In the Clover Kingdom where magic is common place and even the most menial tasks are completed with simple spells, young mages from all around gather to join the Order of the Magic Knights. Asta, a young man with no magical abilities, aims to become the Wizard King through hard work and determination alone. Black Clover: Quartet Knights is the first console game to come from the popular shonen series and is a great debut for the action packed franchise. A third-person shooter with RPG elements, Quartet Knights aims to recreate the magic of the anime series all while providing a fun and exciting 4 vs 4 shoot-em-up, and comes pretty close to meeting that expectation.
Black Clover: Quartet Knights’ campaign mode is short and sweet with an original story written exclusively for the game, which delves into the history of Yami Sukihiro, leader of the Black Bulls, the Magic Knights’ most problematic squad. I was excited to see that the game had included original video animation for the campaign, which for me, a fan of the series, is appreciated greatly. From here the story was completed with very little effort on my part since it was (as I said) so short and sweet. The campaign mode, while fun, felt much more like a training exercise that would prepare me for the game’s online battle mode.
The gameplay of Black Clover: Quartet Knights has been both fun and frustrating with certain elements of the game throwing me for a loop. It comes with several different battle modes, including Zone Control, Treasure Hunt, and Crystal Carry, each with their own prerequisites for victory. In the beginning during the campaign mode you’ll only have two main characters, Asta and Yami, to play with. But once you’ve completed the missions once over you’re able to choose whomever you like to battle with. Each character has their own set of moves and is sorted into one of four battle types – Shooter, Fighter, Healer, and Support.
A fighter type uses their superior strength and melee attacks to take out enemies around them. They are best used in the front lines of battle and do the most damage when up close. Shooters are long range fighters who use their magic from a distance and are best used to create confusion among the enemy’s ranks. Parameter boosting and enemy sabotage abilities are best used by support type fighters, and play a large roll in turning the tide of battle. Healers, obviously, take on the role of replenishing their teammate’s health, and it’s a rather tough job in the battle chaos of Quartet Knights when everyone is firing off spells left and right.
Each fighter has their own unique battle style and it takes some time to get used to, but once I found a play style that suited me, it became easy to dominate the field with well-timed attacks and teamwork. After completing the story and several optional missions I was able to use the money accumulated from my victories to improve the stats and attacks of the characters. Characters all come with pre-set moves but these can be modified and improved with the purchasing of new deck and ability cards in the character selection menu. This didn’t greatly affect normal gameplay, but when it came to playing online, having a finely tuned set of stat and attack buffs came in handy.
Online battle mode is where the real focus of Black Clover: Quartet Knights comes into play. It becomes abundantly clear that the campaign and challenge modes were something akin to training wheels of the game, and online battle is where you put all your experience into action. The online mode allows players to either add existing friends to a match or randomly pair eight players in a four versus four match. Once you choose your fighter the game divides up the eight players in half to create the best rounded team and pits each player in randomly selected battle modes. These battles are some of the most hectic and enjoyable online experiences I’ve had with a shooter genre game, and while it’s not perfect there’s a lot of fun to be had here.
Despite it being an enjoyable game, Black Clover: Quartet Knights is not without its flaws. Because the battlefields can be so hectic, it’s sometimes hard to tell where the rest of your team is, and if you venture too far away from the safety of the group, you’ll find yourself knocked out quick smart! The lack of an automated targeting system also makes for some frustrating, and often missed opportunities. You really require precision and focus when attacking as the other team will not give you a second chance to attack if you mess up your first. Lastly, while it’s full of colourful characters to play with, you’ll find that certain fighters have a distinct advantage to fighting in certain modes and with the online battle mode being randomised, it’s a hit and miss system that sometimes gives you an advantage and at other times a handicap.
The bottom line
Black Clover: Quartet Knights is a fun and often times rewarding magic shooter that perfectly captures the feel of the anime series. It succeeds in drawing the gamer into the world’s lore, while avoiding the oversaturation of content many anime adapted games seem to ooze. The game may not appeal to everyone, however it’s one that any fan of the series should definitely pick up and have a go at. Its expansive character roster and entertaining online battle modes will keep you playing for hours until you climb your way up the Magic Knight ranks to become Wizard King.