If you are unfamiliar with Black Clover, it is an anime that puts magic as the essential point of the story. Everyone in the world of Black Clover can use magic and do even the most fundamental tasks with it. However, in typical anime fashion, the lead character, Asta, is the only one who lacks magical power but coincidently gains a friend, Yuno that is an incredibly powerful magic user hailed as a child prodigy. Both of these are orphans that grow together in an orphanage forming an intense bond of friendship.
Asta lacks the skills to use magic but he compensates it with plenty of physical exercise and training. He also obtains the ability to use ‘anti-magic’ that manifests in the shape of a sword that can cut through magical spells. You utilize this in the game to deflect spells back at your enemies. While everyone else in the world is a heavy magic user, Asta as the lead character is more close-combat focused but he is also incredibly strong due to it.
Black Clover: Quartet Knight features an original story that thankfully doesn’t retread the plot of the anime, but it also means you will have a hard time adjusting with the characters and setting since the game doesn’t really do a great job in this regard. It approaches the story with the intention that the player is already familiar with the characters and the world, hence making it useless to recommend this to anyone else other than the fans of Black Clover. Speaking of the plot, it is a completely new story so it is considered as an alternative canon to the anime, but the issue is the incredibly short length.
The game is action-based but since most of the cast can use magic, it uses a third person targeting system with a reticule for aiming spells at the enemies. You have four different types of attacks that can be executed in various combinations. Most of the fights will take place in the form of a 4 vs. 4 battle so you typically have 3 support characters that can link attacks to execute powerful moves. Asta plays the most different out of the roster with his close-range combat, and playing as him is more akin to a hack-and-slash game with lack of combos hurting the potential of combat. Items are used to gain health or for offensive/defensive moves but they are fairly limited.
The main story campaign is divided into episodes, where each episode also offers gorgeously detailed anime cutscenes to advance the plot. You play as two different characters: Asta and Yami. They undergo similar events, but the narrative is from their own perspective. The animated cutscenes are few and far between while the plot is advanced often using a set of static artwork and in-game cutscenes. This doesn’t prevent the story from being incredibly generic as it suffers from the typical anime tropes. Fans of Black Clover though might enjoy seeing their favorite character represented on the screen. I can positively say the developers have managed to bring the charm of the show into this game rather well.
The main campaign offers barely 18 episodes that can take you 2 or 3 hours at most. This is why I said it is incredibly brief and to top it, the mission design ends up feeling repetitive. You either fight through a dungeon with mobs of enemies, engage in battles with other characters, or endure a multiplayer battle with bots. Such missions don’t serve any purpose in a single-player game. On the other side, each episode is replayable with a different condition e.g. harder difficulty or playing with a new character so there is some replay value included for each episode.
Before it launched, there was a private beta which made me curious since I had no idea it was meant to be a multiplayer game first. The multiplayer offers the same gameplay modes that you experience in the main campaign, e.g. taking control of a zone or capturing a crystal. There are three modes to tackle here: Crystal Capture, Zone Control, and Treasure Hunt. They feel considerably worse in the multiplayer though because of the lack of player count, and a net code that can result in stutters or unfair deaths. The combat in Black Clover desperately needs hit reaction because it feels like you are just hacking at random hoping your attack connects and this issue magnifies in the multiplayer when you confront other human players.
There are various match types to attempt but the objective of most of them remains the same. The lack of gameplay variety hurts the appeal here and as a game that already suffers from the low player count and long matchmaking times, it is hard to maintain an interest in such a flawed multiplayer mode. This means you will be done with most of what the game has to offer in 3 or 4 hours. Of course, there is optional content to attempt like the challenges that feature a set of objectives to complete with different characters, but they don’t offer quality content in them. They are usually just fillers that include nothing of value unless you want to customize characters, which plays a role in more than just their appearance.
Black Clover: Quartet Knights Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Take part in 4-on-4 team battles and cast an array of magic spells to defeat the opposing team! You can assume one of four roles. Use your role and spells to the best possible effect, and cooperate with your teammates to win the battle!
Final Score - 6/10
Black Clover: Quartet Knight features a disappointing main story campaign that is also incredibly short. The focus on multiplayer just doesn't work properly due to its terrible execution and long matchmaking times. It is a game that is purely for fans of the anime and not for others.