Game Reviews

War of the Fallen

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War of the Fallen

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. Click on the link to jump straight to day three or day seven.

Zynga. It's a company that has - for rightly or wrongly - the reputation of shouting "Me too! Me too!" whenever a popular gameplay concept comes along.

So, when I'm told I'm going to be reviewing a freemium battler which, from all accounts, looks a bit like Rage of Bahamut, you'll forgive me if I'm sceptical that The Big Z will bring anything new to the card table.

That said, this is also the company that revolutionised freemium with the wildly popular Farmville, when previous attempts within the building genre using this monetary model largely fell flat.

So, perhaps it has evolved the genre with War of the Fallen? Maybe. Possibly. We'll find out.

Are you playing too? Let me know what you think of the game in the comments section below.

First impressions

War of the Fallen looks good. But for a card battler? It looks quite phenomenal. Primarily because it's a custom app, rather than an elaborate skin for an internet browser - already a leg-up over the competition.

So, for one thing, it has music and sound - instantly putting it a step beyond most of GREE's efforts to date. The enemies you face aren't all clones either, which is a bit of a shocker. Goblins and wolves are all I've fought so far - aside from a boss or two - but each seems slightly different to the last, and the game has a fair number of designs to pick from when showing your enemy in battle.

Like any card battler, you still need an internet connection to get the most out of the game, but the larger upfront download has made for a title that boots quickly and snaps along while you play. There's even a decent tutorial at the start which manages to convey at least a few of the key concepts.

Minute-by-minute play is card battler 101, though. You enter a fight; tap the screen to kill enemies; collect experience and cards; and then run out of energy after a short period of time, impeding your progress. It's no less exciting than any other entry in the genre - take that as you will.

A standard card battler that merely has better production values isn't going to score very highly, though, so I'm hoping there are more new things to see as I continue my review over the course of the week.

Day 3: Taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap

That's the continuing sound of questing in War of the Fallen. You know, the same sound you make in all the other card battlers.

No additional skill is required here - not in any of the encounters with monsters, at least. Here I am mindlessly tapping the screen until I complete a quest or run out of Stamina (normally the latter, to be honest).

It's disappointing to see Zynga stick rigidly to this fighting formula without any degree of embellishment. Disappointing further still when you analyse the meta-game. i.e. the actions you take outside of the single-player battles. 'Carbon copy' are the words that spring to mind.

You can only hold a limited number of cards in your deck at one time. Well, unless you want to extend that number with Gems, of course. Due to this limitation, and the speed at which you collect new cards from fallen enemies in battles, you'll quickly need to get shot of your excess virtual cardboard.

You can sell them on for Coins, Strengthen the cards you already have to increase their experience level, or Evolve two of the same cards into a new one. Yep, like in every other card battler you've played. That's not to say that this type of play doesn't work here; it absolutely does. But it's a gameplay style that's been done to death and feels increasingly stale.

Three days in and this is a competent, but very safe and unremarkable, card battler. There's more to see, though, so I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt for the time being.

Day 7: Mimic

After a week I stand by my claim that War of the Fallen is very tame: it's unadventurous in everything it does, and it attempts so very little of anything new. But I'm enjoying it at least as much as other card battlers I've played.

The single-player still just involves trudging through Quests by tapping the screen until you run out of Stamina, but it's an undeniably well-made trudge. You can launch the app, burn through your playing time, go off and play something else for 15 minutes, come back for more, and repeat ad infinitum.

There's multiplayer on offer, too, and it does at least have pretensions towards providing a richer battling experience than the single-player mode.

Each card has status effects that are brought into play while the game is deciding who is victorious based on attack and defence stats, though I must admit that I found the best tactic at my disposal was targeting players with weaker decks.

It's in this mode that you'll compete for Treasures. Win and you're awarded one - collect enough of them and you can Forge a new rare card. You'll be attacked by players for yours, too, so building a decent defensive deck is also useful.

If you're a keen collector and want to see everything, you'll need to go back and revisit earlier areas to collect all of the cards that can be found there, and this is where a lot of the game's lasting value will be for many. The art never fails to impress, and so it's worth seeing all of it.

But I'm not sure whether this game is more accessible than others. Certainly I understood all of the systems very quickly, but I suspect this has a lot to do with the fact that I've played several near-identical games before.

The challenge for any company mimicking everything else available in a genre is that anything it releases will probably only be as good as the titles from which it draws its inspiration. War of the Fallen is about as good as everything else in the genre available today, because it's pretty much the same as everything else in the genre today.

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.

War of the Fallen

War of the Fallen is an entertaining card battler for people who like card battlers, but there's nothing new here for anyone who's sworn off the genre completely
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.