Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia, the preview

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia, the preview

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An anime? Gameplay: let's complicate the marbles Certainties and Doubts Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia has already been presented to the general public: its trailer towers among the videos with the highest YouTube dislike rate, after a presentation during a Direct that left a bad taste in mouth both to those who expected the announcement of some unexpected bomb, and to the many fans of the "transformable marbles" on which the video game is based.

The reaction is understandable even if we eliminate the disappointed ones to whom brand nothing matters: Champions of Vestroia, on the other hand, is a title led by WayForward (a team renowned for its artistic skills and well known for the Shantae series) and given the importance of the brand treated - the Bakugan are among the best-selling toys around, and this provides a potentially huge audience among the little ones - and their pedigree was more than reasonable to expect a presentation trailer capable of surprising even the skeptics. Instead, a video game appeared on the screen capable of making Pokémon Sword and Shield titles appear with an excellent technical sector, so crude as to disfigure even when compared to Defenders of the Core (a title dedicated to the brand that dates back to 2010, for Nintendo Wii) . After this disappointing first impact, therefore, we hoped to be able to come up with something good at least from a live presentation in the company of the development team, designed to dissect WayForward's work a little more. In truth, and let's not say it lightly, we didn't come out of the digital event with much more optimism than in the past ... but at least some important information has cropped up from the conversation.

An anime?

The look of the game is the first thing that is amazing in the negative. As mentioned, there are WayForwards on the title, and it should therefore be a worthy production from a graphic point of view. The new Bakugan, on the other hand (and we want to repeat it), seems to have a worse technical sector than its distant predecessors, it takes place on open maps with ridiculous polygonal counting, and does not shine particularly even during battles, where animations and level of detail of the monsters are absolutely not sufficient. On the one hand we understand the desire to keep the appearance of creatures "plasticky" - on the other hand they are based on transformable toys that are not particularly detailed - but it is the appearance of the maps and human characters that give the coup de grace: the cel The game's shading is really low-key, and there is nothing to save in the general glance. The marked static nature of the fighting, however, certainly does not help to improve the impact.

Curiously, in fact, here the Bakugan are not directly controlled and the selection of the moves is not immediate during a fight. No, in Champions of Vestroia you control kids in the middle of a fight, the primary purpose of which is ... to run around the Bakugan after summoning them, trying to collect energy tiles to allow them to use various moves. Difficult to understand why the developers wanted to opt for this choice - according to them it was particularly sensible to take control of a human alter ego as a matter of fidelity to the game - since it not only makes the clashes infinitely slower and more staid, but also some point it has something ridiculous to see kids running around a meadow while two "kaiju" lead each other in the background. We sincerely believe that a classic cooldown or turn-based system would have been infinitely more functional.

Gameplay: complicating the balls

If nothing else, there seems to be a minimum of complexity in the whole. The WayForwards have confirmed they created the title to be accessible, yet the Bakugan still have specific species and factions with marked weaknesses against others. The possibility of changing Bakugan in battle (the teams are from three monsters) therefore offers a minimum of tactics, as well as the elements of development and customization, which guarantee enough diversified moves to be used against the opponents. In short, it is consoling to know that at the base of the experience there should be a much more elaborate system than what a superficial glance suggests, even if we doubt it will be exploited in singleplayer, where for now we have only seen encounters on the street against other kids who they didn't seem particularly difficult.

If nothing else, the campaign appears to have an original story tailored specifically for the game. The fact that it does not follow Bakugan Battle Planet - even if it is largely based on this reboot of the original series - gives some freedom to the developers.

Plausibly it is to put some emphasis on online modes, which the WayForwards have pushed the accelerator a little on the personalization of their protagonist (there is no lack of various clothes to change their characteristics, as well as multiple hairstyles). On the other hand, if there is really a mechanical stratification in the system that allows users to enjoy the battles at multiple levels, it will be the network that really makes it shine, and it is right that an avatar is recognizable online. For the moment, however, we have not had great information related to the multiplayer infrastructure of the title: it is clear that there will not be a dedicated leaderboard system, but at least every player should have statistics related to wins and losses, which perhaps could influence the matchmaking.

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia certainly did not appear on the market with grace. Although there is a veteran team at the reins, technically the game is really mediocre, and it doesn't seem to be supported by particularly brilliant design solutions. To save him, perhaps (and he is really a big one perhaps), we will think about the layering of the mechanics, which we hope will offer some depth to the battles, and at least raise the online experience. To find out if it is possible, however, we will have to wait for the launch.

CERTAINTIES The special edition contains an exclusive Bakugan The combat system should be more complex than it appears DOUBTS The basic structure of the battles does not make much sense and slows down the action a lot Graphically the game is seriously backward

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