Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC
Genre: RPG/Strategy
Developer: PlayFusion
Release Date: April 16, 2019


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Switch Review - 'Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions'

by Fran Soto on Aug. 27, 2019 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions is a modern collectible card game that presents a connect play experience.

The Warhammer universe is vast with a near-endless amount of lore found within. There are books and numerous games across all mediums to help tell its stories. A more recent addition to this lineup of source material is the turn-based collectible card game, Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions. Originally released in Summer 2018 for mobile devices, ports of the title have made their way to PC and console with varying degrees of reception. Playing this title on the Nintendo Switch meant having a foot in both the console and mobile worlds. With a unique battle system and over 200 collectible cards, Age of Sigmar delivers depth for fans of CCGs. However, at its heart, the title is a monetized mobile game that doesn't do well on console mode. It doesn't have much depth beyond battling the AI or battling other players, and its nature is that of a pay-to-win system. Yet Age of Sigmar's gameplay is a saving grace that can give players something to reasonably sink some time into.

As far as CCGs go, Age of Sigmar has some rather fun and easy-to-learn mechanics. During the tutorial, the title boasts how easy it can be for new players to pick up the gameplay, and it wasn't too far from the truth, either. Gameplay is streamlined and easy to learn, while maintaining enough of a learning curve for mastery. We can collect new champions, which will be used as catalysts for dealing damage. Each champion has its place in Warhammer lore with detailed card art designs. It is a title that prides itself on looking good. With four champions on our side of the field, we can then assign them spells, units to deploy, or gear that will help us in our match. Only certain champions can deploy certain units or use specific spells. Each card deployed by a champion has its own effect, from disabling cards to removing units and dealing damage.

However, gameplay has an additional layer for playing cards, as champions can undergo quests in the middle of a match. Quests are completed by deploying certain units or dealing extra damage. By completing the four steps to a quest, the champion then unlocks their ultimate move that can be used against our opponents. It's a nice touch to the game by adding another layer of gameplay to the overall match. This additional mechanic also allows us to be strategic in which cards we play, as opposing champions also have opportunities to complete quests. By using cards to trip up our opponent's quests, we can gain an advantage. All these mechanics make for an easy experience with quick match times.

There are a few different ways to unlock cards in Age of Sigmar. Players can play against others and win matches. There are also challenges that can be completed, like winning a certain number of matches or using certain decks. The biggest issue I ran into, however, was an unreliable server connection. It's no secret that Nintendo doesn't have the best online servers, but getting disconnected when playing against AI made for a frustrating experience. While this isn't necessarily the game's fault, it does take away from the playability of the title. Needing to be online at all times can put a major dent in when players can access the title. With the game originally being a mobile title, cellular data makes up for a lack of Wi-Fi connectivity.

Battle against other players can earn cards, but so can actual money. There isn't much of a difference between the original mobile title and this Switch port. Playing the game in handheld mode was the better experience, while playing it in docked mode felt cluttered. There is no way to change the game's UI, so monetary offers and other ads plagued the main screen. Yes, there is a button on the game's main page to purchase more cards for money. Is it necessary to do? Not really. We also have the option of playing against the AI in a climbing tower of sorts. However, RNG felt very much in the computer's favor. Matches against the AI felt like a wall because the AI would usually (not always) have exactly the cards needed to defeat me. I can't say that it was scripted because I did get my wins, but it felt like a casino that's been rigged by lowering the probability of success. It's feasible to see players getting frustrated by loss and simply buying cards the easy way.

Does this mean Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions is a bad game? Not necessarily. It's just a game with a very specific purpose: selling microtransactions to Warhammer fans. The game has unique mechanics that are genuinely fun to put into action, but it's still a generic monetary title. Developer PlayFusion plans to continue updating the game by adding new content. Champions has more longevity to it than other CCGs out there. It's an entertaining title for a time-sink for when you're waiting at the doctor's office, but it falls short of being a good console game.

Score: 6.0/10

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