Arena of Valor (Beta) (Nintendo Switch) Preview

By Shane Jury 29.01.2018

Review for Arena of Valor (Beta) on Nintendo Switch

Gamers more accustomed to using consoles and handheld systems may not be familiar with the MOBA genre. An acronym for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, a MOBA game typically consists of a player vs. player battlefield in real-time combat and strategy, with role-playing elements mixed in. Big names in this genre include League of Legends, Defence of the Ancients 2 (DotA2), and Smite. Although not as big as these titles outside of China, Arena of Valor, itself a Westernised adaption of game called Kings of Glory, has done very well for itself on iOS and Android phones, becoming the highest grossing mobile title in the world, as of May 2017. Later that year, Nintendo announced a collaboration with publisher Tencent Games to bring Arena of Valor to its newest machine, Switch. With the playable beta for the game live for just one weekend, Cubed3 takes to the Arena.

Upon downloading and booting up the beta, the game asks for permission to use profile details, and a standard Terms of Service agreement. After typing in a username of the player's choosing, the tutorial section kicks off straight away, with an easy introduction into the basics and an enthusiastic voiceover guide going over each section. First teaching basic movement and attacking functions, the game also teaches how to upgrade abilities and equipment quickly using button combinations; likely an addition to streamline the system outside of a keyboard and mouse configuration. Arena of Valor looks solid and colourful on the Switch screen, and runs well in both handheld and docked modes, yet operates at a consistent 30 frames per second, or thereabouts.

The hero characters are altered from the original Chinese Mythology inspiration to more of a European folklore vibe in the localisation, and consist of a vast range of fictitious Centaurs, Fairies, Sharpshooting Marksmen, Armoured Beasts, Demons, and Gifted Humans, all given surprisingly excellent and unique animations and voicework in-game and in the Heroes section of the main menu, where back-story and attributes can also be seen. Each can be used in battle with a wide range of equipment and ability possibilities, theoretically allowing for a tailor-made experience in the full product.

Screenshot for Arena of Valor (Beta) on Nintendo Switch

Arena of Valor operates through a 3D isometric viewing angle over a square map terrain. The objective of any battle is simple: reach the enemy stronghold and destroy their core building. Blocking the way are smaller tower structures, all of which can be attacked but do retaliate when in their radius, and enemy forces that usually consist of smaller minions and main hero characters of the opposing team. Knowing when to attack, and retreating to the safety of the player's own core area is key, as health healing is automatic there, and respawn time upon dying is lengthened with each defeat. There are multiple paths to take on the terrain that lead to the enemy core. Reading the lay of the land, and knowing when to strike alongside minion allies is the key to victory. The map and appropriate Hero Character icons are always displayed in the corner of the screen and this HUD feature is very useful for strategy planning.

After finishing the useful tutorial, single-player offline battles, or online multiplayer fights can be freely accessed. Single allows for a team of up to five heroes to battle it out on a set map, but online multiplayer is the true meat of the game. Although there is a sizeable amount of loading required in both modes, this one requires the longest wait; likely to set up a strong connection that's reflected throughout the battle with an icon in the top corner of the screen. Communication between players is rather limited at this point, basically being pre-set messages geared towards tactical play. Provided that players have a good connection, online play flows well with minimal performance hiccups.

These modes of play give a sufficient look into what the full game will be like, but the main menu also delves deeper into Arena of Valor. Talents shows a list of extra abilities that can be swapped out before battles and their effects, the Armoury is the equipment shed for a chosen hero, and Friends is where Switch buddies can be made with requests. A chat-room is available with free communication, but rather empty given the beta status, and Settings allows for more customisation on the volume and camera functions. As this is a beta release, it is a very promising indicator of the final product, and one game for Switch owners to keep an eye on.

Screenshot for Arena of Valor (Beta) on Nintendo Switch

Final Thoughts

Arena of Valor will break new ground on Nintendo Switch when it releases, and the beta demonstration is a strong gauge of that. Time will tell if the MOBA monetisation roots of the game will translate well to a console experience, and if there is a strong engaging narrative element to grab a wider player base, but this is an assuring sign of things to come.

Developer

Timi Studio Group

Publisher

Tencent Games

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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