The “Shouting Asta” is back from the BETA and he brought a few friends… enemies to be exact! The game that focuses on a unique arc for the fans and newcomers of the anime to experience. It gives a rather interesting approach telling a story in both sides of the spectrum and while it did came out as rushed and lackluster, there are just some things that I can find forgivable. And that’s when Noelle can rock out a swimsuit during a magic shootout.
The cast of characters is a rather interesting bunch. Having a mix of both good guys and distorted good ones. In a world where magic is abundant and everyone except one, Asta, who has none. A boy that believes hardwork and perseverance can trump all to become the Wizard King! Yuno, the childhood friend and rival archetype is what you’d consider the food-saving prince… well at least in Charmy’s eyes. Noelle however is the noble waifu and tsundere who fell in love with Asta because of a misunderstanding. (But mostly because he’s a Harem King and has two other girls in love with him already.) There’s quite a lot of background diversity and it’s quite a shame that it didn’t give a lot of emphasis on those characters throughout the story mode.
The story starts you in the middle ground. Most of the introductory phases has passed and Asta, Yuno and Noelle is already part of their Magic Knight Squads. Have done countless of dangerous missions and most likely faced the Eye of the Midnight Sun members present in the game. With Finral, the Black Bulls’ spatial mage being useless as always, Yami, the Black Bulls Captain along with Asta and Noelle head to a dungeon on foot during a mission concerning the Freese House. Old and abandoned, the dungeon itself is filled with monsters as you get introduced to the combat mechanics after facing an old nemesis in the tutorial phase. Afterwards, Yami, leaves you and enters a room alone as you fend off the leftover enemies. As soon as you mop the floor with them, Asta and the gang enters only to find a young Yami in his teens without any memory whatsoever in his later years. With little to no idea of what transpired their only thought was to drag him back to base.
While the anime is mostly focused on Asta’s shouting, the game’s adventure is mostly focused on both Asta and Yami’s perspective. Being able to play the story twice in a different point of view is rather interesting. It gives the anime itself, an interesting look at why Yami picked Asta to be part of their squad in the first place although a confusing loop when you think about it.
So while it is rushed and rather short… the interesting bits are there even if the concept used can be somewhat confusing. Challenge episodes however provide more content to spend your time on. Completing an episode for each character introduces you to their own playstyles and give more insight on how a specific character works once you finally hit the rank or custom battles. Each episodes are mostly fighting trash mobs I call the four power rangers so while it does let you learn each character it also comes off as a repetitive process.
Online has many modes. I’m kidding there’s only three! And for someone who plays Paladins on a nightly basis, I only queue to one mode and that’s siege. For this case, it’s what you’d consider as Crystal Carry. Control a point to capture it and escort the crystal towards the goal. Doing so would secure you the win, then and there! No questions asked. Fail to do so, and it switches side with the opposing team immediately pushing with their own crystal after a few seconds and with one goal… to get farther than yours. Zone Control however acts as your King of the Hill type mode at which you control a point to get the win. However what I find annoying here compared to other modes is dying in the game lets you respawn to a surviving teammate which makes the overtime meter can take quite a while when enemies can touch the point as often and removes the time required to run over to the point. Treasure Hunt is the third and final mode of the 4 vs. 4 battle game where you will be required to take a key and open a treasure chest to score points. A mode that requires much more teamwork as one person is bound to taking keys and unlocking chests without any way to defend themselves. But unlike my favorite competitive hero shooter, Paladins, which I personally think is too similar, the thing separates both is Black Clover’s ability to use consumable items scattered in the map to tip the balance of the match.
Character types offer a nice mix of in-your-face fighters, long range shooters, healers and supporters. They’re all pretty basic to learn but can be hard to master. Each one having different health pools, basic attack types and other abilities. Magna the Yankee mage shouting “diiieeeee!” every few seconds as he winds up a flaming home run shot to an enemy’s face or Luck climaxing in laughter as he gets to fight head on with others. Deck building is lackluster. Picking one of three deck types changes how abilities are used, how much ammo you can load up at any given time or changes cooldown and damage output but cards itself only offers the minimal changes like cooldown reduction, increased damage for two abilities among a few others like increased movement speed or higher health or magic shield.
Maps in the BETA are pretty much the same things present in the base game. And I would’ve been okay with that if not for their mediocre sizes. They all come out as small and tons of open areas to really just get shot from every direction. As a melee class there’s the threat of being shot to death as you push a crystal as well as getting flanked from every end. Nothing stands out as memorable even for a fan of Black Clover I find that there should be more discerning features to where the anime fights took place.
Unlockables. You either hate it or love it. Customizing characters costs something be it for deck building, character colors, voice lines or nametag customization which can be earned by playing the game. Completing story mode and challenge episodes however gets you enough for a lot of things as well as an additional character unlocked so it’s a good thing to start off with that than going directly online. What I don’t like here is there’s not a lot of varied skins for your characters, other than Asta and Yami‘s unique look, the girls other than Fana only gets swimsuits and the rest is history with simple palette swaps.
Overall, the game offers a unique approach to the story which is good attempt despite being rushed. Although I am bothered by some of the Visual-Novel-type scenes that felt odd and doesn’t capture the charm of the characters themselves… they honestly look better in the anime or the animated scenes in the game. Combat is pretty simple but the gameplay becomes frustrating with people focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time to do so. Deck building lacks character to make each and every deck unique to other players. With only three possible deck combinations, there’s not a lot of things you can do to counter an offensive or specific playstyle. Having the skill page not viewable from the deck building page itself comes off as a negative when you’re trying to make a build but have no idea what skill it is in the first place. Playing online also is a ghost town unless I’m playing at the wrong times.