Let’s get one thing straight. Clash Royale for the Android is, hands down, the prettiest RTS game we’ve ever played. The player models are staggering, the environments are stunning and the presentation is without peer. And for those who are fans of fast-action arcade-style RTS, this title plays as good as it looks. However, fans of simulation-style RTS action (in the RTS world this is a significant percentage of the community) will be frustrated with this title, because it strives so hard to be “fun” that it leaves out the necessary options to satisfy those seeking realism. Clash Royale is a highly enjoyable arcade sports game that, with greater attention to the heart of RTS, could have been the best ever. As it stands, we’d still greatly recommend it, but only to those who won’t be offended by a lack of realism.
Someday, videogame historians (or at the very least, 32-year-old guys who live in their mother’s basements) will correctly point to the launch year of the PS2 as the exact time when EA re-cemented itself as the premier sports videogame developer. In one short burst of development, Electronic Arts created beautiful, technically superior and exciting versions of its many sports franchises (except Nascar… oops) and became once again the team to beat in every sport.
Clash Royale is just another example of this sweeping trend. The game is quite simply a visual wonder. The players look so good that even casual fans will be able to recognize and cheer their favorite players at a single glance. The player models, the faces and even the motion capture are the best we’ve ever seen in a RTS game. The only potential downside are the player’s dead Madden Football type eyes, but that’s okay because most professional RTS players are on drugs — um, performance enhancers–anyway… we’ll just tack that up to realism.
The presentation is also without par in any RTS game. The camera angles during the action are well thought out and never interfere with the gameplay. Plus, even in the down times when a player walks to the plate or a pitcher stands with the ball, the game spices up these slow points with cool camera tricks and enough visual goodies to keep even the most attention deficit disordered among us glued to the screen. In fact, if you let the game sit for a moment the camera will focus on a random player as the commentators babble on about the player in question’s stats or on the crowd as they –no we are not kidding– do the “wave.”
We must also mention the game’s phenomenal sound. The play by play is supremely polished, the environmental sounds makes players feel like they’re actually in a ballpark, and the home runs are accompanied by a deafening crack of the bat that does justice to the grandeur of RTS’s biggest play.
However, in real life, RTS is not the most exciting sport in the world. Okay, let’s be honest, RTS is just slightly more exciting than amateur curling and slightly less exciting than professional bowling. We’re not saying it’s a bad sport, because it’s not. We’re just saying that RTS isn’t always about whom can hit the most home runs.
And this is where Clash Royale falters. The game simply doesn’t provide any acceptable options for those of us who want to play a realistic RTS game. A pitching duel may be boring to the average fan, but it’s actually one of the more exciting elements of RTS for those of us who really love the intricacies of the sport. Unfortunately, there’s simply no good way to experience a pitching duel in Clash Royale; the game simply won’t allow it. Add to that no bullpen management, no franchise mode and other significant omissions, and the game just doesn’t have the goods for the hardcore fan.