I must admit, I am confused at how and why this title was made. Just under a year after Golden Abyss, SIE Bend Studio decided to release another Uncharted game, and this time in the form of a card game. I got nothing against card games, quite the contrary actually. It is just puzzling to me what made it so appealing to make Uncharted into one, even as a spin-off title. Although, I suppose it would be just as strange (if not more) to have Nathan in a kart-racer, similar to other Naughty Dog franchises. Either way, I wanted to get my rewards from the last game tested and see what SIE Bend Studio could do with this concept.
Cards have value
As soon as you start the game, you are given the option to partake in either the singleplayer mode, a quick match or against another player. You will only be playing against one other opponent in each match, where you both have health-points and five slots to put your cards in each. There are a lot of steps to cover, so let’s take one at the time. By the start of your turn, you will first pick one faction card. These are basically your fighters and defenders, with them having one number representing attacks and one for the amount of health they have. They can also come with specific features, such as dealing more damage towards a specific card or have the ability to heal.
Out of the faction cards, you can choose between one out of the maximum four hero cards, four villain cards and four mercenary cards you have in your deck. The differences between them is basically that each will require a certain amount of hero, villain or mercenary points in order to be played, with your amount being filled up by one point to each after every round. When you have chosen one faction card, you must put it in one of the five slots in front of you. Think of these slots as areas to attack the opponent and his cards or defend yourself at.
After this, you will get to choose between three fortune cards, all with their faces down. These type of cards can give you a certain amount of fortune points if you let a played faction card carry it and survive after one round or you can bank them in right away for five points. Should the faction card not survive, the opponent will get the fortune card, so it is a great risk vs reward system as these points become severely valuable. Fortune cards can also provide important benefits, such as an ancient dagger being able to cause more damage to the opponent.
Finally, we have the resource cards, which often needs fortune points in order to be played. You can only play one at the time, and they range between traps, hazards, an action, or offensive and defensive equipment to one of the played faction cards. You can only equip one of each type of resource card to a faction card, and these are extremely powerful and can be huge game changers. Then, unless it is the first turn of the match, your cards will attack the opponent’s cards on the opposite plane. If there are none to defend that plane, the opponents health pool will be damaged instead. After that, it is the other player’s turn and this setup continues until one player looses by having no health-points left.
Fight for Fortune has a couple of steps, but gets quickly engaging and is easy to get into after just one round. Many cards affect others and can create combos or clever strategies, making it easy to get severely invested. There is also a helpful tutorial and clear descriptions for how the cards work, making it so anyone can easily jump in. The singleplayer mode comes with a bunch of missions that will each give one out of five cards to add to your deck-building obsession. While you will not have much else to do, the fights do provide a great challenge and will even spice things up with new goals, such as acquiring a certain amount of fortune in order to win a match.
However, it is clear that this game is made with multiplayer in mind, due to being able to personalise the cards’ backsides, the background itself and your avatar. The singleplayer is just constant matches, and while the objectives vary, it can still be repetitive. What you do get overall, is a highly addictive card game, but not much more. You are really going to need real opponents in order to get the most out of this title, especially if you wish to experiment with your cards and get better at this game. Speaking of, I do wish it was easier to set up decks, as looking at each individual card can take some time. Still, this is a truly an addictive and fun trading card game.
Gameplay Score: 8/10
Could there not have been a table here at least?
I am honestly lost for words, since the presentation is as basic as it gets. The cards look nice with clear representation of characters, and I do enjoy that you can customise the background, the back of the cards and your avatar. While the cards do not do much visually besides nudging, there are some nice animations added to this simple battlefield, like cards getting bullet holes depending on what weapons are being fired and red filters coming forth when you are severely damaged.
Sadly, that is about it. I understand that the creators wanted to make the experience authentic, but it leaves with an empty feeling of not having much variety in anything visually. It would have been nice if this was set in a real location, like on a table inside a hut in the jungle, just to be able to both represent the real experience and have it within the Uncharted universe. The same lack of personality goes for the audio. While I do enjoy the sound effects of attacks, golds acquired and the ambient sound of drums for when a battle starts, there is no music while you play a match. Only in the menu does a track appear. With a series known for its stellar soundtrack, this is bizarre. The presentation is definitely serviceable, but nothing engaging.
Presentation Score: 5/10
Does anyone want to play with me? Please?
The multiplayer is an important factor in this competitive game, by going so far to give you the ability to play against people locally or online. You can even have matches where you take turns whenever you feel like it, making you able to take on multiple games at the same time. As mentioned in my review of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, you can also gain cards from that game to play in Fight for Fortune, depending on what you have done in the campaign and the trophies you have earned. Other unlockables ranges between backgrounds, decoration for the back of the cards, avatars, and most importantly; new cards. Having another game to play for more cards is a double edged sword, but Golden Abyss is certainly one you should have in your small library of exclusive titles for the Vita anyway.
Extra Score: 8/10
Fight for Fortune is an interesting take on the franchise that I found enjoyable. Sadly, for a limited card game, you will need friends to get the most out of it and the presentation can make the interesting mechanics visually and sound-wise dull. If you are okay with minimal presentation, you will find an entertaining card game to sink your teeth in. Certainly good, but nothing more.