And speaking of play style, there are a couple of things to note namely Fighter which is not specifically all-melee but acts as a frontline if we’re talking about Paladin’s terminology. The shooter, however, is more focused on attacking from a distance with mostly lower health than your average fighters. Now, this is what I really don’t like, there is a Healer and Support category in which healers heal, and support does support in terms of blocking pathways, providing shield domes or setting traps to zone out enemies. But where’s the Flank you ask? EVERYONE IS! Most characters have some sort of mobility ability which lets you flank an enemy or surprise them with your ultimate from behind. But without a specific flank role in place, it does, however, make group play more confusing on whose role it is to flank the healer or stay on point to keep the enemies occupied. But that’s just me who likes flanking healers on Paladins!
Grimoire deck loadout. Not as interesting as the deck building in Paladins but it’s a start in making more other than damage boosts or cooldown reduction to specific abilities. Having some sort of more customization options toward a certain character’s play style adds more depth to each one and to keep the players, myself included, from being bored at playing the favorite class all the time.
Maps and Game Modes. Maps are symmetrical which gives an even field for both sides but at the same time doesn’t provide much to look at especially since they’re all fairly small which makes dashing through Zone Control areas fairly easy which is a huge negative when EXTRA TIME or rather an overtime is refreshed every instance of touching the point thus making the overtime longer than it needs to be. There needs to be a limit to how many times a player can refresh the EXTRA TIME meter to make players group up rather than just diving headfirst in a sea of enemies just to die seconds later. Crystal Carry, however, is simply a mode for players to take control of a single point until a crystal materializes then push it to the point. Failing to reach it in time would then make the opposing team spawn their own crystal to push it farther to score a victory. Last but not least, Treasure Hunt is the game mode where you grab a key, open a treasure chest to score points and win. It’s simple but also doesn’t particularly sound like a hunt when keys and chests are visible as the match starts instead of actually trying to find them.
The controls in the game are similar to Paladins in which you use your trigger and shoulder buttons on the controller to use abilities or attack normally. There is a lack of info however on their part to include how much damage each ability does, how many shots per second and per mag or the cooldown for each ability. Those are the kinds of things I would normally want to know especially when building grimoire decks to use during matches. The movement however is slick and smooth making the experience a bit fun if not for the amount of visual flair included in character abilities. Yuno’s towering tornado ability gives so much visual impairment and when you pair it up with other players’ abilities, you have yourself a disaster that makes aiming terribly hard.
Despite all that, I can’t help but enjoy the game for what it is. A chaotic clash of magical abilities! There are improvements that can be made but also there are some things that I imagine will be left as is. But if I was asked, I would definitely want a free-for-all deathmatch mode just to make things a bit more chaotic and fun. Also instead of showing the MVP of a game, I would definitely prefer a “play of the game” showcase to see some of the tricks players made to score kills and what-not which in turn will let other players see how a character can be played better. It’s not just for bragging but also educational.