Black Clover: Quartet Knights is the first video game adaptation of the popular anime and manga Shonen series Black Clover. The game features a heavy focus on team-based combat with 4v4 online multiplayer action while also delivering a decent length single player campaign with added challenges.
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4 (Version Reviewed)
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developer: Ilinx Inc
Genre: Action, Anime, Fighting
Player(s): Single-player, Online Multiplayer
Rating: PEGI 12
Described as a “magic meets third-person shooting” style gameplay its somewhat misleading. Quartet Knights is clearly an anime fighting game much like the recently released Dragon Ball FighterZ or Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker. The game, however, does feature its fair share of “magic meets third-person shooting” in characters that have long-range play styles but even so it’s more a fighting game over a third-person shooter.
As Black Clover’s first video game adaptation you might expect a rundown of the story so far, unfortunately, Quartet Knights features a brand new story of questionable quality. Anime fans will no doubt be familiar with the term “filler” and this is exactly what the story feels like. It doesn’t match the source material well and may leave fans feeling confused by the events that unfold in the opening cutscene. Even though the game does somewhat explore the mysteriousness of the Black Bulls captain – Yami, it still feels out of place.
While the story may be less than stellar the campaign itself features a good selection of battles each with there own unique challenges and extras to accomplish. If you plan to go trophy hunting though expect to complete these battles multiple times, thankfully you can adjust the difficulty. Outside of the main story, there is a Challenge mode which essentially acts as a way for you to try out each character with little tasks to complete, which are basically just performing each of their moves within a battle. Before trying out the online multiplayer I highly recommend going through this mode first.
The four-on-four online multiplayer battles are clearly the main meat of the game and can seem insanely chaotic if you decide to jump head first into them. Best to practise a little first. These four-on-four battle are fast-paced and immensely fun, depending on the match type you end up with. Treasure Hunt is the most frustrating of the three and involves locating a randomly spawned key, earning you one point, and then using it to unlock the other team’s chest, earning you three points. The first to five points wins. Zone Control is pretty self-explanatory and Crystal Carry combines a little zone capturing with guiding a crystal to the other team’s area.
There are four types of characters to choose from attack, defence, support and healer. It doesn’t really matter what you choose just go for what matches your play style but be aware of team synergy. Each character plays vastly different to the next so take care in who you pick and spend some time learning the ins and outs of their moves, Licht I found particularly hard to master. Once you have a character that works for you then battles start to become really fun.
The biggest issue the game has is the lack of online player base. The online matchmaking is pretty barren and you’ll find you come up against the same few players over and over. That is when matchmaking doesn’t disconnect due to an error. One good thing the game does is it matches you with AI characters if full teams cannot be found. This is a feature I would like to see some other games employ as it means you can enjoy the game regardless of real players. One downside, however, is that the AI isn’t all that good.
Probably the most frustrating aspect of the game is the lack of feedback when connecting with attacks or being hit. You’ll constantly find yourself being killed, what feels like instantly, due to a lack of feedback. Not knowing you being hit makes it hard for you to counterattack or adjust strategy. There’s also nothing stopping enemies from whaling on you while you’re knocked down and killing you before you’ve had a chance to get back up. It’s the combination of these aspects of the game that can really make it a really frustrating experience.
Visuals are pretty inconsistent and by that I mean they chop and change between anime cutscene, high-quality character artwork and in-game graphics. Aside from the anime cutscenes, the other two are actually of a good quality and using just these two together would have worked really well. Even better would have been to stick with one style for each segment of the game but instead its a pick ‘n mix style affair.
Black Clover: Quartet Knights regardless of its faults is an enjoyable game that features a nicely fleshed out single-player campaign and chaotic but immensely fun online 4v4 battles. It’s unfortunate that the online is let down by a lack of players but the game does it’s best with AI controlled characters, albeit unbalanced ones.
This title was reviewed using a PlayStation 4 review copy provided by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe.