I want to start out by saying that I have never read any of the Dresden Files books, nor have I played the physical copy of the game. This game is based on the physical card game to provide players that may not have access to the physical copy or who may not have others to play with.
I do want to advise that I was not able to play online at all. I had sat waiting for a lobby for about fifteen minutes and decided to create my own lobby. Again I sat for fifteen minutes and there was no one joining me. This was around 5pm AST. Giving this a fair shake at getting a multiplayer game going.
In terms of a single player game, there is no story to this at all. It is based around the novels by giving you a themed deck with cards appropriate to the novel. You are able to play as Harry and have two of his companions play with you.
Every hand you are dealt is given random cards. Based on what you are given, you may possibly be able to beat the board. I spent two and a half hours before I won a game. I cannot even say that I felt it was an accomplishment either. Sure I beat the board, but I cannot in any way say that I was thrilled.
After all that time, I did not unlock anything in the game. No accomplishment, just a Steam achievement saying I won a solitaire game.
There are plenty of unlocks in the game. And how you unlock them is beyond me.
The game is governed by Fate Points. On the easiest setting, you start out with thirteen points to play your cards. Each card costs an amount of Fate Points to play. To regain Fate Points, you must discard cards. On top of that, you only gain new cards if there is an advantage that allows that.
Characters in the game each have their own unique powers and stunts. Powers are activated if you discard a card for Fate Points. Stunts are abilities that can only be played once per game and have to meet specific criteria. In all honesty, I found the stunts handy to have, but not really a game changer.
Each board has two rows with six columns. In each row there are random number of villains, cases, obstacles and advantages.
Advantages give the player a chance to gain an edge in the game. Depending on the advantage, you can gain an extra turn or get card draw.
I have played two boards and on each board, advantages and obstacles were both two each. The cases and villains were different. One board had four, the other had five villains. Your goal is to have fewer villains left on the board than cases solved. Sounds easy? It isn’t. You need to manage your Fate Points and determine the best card to play. Once you have either no more Fate Points or no more cards in your hand, you begin the showdown.
The showdown is the end phase of the game. It is your final chance to either defeat any villains that you have previously done damage to or solve any cases that you have put clues on. Going into the showdown without Fate Points means you will rarely win. It is up to chance even with Fate Points. What the points allow is for a certain number of successes, but there are still die rolls that affect the outcome. As I have stated earlier, I have played over two and a half hours and won once. Even when I had determined having Fate Points for the showdown is what was needed to give me that winning edge, I barely managed to eek out a single win.
At best the game play is frustrating, nothing that gives you a feeling of exhilaration. This is my reason for giving it a two. It does involve strategy, but the random placement of the cards on the board and what you have in your hands can make that board unbeatable.
Graphics were pleasantly a six. It is a card game, there are no animations to speak of. The artwork is very nice. From the drawings of Dresden and company to the villains and obstacles, I have to say they are well done. The character cards are obviously more detailed than the cards played on the board. That being said, some animation would have been nice. This game is based of the physical card game and as such, there are no animations in that. So graphics remain at a six.
About the worst part of the game was the audio. I have rarely had an audio experience as bad. The very first deck I played had very weird and annoying chanting going on in the background. At other times, there would be random sirens going on. The second deck was about werewolves. Random howls and growling, interspersed with gunshots. The audio felt like something out of an atmospheric CD for Halloween.
For replay value, I give it a two. I give it a two knowing it deserves less, strictly because every time I lost, I insisted I needed to beat the game just once. It made me angry that I couldn’t beat it. I spent two and a half hours playing it just to beat it once. More over, every board the cards change spots. This affects the game play to a large extent. It makes the game different every time. With five decks plus a side jobs deck, there are many different scenarios you can play. Released are the expansions that add two new characters and they’re respective decks as well as two new book decks. There are four expansions for the game, adding eight characters and eight book decks.
So in the end, did I enjoy playing the game? Certainly not. Is it the developer’s fault? No, they made a game based strictly on the physical card game.