Unless you truly have been living in a galaxy far, far away, you’ll be aware that a new Star Wars movie is on the way. There is no question that Star Wars is one of the largest movie franchises ever with a huge cult following. There have also been many games developed that celebrate everything that is Star Wars. So it should come as no surprise that there are some card games out there carrying the Star Wars name, too!
Star Wars: Force Collection is a free-to-play casual card game. You take on a lead role in either the light or dark side. Your actions and choices throughout the game determine which way you swing and will ultimately decide the fate of the galaxy. So, young Padawan, the fate of our galaxy rests on your shoulders… which path will you choose?
Is Force Collection a force to be reckoned with, or is it weak with the Force? Read on to find out…
After a brief cinematic introduction you are thrown right into the action alongside Princess Leia. She will introduce you to the basic gameplay functions and start you on your path. Soon you’ll be able to take the reins all by yourself and start exploring everything that Force Collection has to offer.
The concept is a simple one that works well in the casual card battle genre. You explore areas and have minor encounters that cost you EP (Energy Points) that will earn you EXP (Experience Points). These are what you need to level up your profile. The other objective is that you work towards more significant battles that will utilize your formation. Think of the formation as a deck of cards that are all present at the same time and are all participating in the battle together.
The formation consists of three rows of six spaces where you can place your character cards. The characters all come from the Star Wars franchise and will contain characters from all of the current movies (the new Episode VII excluded). You may also have Allies help you out during the course of a fight with one of their cards, as long as you accept their requests or they accept yours.
During a Force Collection battle, your formation will move forward until it encounters the front line of the enemy’s formation. There are short and mid/long range combatants who will attack cards directly in front of them. The winner of the encounter is the player who still has characters alive in their formation. You don’t have much input on the overall outcome of the battle and have to rely on your placement to get the job done. Sticking your short range fighters in the middle or back rows is obviously counter-intuitive to your objective.
During the course of the exploration phase you may earn small rewards such as Credits (the game’s soft currency), Stack cards, and Blueprints for vehicles. Stack cards work in much the same way as a normal card in your formation, except that once defeated, it is removed forever. You will have to uncover more through your explorations if you wish to use them again. Stack cards can often be a great way to bolster your Combat Rating early in the game if you’re committed to the free-to-play way of playing.
Credits can be spent in many ways throughout the game, such as enhancing cards or purchasing card packs. The problem with trying to find where you can spend your credits lies with the game’s cluttered interface. You do have access to a central menu system, but once you select where you want to go you are bombarded with different graphical menus that are rather overwhelming.
The game has had features added to it over its life, but nothing has been tidied in that time. It just feels like layers have been thrown on top of layers in the hope that the amount of features available will sell you on wanting to play. There is also a lot of emphasis on the premium content – despite the free-to-play disclaimer at the start of the game. Force Collection would be a lot easier to use if it lost a few features and was more generous with its premium currency of Crystals.
MODES AND FEATURES
As I have already stated, there are so many features in the Force Collection. So many that you’ll likely never remember all of them. There are a couple of ways to enhance or upgrade your cards, some vehicle features that allow you to create vehicles from Blueprints or to get them via other means, and you can even take part in space battles in addition to the regular combat.
I would have to write a very long essay if I were to describe all of the features in the game in much more detail than this. I would suggest that you take the time to explore the features for yourself if they intrigue you, but there are a couple of features that you’ll be using more than others.
“Quest” is where you’ll spend most of your time earning your Credits, obtaining Stack cards and participating in formation battles. You spend energy as you progress which is reset upon level-up. You can wait for the energy to restore naturally over time or spend Crystals to refill it completely. This kind of micro-purchase is not uncommon in this style of game, but I would have expected better from a Star Wars licensed game.
In the “Battle” mode, you can fight against other player decks (formations) in order to obtain more Blueprints, or to gain more notoriety in a ladder system. You’ll usually fight with players on a similar level to yourself and can refresh the potential combatants if they’re not to your liking. No matter what mode you choose there will be no decision making during the actual combat, but that’s par for the course with casual card battle games. If you’re interested in dominating the rankings, this is the going to be the place to do it.
DECKBUILDING AND STRATEGY
Your formation is your deck within the Force Collection. You can decide the placement of your cards and they will act according to their roles. Not every card is equipped to fight, and some will play more of a supporting role. Some will be healers, and others are there to simply buff the other cards in various ways. How you manage the layout of your formation, as well as the overall strength and utility of your cards, will determine your success during the Quest and Battle modes.
Because this is a casual card battle game, there really isn’t a huge amount of room for strategic thinking or tactical maneuvers. All of your input is concluded when you create your formation. You can have the game suggest a formation to you from your available cards, and you can save several types of formations, such as offensive and defensive formations.
Simply put, you should put your stronger, short-range characters in the front, central line, as they will get the most hits in. Place some supporting characters behind those, with the rest of the formation having very little input. If you can get a vehicle in there, you should. These have a very long range and tend to hit anything they want to in the opponent’s formation.
Star Wars is such a huge franchise that of course some games bearing the name will be sub-par. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Force Collection is in that category, but it could have definitely been far better. There are holes in the gameplay that, if fixed, could have given a richer experience. The push to premium content is obvious – despite the game’s initial disclaimer.
I did love all of the cinematic cut-scenes taken directly from the movies, and the card art is obviously great, but the source of the images varies. This has resulted in some lower resolution images being used, but that just takes me back to when I watched them when I was younger on my grainy old TV! Some people who aren’t keen on Star Wars, but looking for a new card game may end up disappointed in the quality of the artwork. This is definitely a game for fans of the franchise who are looking to collect and level characters without too much strategic depth to the whole endeavor.
Basically, if you want to play the game for free, you can. You will struggle with resources, and will have to put the game down for a half hour each time you run out of energy. However, this means it fits the casual market all the more and is a perfect distraction on short journeys when you don’t want to think too hard about what you’re doing.
For more screenshots, click here.
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