Voice of Cards Review: The Beasts of Burden, “Find the stars in this nightless world”

Amazon Shake Your Xmas: Natale fuori dagli schemi

Let’s find out together, in this review, what news has brought with it the third chapter of the Voice of Cards series, entitled The Beasts of Burden, which boasts names such as Yoko Taro and Keiichi Okabe.

There are experiments that turn into real series. One of these is Voice of Cards, which boasts the publication of Square Enix and development names such as Yoko Taro, much more famous for Drakengard or Nier. Let’s admit that, after a promising first chapter (The Isle Dragon Roars) that saw mechanics underused while being very interesting, and a second chapter (The Forsaken Maiden) that didn’t try to improve or change anything, we approached the third with a certain hesitation.

Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden has recently arrived, like its predecessors, on PC, PlayStationj 4 and Nintendo Switch, barely a year after its prequel. As with the other episodes of the series, also The Beasts of Burden presents a completely original and almost autonomous narrative, albeit similar in terms of themes and atmosphere. After completing the main campaign once in about 12 hours, exploring every ravine and completing all possible secondary, we decided to tell you about it. Welcome to our Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden review.

A Human Home

Our protagonist in this instance is Alpha (as always, you can change the name to your liking), a young adult who lives in the Hypogeum city, a village placed underground in constant battle against the monsters that live in the world above. For reasons you can imagine, but we are not here to list, Alphe she finds herself forced to embark on a journey with Gohl, a mysterious boy of unknown origins. Obviously, on their way they will meet numerous other actors, as well as two supporting actors, who will complete the four-character party that will accompany you during the various battles.

We will not tell you absolutely anything more about the plot, as the whole series of Voice of Cards places its greatest strength on fiction. Mature, cruel and sometimes even dishonest, also in this case the story outlined by Yoko Taro has been able to hit us where it hurts the most on several occasions, touching uncovered nerves and very interesting themes in a superfine way. Fear of the different and segregation, xenophobia and racism, the constant will to oppress both the weak and the strong.

Voice of Cards Review: The Beasts of Burden, "Find the stars in this nightless world"

Into the Maelstrom | Review Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden

All The themes introduced and gutted in The Beasts of Burden are not thrown into the cauldron to rip an unsolicited tear or shiver, but treated with due delicacy where necessary, as well as with the same due cruelty when required. Not that we would have expected anything other than something written by Yoko Taro: our doubts about The Beasts of Burden lay elsewhere. In the gameplay.

If already in The Isle Dragon Roars we had expressed our doubts, with a formula “based on the cards” that did not bring anything significant to the world of JRPG except for the aesthetics, with the second chapter, The Forsaken Maiden, the feeling of terrible “More of the Same” was chilling and we could only reward the title from a narrative and aesthetic point of view. Voice of Cards is in fact a series of turn-based JRPGs of a purely oriental stylein which all the characters, playing or not, and the game world are represented through masterfully designed cards.

Voice of Cards Review: The Beasts of Burden, "Find the stars in this nightless world"

Shifting Sands | Review Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden

There is no deckbuilding component nor a tactical side in card management: they are pure aesthetics. And there would actually be nothing wrong with that, were it not for the first two chapters of Voice of Cards the gameplay was too limited even for a turn-based JRPG. Too few active skills, let alone passives, stripped-down gear customization, and too little chance of building a truly custom team.

The fear, therefore, of finding ourselves in front of yet another chapter equal to the previous ones with The Beasts of Burden vanished after a while, however. The peculiarity of this third episode of the series lies in the ability of Alphe and of him… deck of cards. Based on a rather infamous RNG, we admit, Alphe will be able to obtain at the end of the battles the card of one of the defeated monsters, in order to take advantage of the specific active ability. These can vary quite significantly: there are in fact cards purely devoted to attack, others that inflict damage proportional to the result of the roll of a die, others that inflict altered status and so on.

Voice of Cards Review: The Beasts of Burden, "Find the stars in this nightless world"

Delighted Beast Tamer | Review Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden

Each card can then be found with a certain degree of rarity, ranging from one to five stars, and which determines the increase in effectiveness. The skills can always be activated at the cost of the classic gems, placed at the top left of the Voice of Cards game table. Each character will be able to take advantage of the cards collected by Alphe during the game, for a maximum of five each. As for passives and equipment, the situation is the same as in the previous chapters, with perhaps a little more variety in terms of armor and equipable rings (always one per character).

Not who knows what variety, therefore, but it is certain that the greatest number of active skills is already a good start to consistently increase the team’s customization possibilities. Certainly then there are inevitably stronger cards than others and we will tend to use each member of the party for a specific task, from the healer, to the altered status officer and so on. However, a decidedly interesting path has been taken, which does not necessarily have to be a starting point from which to evolve, but that showed how the team behind Voice of Cards have some good ideas. He just has to put them into practice.

Voice of Cards Review: The Beasts of Burden, "Find the stars in this nightless world"

Ruins of the Old World | Review Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden

Our test for the review of Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden took place, unlike the previous chapters that we had played on Nintendo Switch, on PlayStation 4. We therefore lost the convenience of being able to jump from one piece to another with the touch of the hybrid console from Nintendo, but we have gained in terms of visual quality. The sprites of the characters represented on the cards are in fact of excellent quality, and we feel they are getting better in terms of detail and uniqueness as the series progresses.

Nothing to be noted under the technical side, Voice of Cards is a series that runs very well even on Nintendo Switch being composed of relatively light and versatile titles. Excellent soundtrack once again, born from the skilled hands of a Keiichi Okabe in splendid shape, who was able to donate a few, but significant traces to this small title. Little curiosity: The Beasts of Burden is the first episode of the Voice of Cards series that features a female narrator. The dubbing is always excellent, available in English and Japanese, both quite valid.

Voice of Cards Review: The Beasts of Burden, "Find the stars in this nightless world"

In Search of Stars: The Ones I Found

What else to say at the conclusion of this Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden review? That perhaps, even for our part, we expect too much from this series just because behind it there is Square Enix accompanied by Yoko Taro. Perhaps Voice of Cards is not meant to be anything more than that: a simple, rather classic JRPG series, with a decidedly captivating aesthetic and a deep, complex and cruel narrative in some respects. The small additions and innovations made with this third chapter make you feel a bit of fresh air and hope for the next chapters, but they do not make The Beasts of Burden so far from the same essence of the series. Recommended for those who have enjoyed the first two and for those who want to experience an exciting story at a budget price.

Voice of Cards: The Beasts of Burden is currently available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Let us know if you have played it and what you think of it below in the comments, we will continue to keep you updated with all the news, guides and reviews on videogame and tech! And if you are interested in game keys at affordable prices, we recommend that you take a look at the InstantGaming catalog.

Points in favor

  • Deep and raw fiction
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Soundtrack written by a precise and always fit Okabe
  • The new mechanic for unlocking skills is interesting and gives customization …

Points against

  • … but in the end it’s still Voice of Cards
  • Nothing too innovative this time too
  • Equipment and passive abilities always too much in the background