Chaotic: Shadow Warriors

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Chaotic: Shadow Warriors Game Poster Image
Strategy game spin-off of popular trading card game.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game is all about collecting items and creatures and working out strategies within a complex rule set. The violence plays a significant role in the game’s appeal, but it is fantastical in its design, and pretty easy to swallow.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players take the role of a teen who commands armies of monsters in battle against enemy armies. He seems like a nice enough kid, but he’s given little back-story or character, and seems more interested in scanning more monsters so that he can add them to his collection than the reasons why the monsters are battling in the first place.

Ease of Play

The strategy rule system is highly complex, and the tutorials move along quickly. That said, the difficulty level ramps up very gradually, allowing players to experiment and figure out for themselves what works. It’s no cakewalk, but kids disposed to trading card-style tactics should be able to pick things up fairly quickly.

Violence

Monsters do battle by attacking one another with magic. Waves of light rush over characters, causing them to grunt or shriek. They fall to the ground and disappear when defeated. Also, our avatar, a young teen, carries an energy gun he uses to zap bugs and other creatures that attack him as he wanders the world.

Sex
Language

Our hero says such things as "push off!" when angry.

Consumerism

This game is an offshoot of the trading card game Chaotic, and will likely be coveted by its players. It could be looked at as a way to cross promote.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Chaotic: Shadow Warriors is a fantasy strategy game based on the popular children’s trading card game (which has an online counterpart for Windows PCs). Kids who have played the physical or PC version of the game will likely crave this one as well. It’s more graphic than its browser-based predecessor, with a fully three-dimensional world to explore that’s filled with snarling, growling monsters that have pointy teeth and are covered in spikes, but these creatures don’t actually make contact with each other when fighting. Instead, waves of colorful energy cross the screen, causing characters to yelp in pain or fall down and disappear. The narrative and all its characters are quite shallow, and there are no underlying morals to be extracted, which means kids will be playing this game for its tactical action and little else.

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What's it about?

CHAOTIC: SHADOW WARRIORS is the latest iteration of the popular trading card game for kids that originated in Denmark and came to the United States in both physical and online form in late 2007. This version puts players in the shoes of a young teen who runs around a fantasy world scanning monsters and equipment in order to collect them so that he can assemble armies of monsters and pit them in strategic battles against other armies. These battles are composed of multiple monsters, each with their own statistics, abilities, and gear, who take turns attacking, taunting, and defending -- much like a traditional role-playing game -- until one side is defeated.

Is it any good?

Players who haven’t a background with the trading card game will likely feel a bit lost for a while, as the game plops us into the Chaotic world with little in the way of an introduction. A tutorial explains most of the rules and mechanics, but in rapid-fire fashion. It’s unlikely to stick. Thankfully, the difficulty ramps up slowly, allowing players to figure out on their own what all the stats on their cards mean, and how best to select attacks.

Indeed, once you get the hang of things, the battles end up being quite fun, which is good since the rest of the game is kind of painful. The story is virtually non-existent, and the worl you roam outside of battles is confusing to navigate, thanks in large part to an automatic camera that seems to do its best to show you exactly what you don’t need to see. Still, if kids can get past the lame adventuring bits, they’ll likely have some fun with the strategy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the notion of entertainment for entertainment’s sake. We live in a culture in which many children’s books, movies, television shows, and games incorporate some sort of educational theme. What do you think of media that aspires to nothing more than to entertain its audience?

  • Families can also discuss spin-off products. Chaotic: Shadow Warriors is the direct result of the popularity of the Chaotic trading card game. Does it necessarily follow that if you like the trading card game you’ll like the video game? Do you think enough effort was invested in the Wii version to make it compare favorably to other console games?

Game details

For kids who love fantasy worlds

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