Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars (PlayStation 4)13/11/2021
In the huge market of gaming, if there is one thing I am certain of, is that any game featuring Yoko Taro and Keichi Okabe is a must play. Together, they have worked on the widely loved Nier series, introducing fans to fantastic storytelling with loveable characters and memorable music score to enhance the experience. When Voice of Cards was announced, intrigue spiked once it was known that both would be working on the game. Does it live up to the hype of their previous works? Well, that’s a big shoe to fill.
The story opens that a dragon has reappeared and needs to be slain, otherwise this dragon will destroy the world. Rather than the usual 3D character models that games often show nowadays, Voice of Cards portrays everything as a card. But it’s also not a card game. It’s a turn-based JRPG, using the visuals of cards to represent characters, enemies, towns, the overworld, etc. Everything is a card and storytelling is done from a narrator. It’s an incredibly different formula from usual games seen in the market.
Movement in the world comes down to navigating a game piece over cards and then unflipping to show terrain. For instance, after you leave town, cards around your game piece flip over to show grass. To reveal more of the overworld, you need to keep moving to expose more cards. While traveling, random encounters happen, turning the game into a turn-based combat with a bit of a strategy involved. Attack, defense, and HP are shown on each character and playable characters have 4 skill cards they can use during combat. The skill cards are abilities from each character that can be used as much as they want, with the catch being gem use. All characters get 1 gem at the start of their turn, with a skill requiring 0 gems. Gems can be stacked or used with a different skill requiring the said gems. Example being 2 normal attacks and then having the mage character using an ability that costs 3 gems to hit all enemies with lightning. Using gems too quickly means having less for healing abilities or buffs, so planning a bit ahead is essential.
The encounters reward in your usual exp and gold, with additional treasure at times. Without grinding, the reward system provides enough to keep your party on level with the enemies in the area. In fact, despite items being in the game, there wasn’t a use for them. The main hero, Ash, learns healing skills that get used instead. Perhaps there’s not much need for grinding due to the encounter rate being so ridiculous and with as many encounters that happen, a heal skill is easy to use when needed. Coming back to the encounters though, they really needed a chill pill. Every 3-4 cards it would feel another encounter happened. To make it worse, it would be the same batch of enemies constantly and battles would feel so slow. Numerous, drawn out fights, really killed the mood, and at times, would cause frustration to point of button mashing x while watching a movie.
Voice of Cards is great for a pick up and play game, with very easy, basic gameplay. The game length is favorable for those that want a RPG experience that’s not gonna take months to complete. However, it’s so bare that it’s like sampling something so delicious but not able to have more. NPCs are common art pieces but they have some dialogue and a background story. More info for them gets revealed by looking in your menu but again, that small sample is a bit tormenting.
It suffers from that due to RPGs being known for story telling. None of the widely praised ones don’t really get acknowledged due to a fighting system or minigames, but rather how intricate the characters and storytelling are. Nier is very famous for that and any fan of those games will be quick to say how good it is due to the development of the worlds. One could easily mention the Amusement Park of Nier Automata or Little Mermaid of Nier Reincarnation and fans will immediately have plenty to talk about with those moments. Voice of Cards, there really isn’t much of that and it’s a bit of a bummer.
Overall, my experience with Voice of Cards was well loved due to being able to play it with ease a bit after work throughout the week and wrap things up on the weekend. There was no long grind to overcome a hurdle or absurd puzzles out of nowhere, delaying my progress. It was an enjoyable game, even if it’s something that won’t really be actively brought up in conversations with praise like the Nier series. It’s still a good game to kick back, chill, and casually play.
Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars29.99
- Very easy to pick up and play
- Unique world designs
- Not full priced, deluxe option available with Nier cosmetic DLC
- Short and doesn’t drag excessively long
- Short and doesn’t go deep into storytelling as desired
- Random, frequent encounters can be time consuming (Future update is supposed to adjust this though)