Written by  :  The Cliffe (1708)
Written on  :  Apr 30, 2008
Rating  :  3.17 Stars3.17 Stars3.17 Stars3.17 Stars3.17 Stars

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An addictive blend of Magic: The Gathering and Monopoly with a steep learning curve for anyone who hasn't played a collectible card game before.

The Good

Culdcept's key strength is how well it merges the concepts of a board game with those of a card game -- playing matches against the Computer or another player and winning new cards is undeniably addictive. There's about 300 cards to collect, and you'll have to play for a long time before you get to see them all. The single player campaign, although poorly written, gives a long-term goal to work toward when there's no one else around to play against. Also, there's a generous helping of options for fine-tuning your multi-player games, as well as plenty of boards to play on.

A word or two needs to be said about the card art -- it's beautiful. Some talented artists were evidently on hand for the making of this game. Some of the 3D effects are nicely animated, too.

The Bad

Learning Curve -- if you don't play Collectible Card Games, you're going to have a tough time learning the ropes in Culdcept. This is partially due to a really bad tutorial and inconsistent translation throughout the game -- even some of the rules text on certain cards don't make any sense. There's some trial and error involved even if you are an experienced card player, but if you can leap those hurdles, the game becomes quite fun.

The storyline is awful. Period.

The graphics, specifically the 2D renderings of your character, other characters, and the monsters you summon, lack detail and fail to look in any way interesting. You have a healthy selection of sprites you can choose from when creating your character at the beginning of the game, but they're all boring and poorly designed. Many of the monsters, even big and powerful ones like Minotaurs and Hydras, look positively silly when they appear on the game board. At least the card art is nice...

One last thing: The music of Culdcept is bland, unoriginal, and dangerously close to being a collection of tunes that gets stuck in your head involuntarily. Bring an MP3 player to the match.

The Bottom Line

In spite of its flaws, Culdcept is a gem of a game in the sense that it's trying to do something genuinely different. The merging of board game and card game is superbly thought out, and even though the initial learning process is a hard pill to swallow, anyone willing to invest time into it will be rewarded with an excellent and very unique addition to their PS2 library.