This is a freemium game review, in which we give our impressions immediately after booting a game up, again after three days, and finally after seven days. That's what the strange sub-headings are all about. Click on the link to jump straight to day seven.
What is it about Star Wars that ensures its unswerving loyalty from fans? There are only a couple of good films in the main canon, the games have been a mixed bag, and one of the main creative bods behind the licence seems hell-bent on milking it dry.
Combining each of these previously mentioned elements (the milking, the movies, and the games) is Star Wars: Force Collection, a card-battler from Konami, which I'll be playing over the next week or so and letting you know whether it's worth your time.
Will its collectible card-battling have you (sky)walking on air? Or is it all a bit Jar Jar? Join me as I find out.First impressions
It's clear when you start the game up that this is fan service, and unlikely to try and tell a compelling new story in the Star Wars universe.
The familiar theme starts, and then clips from the movies - mostly the earlier ones - begin to play out. Then Princess Leia informs you that you're her only hope. Not long after that, you're on Tatooine shooting Stormtroopers, much like in A New Hope.
If you've played a card-battler before you'll already be familiar with how this works. It's basically Rage of Bahamut: you tap the screen, collect cards, and intermittently use those cards in a slightly more strategic form of battling.
This latter type of gameplay is called a Formation Battle, where you have multiple cards on the screen in a formation of your choosing, and they attack your opponent's cards. There are also Boss Battles which include a swing-o-meter and are a bit harder to complete, but you can call your friends in to help you too.
Other than that, you progress through areas until you run out of energy, level up, improve your stats, get new cards, and generally go through the same process you've gone through multiple times in other card-battlers.
Will this change in the next six days? I doubt it. But we'll see.Day 3: No one's Forcing you to like it
Halfway through my week with the game, I can safely say that Star Wars: Force Collection hasn't deviated much from the usual card battler track yet.
I find that most makers of card battlers rely on your having an interest in the type of content displayed on the cards you can win.
If you love fantasy art and busty elven nymphs, for example, then Rage of Bahamut is likely to be right up your path. If you think the notion of robots that transform into cars and planes is neat, then there's a game for you, too.
The same is true here.
Like I said, I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan in the world, but even I couldn't help but crack a smile when I was awarded a card that featured that lovable rogue Han Solo.
If you're the sort of person who knows who Mace Windu is and why he's important, and you've been interested in exploring the genre, then this is absolutely the right title with which to take the jump into the compulsive world of card battlers.
One issue that has cropped up, though, is load times. They're slightly too long, and there's slightly too many of them. I mean, the game isn't visually complex enough to warrant such load times.
Regardless, I'm continuing to quest through the game; add to my deck; and build up my EP and CAP (through levelling-up). This is all so that I can continue battling for longer and wield better cards in PvP. I've also been dipping into the multiplayer, and I'm having a pleasant enough time doing it.Day 7: Sarlacc pit
The online seems a bit tougher than other card battlers I've played. I'm regularly being trounced by opponents, either when I take them on myself, or when they attack me.
There's a great incentive to take part in these battles though, as you can win Blueprint fragments which, when combined, provide a powerful vehicle for you to wield in combat.
I'm enhancing my cards with credits to make them better, and I'm combining two identical cards for a single more powerful one - standard battler stuff. Thing is though, I'm still getting that neat little thrill out of finding classic characters - I was given a Boba Fett and C-3PO card yesterday - and I even enjoy reading up on who the minor characters from the universe are.
It's got its hooks in me, basically.
It's still no different from the rest of the battlers out there, for better or worse, but if you're a fan of Star Wars then this is the entry in the genre to check out.How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below.