Game Review: Black Clover: Quartet Knights (PS4)

Black Clover makes the leap from manga-to-anime and now to game as we take a look at Bandai Namco Entertainment’s release combat driven release of Black Clover: Quartet Knights for the PlayStaton 4.

  Title: Black Clover: Quartet Knights
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developer: LLinx
Platform: PlayStation 4
Resolution: 1920 X 1080
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1
Online Players: 2 – 8
Install: YES (14.3 GB)

Our View:

Developed by Llinx and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment Black Clover: Quartet Knights is a mediocre team-based-combat game for a mediocre franchise; and even those interested in the franchise may find this game a rather disappointing experience.

Potentially harsh words indeed; but these are my thoughts. Black Clover: Quartet Knights is a seemingly unfinished project hampered by a rather mundane combat experience that is tailored to online multiplayer rather than an offline narrative. Confused? Well let me try to explain. Black Clover: Quartet Knights has been developed with team-based online combat in mind and as such the entire game is based around it; including the single-player offline only campaign.

This is not entirely a bad thing, as even with AI companions the combat (at times) can be fun, but it’s how it has been implemented into the games campaign mode that makes it a mundane experience. Think Titanfall with AI filled multiplayer matches (such as Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag and Domination) shrouded with minimalistic storytelling and that’s what the campaign of Black Clover: Quartet Knights has to offer. It literally feels like it has been pieced together without any care and it doesn’t get any better with how the campaign is presented.

First impressions are everything and upon selecting ‘STORY’ from the main menu the initial impression is good; with players welcomed to a fully animated cut-scene (potentially taken from the anime series but seemingly fresh new content exclusive to the game) that sees a noble attacked by a group of bandits. Upon closure of this animated sequence we have a ‘very’ brief introduction to the world of Block Clover and its lead protagonist; Asta. So far so good.

It’s here though where things take a rather drastic turn as the game instantly throws us into a battle with Mars which, if memory serves, is the first battle that Asta and Noelle face as a team after being introduced into the guild; the Black Bulls. This battle acts as the games tutorial but bizarrely there is no build-up or introduction as to why we are facing Mars or how we got here. After the fight we find ourselves watching another animated cut-scene that sees Asta, Noelle and Yami walking through the forest; a scene taken directly from the animated series but used to its own purpose in this game which leads to the games original story.

The original story of Black Clover: Quartet Knights is one that involves the female noble who escaped the attack on her home during the opening sequences of the game as well as a younger variation of Yami who became younger as a result of some form of magic. These two events intertwine with each other to serve a bigger purpose that gradually introduce notable characters from the Black Clover franchise; but once again these characters are ‘forced’ onto the player with no prior introduction or understanding.

Even being familiar with Black Clover doesn’t help and as such each part of the story feels like it was pieced together rather than crafted from start to finish with a developing story. There is no sense of development or progression; just the next piece mission. It’s like watching Episode 1 and then jumping straight to episode 5 and this happens continuously throughout the campaign.

As with most Japanese developed games the story within Black Clover: Quartet Knights is presented to the player through visual novel dialogue HOWEVER unlike traditional games (or should I say EVERY SINGLE GAME OF THIS STYLE) the translated dialogue is presented without a dialogue box and features excessively small subtitles; thus making it extremely difficult to read.

Additionally the characters on screen are represented with static 2D anime artwork that do not move in any shape or form (not even the lips). Once again this provides a disconnect from the usual ‘Japanese’ experience and offers an unfinished vibe to the game.

It’s not just the story mode that’s disappointing either as the entire fundamentals of the game, i.e. the gameplay, is also simplistic and disappointing. The Black Clover anime series is not known for being fast-paced and flashy like Dragon Ball Z or Naruto; but it could be and some might expect this from Black Clover: Quartet Knights.

Unfortunately that’s not the case as while players can move freely in 3D styled maps (or arenas) to defeat one (or numerous) opponents only four different forms of attacks can be used – each of which vary depending on the character and the type of magic wielder they are but more importantly each have a cool down time. In addition to these attacks magic items are scattered around the map with each offering their own unique bonuses and rewards for the player.

In Black Clover: Quartet Knights characters are separated into different classes with Fighter, Shooter, Healer and Support classes being available. Fighter class is your typical sword slashing type of character while Shooter, Support and Healers will attack from a distance or provide support attacks. Asta, who is a Fighter type class warrior, uses three different forms of basic attacks and a powered up state while Noelle has three different types of ranged attacks along with a powerful super attack.

Control-wise it is simple, with analog sticks controlling character and camera movement while L and R buttons being used for attack and defence inputs. Once charged the triangle button can be used to activate the super attack. Regardless of the buttons used they can not be chained together to create combos; they are straight out simple attacks that start and end.

Simplistic indeed but unfortunately it has a few fundamental flaws. For starters the game has an on-screen-cursor (is this some kind of shooter?) which as far as I can work out serves no real purpose. A lock-on option is described during the tutorial but I seemingly never managed to get it to work and as such the camera was never locked on to my opponent; something which was greatly needed as characters would instantly jump around the map and be difficult to attack.

Needless to say it became a consistent experience of trying to find and attack the opponent; but regardless the on-screen-cursor offered nothing of value and instead distracted me from what was going on.

This is the type of combat that one can expect from Black Clover: Quartet Knights and it is the combat that is used throughout all four match types; of which are experienced in both Campaign and Online Multiplayer. The different match types are Deathmatch, Zone Control, Crystal Carry and Treasure Hunt. Deathmatch should be self-explantory; but Zone control is Domination (i.e. control the area and score the most points) while Crystal Carry is Capture The Flag (i.e. Obtain the Crystal and return it to base).

Treasure Hunt is simply collecting items scattered around the map. Each match type is a unique take on the traditional form of play and, in some aspects, is the only positive aspect of this game as it feels fresh, fun and unique – once you know what you are supposed to do that is.

In addition to the Campaign and Online Multiplayer modes (of which features both Free Match and Ranked Match type for up to 8 players) Black Clover: Quartet Knights also features a challenge mode, with individual characters given a set number of challenges to beat, and a Training mode whereby players can become familiar with the mechanics of the game. A Customisation option is also available but its not as expensive as one would think and only offers some minor changes to character for use in online modes.

My expectation of Black Clover: Quartet Knights was to that it would be a team-based-fighting-game that recreates the series in videogame form; and while the former is correct the latter is not with the game opting for an original story experience that is presented poorly with no sense of depth or progression.

Overall Black Clover: Quartet Knights is a seemingly unfinished and mundane experience with a unique cast of characters that is most certainly a missed opportunity on bringing the shonen jump series to video game form. If you are a fan of Black Clover then it might be woth a try; but sadly it’s not a game that I would suggest playing.

Score: review-stars-2

Black Clover: Quartet Knights is now available for the PlayStation 4 within Europe.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

One Response to Game Review: Black Clover: Quartet Knights (PS4)

  1. Pingback: Black Clover: Quartet Knights Demo Available For a Limited Time on PlayStation Store | AnimeBlurayUK

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