STAFF REVIEW of Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo Edition (Xbox One)


Thursday, August 9, 2018.
by Brent Roberts

Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo Edition Box art Have you ever played a game that was trying to be a parody of another through near blatant theft, but in the process failed so miserably that you are left feeling more miserable than when you began playing? Welcome to Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo Edition: The Card Warriors.

If this title seems a little familiar, it's adapted from the classic Street Fighter games. Developed by Headup Games, and priced at $6.39 on the Xbox Marketplace (at the time this review was submitted), this is a truly unique experience that sadly doesn't end well. Normally I go into talking about the game at this juncture, and point out different aspects of it and give merit where it might be due. Now however, I'm going to tell you why you should stay away from this game at all costs.

The opening sequence is a straight up adaptation of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo's opening. It involves a person with a deck of cards that is shooting them from one hand to another while the music and tension builds, and at the end, the "card warrior" throws the cards towards the screen in a charged up Hadouken fashion. The sad reality is that nothing I just explained to you ever happens, nor is anywhere to be found within the game. You start to wonder then, how do they do a tie in parody of Street Fighter 2 Turbo when the game itself is Blackjack? The answer is, they don't.


After the opening sequence you are treated to three menus where you can play single player combat (single player Blackjack), a challenge mode, and lastly a party mode. I'm going to give you a rundown of all three modes, so let's begin with the single player mode. This is where you will select from a variety of Blackjack players, none of whom have special powers. There's no real difference between the players, so pick whoever you want. After your selection you'll be shown a world map just like you would see in Street Fighter 2 Turbo, with the various country flags and a little airplane that travels from flag to flag. So far, it's sounding like an average homage, so let's keep moving forward.

You arrive at the Blackjack table, and based off your opponent, you will see various animations in the background. The table in Spain has a bull fight in the background, but the table in Columbia has people floating on rafts in a drug lords pool while cocaine residue and men with guns surround the table. These levels try to find the essence of what Street Fighter 2 has always had, but regrettably, fail on numerous accounts and in sometimes, incredible stereotypical fashion. These levels do absolutely nothing to improve the game or contribute anything at all. In Street Fighter 2 Turbo, the stages offered things such as breakable objects, or even interactive elements depending on the fighter chosen. Here though, the Right Bumper, which acts as your taunt button, is your only weapon, ever.

So, now you're at your opponents' table and it's time to fight, so you're thinking things like drink throwing, chip chucking or maybe tributes to Street Fighter such as hundred hand slap, fire balls, upper cuts or anything else found in ANY Street Fighter game, but you will be disappointed. Instead of beating your opponent senseless, your object is to have collected more money than your opponent at the end of 10 rounds (hands). Yes, that's correct, the game that is paying tribute to an iconic fighting game has no sort of contact of any kind. Instead of just playing against the opponent, you'll have to also contend with the dealer. A lot of people would say that dealers have unfair advantages being digitally programmed, but I'm of the mindset that I don't care if they are because there really isn't any point of playing this game to begin with. But let's soldier on, shall we?


Let's say you throw all your money in the first hand and lose; darn. When the fake Street Fighter announcer says "You Lose", you'll see a losing quote screen such as you would see in Street Fighter, and when the countdown begins for the continue, it appears ripped straight from the game itself. However, that is where the similarities end. So, for this example, let's say you hit continue and now you're back in the game and starting once again with $1000 in chips. Here is where I will show you how broken this game is. You bet the full $1000 again and this time you get two 10's which total twenty. The game offers you the ability to split your bet. Let me explain this.

When you have two of the same card in your hand, you can split your cards and get two new cards, one for each that you split. Now, if you had two 8's you could split them and get two more cards, one for each 8. The catch here is that in order to split your bet, you're required to bet the same amount again. So, let's say you bet $100 and you get two 8's. You split them, so you have to bet another $100 on the 2nd hand that you just created. So now that it's explained, back to our game.

In the example we bet $1000 which is all the money we have. We get two 10's and decide to split. Based off the example above, I would have to bet another $1000 for the hand that I just created. Problem is that I don't have the money, but the game doesn't care because it allows you to bet imaginary money. Yes, you can place a $1000 bet, and make back $3000 in winnings and take a total of $4000. I bet that you are asking, “you can win profit from money you don't have?” Yes, yes you can. Now let's say you do that but each hand you get a blackjack and your winnings increase by 1.5X per hand which starts to equal massive profits.

The other issue is that the single player mode is supposed to be where you combat your opponents at the card table; however, the game only gives you 10 hands. Yes, you are limited to ONLY 10 hands, and the object of the game is to have more money at the end than your opponent. There is no sort of fight or combative situation at all. In fact, this entirely takes the point out of dropping your opponent to $0 and therefore eliminates any and all reason for playing this game.


Let me give you another example. I started out and bet all my chips ($1000), I lost and had to continue, so I repeated the bet and lost, so I continued again. This time I bet the $1000 and won while my opponent only won $200. So, now I have $2000 and my opponent $1200.

My next bet I lower to $200 and keep it locked in for the duration while my opponent bets and loses hundreds of dollars, and then, when down to the last few hundred, the A.I. will gain a slight winning streak so as not to go broke. This method of conservation completely drains all the excitement that would come with fighting cards, but alas this method wins a majority of the games played, so if you're looking to snag those achievements for completing the game with certain characters, then think conservative once you have amassed your pile of chips. Now, you may be thinking that the sadness would be coming to an end relatively soon, and I'm sorry to disappoint you readers yet again.

What is the one thing that made games like Street Fighter an instant hit? That would be multiplayer, and in this game, it doesn't exist online. Yes, regrettably there is no online multiplayer, so if you want to partake in any sort of gaming action with friends, they better be over at your house to do so. In today's gaming age, why you wouldn't allow a social card game like Blackjack to have online multiplayer is truly a joke. So, to pay homage to a game that strived to connect people online to play together, developer Stage Clear Studios decided not to allow that to happen. This has to be the biggest downfall of the game itself.

Priced normally at $7.99, you get a game that normally centers around multiplayer experiences but offers none; that's supposed to follow proper gaming mechanics, but doesn't and claims to be an homage to one of the greatest fighting games in history, but it offers no combat. In short, Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo Edition is a game that suffers from an identity crisis and sadly fails on all fronts. What is the most disappointing to me about this is how all these problems could have been avoided had the developers taken a bit of time to figure out how to integrate these elements into the game and include online multiplayer connectivity. They say imitation is the best form of flattery; however, this offers nothing along those lines.


Suggestions:
If you're going to pay homage to Street Fighter, please think about how you are going to incorporate combat into your game outside of giving you only 10 hands to do so. Also, remove the pointless emotion Right Bumper antics, as they do nothing, and instead incorporate various "individually tailored" attacks that should happen to the opponent when you beat them in a hand. Then also work on developing ONLINE MULTIPLAYER.


Overall: 3.0 / 10
Gameplay: 3.0 / 10
Visuals: 4.0 / 10
Sound: 2.8 / 10

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