Card Hunter: Expedition to the Sky Citadel (PC) Review

By Aria DiMezzo 09.12.2015

Review for Card Hunter: Expedition to the Sky Citadel on PC

A while back, Cubed3 evaluated Card Hunter as it was, and found it to be an overall good game. While everything said in the review of the core game was perfectly true, Blue Manchu has since made enough changes that Card Hunter and its various expansion packs are worthy of a second look. There does seem to be a stumbling block, though, in that the expansion packs are simply glorified DLC collections, and they are woefully out of sync with what is expected in a free-to-play game. Is it worth it? Does Card Hunter: Expedition to the Sky Citadel warrant such spending? Cubed3 calls Pizza Hut and sits down to play.

First and foremost, Card Hunter has what must be one of the most positive, welcoming, and helpful communities in free-to-play gaming. Vitriolic slander is the exception rather than the norm, and that's probably because the tactical-minded and slower style of gameplay is more attractive to calmer players than those looking for an excuse to spout whatever slurs they think of. Card Hunter is very much a social experience, and the inviting community makes the entire thing work beautifully.

Expedition to the Sky Citadel doesn't introduce many more features to the core game, and with multiplayer being one of the best features there aren't very many reasons left to purchase the expansion pack. There is so little content that it doesn't feel right to refer to it as an "expansion pack," because it's much more like DLC. Since "DLC" as a term runs the gamut from horse armour to The Elder Scroll V: Skyrim's Dawnguard, though, it's important to point out that Expedition to the Sky Citadel does fall on the heftier side.

In essence, Expedition to the Sky Citadel is a continuation of the game, intended for characters level eighteen and above, but players who lack such high-level characters need not worry—Expedition to the Sky Citadel includes a starting party of characters who are high enough in level to tackle the adventures. This is rather welcome, because the grind from level one characters to level eighteen characters is a long one, indeed.

Screenshot for Card Hunter: Expedition to the Sky Citadel on PC

Expedition to the Sky Citadel also breaks away from the classical Fantasy setting of the main game to foray into sci-fi, and while the random bits of Stephen Hawking's voice were humorous, the setting hardly even matters when there's next-to-no establishment of setting. The colour scheme changes to metallic, the music improves drastically compared to the generic fantasy music of the main game, and adventure text is presented as though from a computer, rather than a Games Master. Inside adventures, orcish and goblin enemies are replaced with…

That's really one of the biggest issues with Card Hunter and Expedition to the Sky Citadel: the cardboard cut-outs that represent enemies and characters are nearly impossible to identify. Especially at higher resolutions, the character cut-outs become vaguely humanoid shapes filled in with various colours. To exacerbate this problem, enemies don't always face the player; they tend to face the characters, and the backs of the cut-outs are solid white, meant to emulate how they would look if they were cut out of paper. While the design choice is understandable, it's not aesthetically pleasing, and it only increases the frequency at which players look at an enemy and have no idea what it is supposed to be.

A steady trickle of new items and frequent updates have certainly improved the experience, but these things are available without the Expedition to the Sky Citadel DLC, which really drives home that all that is being purchased is a mini-campaign, a party of characters too powerful to be useful in the main campaign, and access to loot for higher level characters to use. It's really not much bang for the buck. However, purchasing Expedition to the Sky Citadel isn't so much about the content as it is showing appreciation for Card Hunter and wanting to support its continued development. For fans of the main game, Expedition to the Sky Citadel is more than worth the current asking price of $12.99. Although it certainly does add content to justify the purchase, it appears to be mostly about supporting Blue Manchu.

Screenshot for Card Hunter: Expedition to the Sky Citadel on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The added adventures crank up the difficulty substantially, forcing players to be more mindful of strategic and tactical choices. A solid three to eight hours can be gleamed from Expedition to the Sky Citadel, depending on how the player copes with the difficulty increase, and that's not really out of line for the asking price. Fans of Card Hunter will likely have no issue spending some money to continue the game and access new things—even if it does become difficult to determine what, exactly, the purchase included, because of how seamlessly woven into the main game Expedition to the Sky Citadel is—but it doesn't really break that threshold to pass into "must-have" territory for new players.

Developer

Blue Manchu

Publisher

Blue Manchu

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

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