Last year, Square-Enix (of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest fame) tried their hand at making an arcade multi-player game. They partnered up with Taito (of Space Invaders fame) and came up with an interesting concept: A collectible card roleplaying game. They called the result 悠久の車輪〜Eternal Wheel.
The concept is pretty simple. You are a summoner, doing battle with another summoner on a small battleground. You place your characters onto the battlefield by laying out their character cards on the lower screen of the game console. The console scans the cards (I have only a vague idea how that works) and their position on the playscreen. Each card has a level from one to four, and you can only have up to 10 levels worth of cards on the playfield.
There are three varieties of characters: Keepers, Seekers, and Masters. Keepers are stronger than Seekers, and are mainly direct fighters. Seekers are stronger than Masters, and have high speed but lower attack stats. Masters are stronger than Keepers (yes, it's a "rock-paper-scissors" kind of thing) and specialize in distance attacks.
Aside from beating the crap out of your opponent's characters, you need to set up a zone of control on the playfield. Note the green area marked off on the minimap in the lower corner of the above screenshot. The bigger your ZOC, the stronger your grand summons ("Ambassador") is.
Angel of Healing Raphael
Your "Ambassadors" are basically your big guns, and calling on one takes a lot of power. Once you call one, it crosses the battlefield, basically ignoring the enemy creatures, and directly attacks your opponent. Your creatures can also damage your opponent, but not nearly as much.
Nemesia of the Western Meadow
There is a wide variety of characters, split into six clans, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Every time you play, you get a new character card, so the more you play the more strategies you can try. However, the game itself is rather expensive -- ¥500 for a starter pack of four cards, ¥300 for each game (continues are ¥200). Even though it's a fun and interesting game, I was going to stop playing after the first couple times. However, on my last play-through, I got a shiny foil-enhanced RARE card!!! Squee!
so I put off the play stoppage for a while. (As it turns out, the rare card wasn't all that much stronger than some of my common cards...)
Knight of Hades Durahan
It's a fun game, easy to play, yet complex enough to offer a lot of variety of gameplay. Everything you need to know about your characters is printed on the card, and also self-evident from the playscreen (attack range, etc. show up as highlighted areas around your cards). Plus, there's a nifty screenshot button on the console that allows you to download game screens from the internet (note the player name on that first screenshot).
So, following the success of Eternal Wheel, Square-Enix decided to try their hand at designing a follow-up on their own (while still using Taito's hardware). The result, "Lord of Vermillion
". . . kind of sucks. They took what I thought was best about Eternal Wheel -- the simplicity -- and removed it completely. Among other things, your characters have a very limited attack zone, and if they're facing the wrong direction (i.e. the card is turned the wrong way), they won't attack. Plus, there are several different attack options, including a "sacrifice" attack, which require you to micromanage your characters. Woe betide you if you hit the sacrifice button by mistake...
(No screenshot button on Lord of Vermillion, by the way.)
Labels: Rob has too much free time, videogames