When last I spoke about Faeria, I highlighted the different modes that players can spend time with outside of its standard mode of play. I also mentioned that I originally bought Faeria because of its campaign as I was curious to see what a card game campaign would look like. As it turns out, not very good.
Addressing it as a campaign already feels like a bit of a stretch. The whole thing is only 20 boss fights. If that sounds like it’d take no time to finish, you’d be right. At least, it would if the fights weren’t complete, and total horseshit.
Each of the bosses in Faeria is a gimmick boss. Normally, I’d lambast this sort of thing, but here it makes some degree of sense. Having a boss built around a certain set of mechanics gives the player a unique challenge to conquer in each encounter. On paper, exploring all of Faeria’s mechanics with themed bosses makes a lot of sense.
Carefully crafted fights aren’t what you’re presented with though. Instead, many of these bosses impose completely random, unique rules on the player. For example, one fight forces you to use white creature cards exclusively because the boss takes possession of any coloured creature that you play. Not all of gimmicks are this stupid, but enough of them certainly are.
What I find so frustrating about this, is that you aren’t told what the gimmick is until after you start the fight. This makes it impossible to prepare on your first attempt against a boss. If the gimmicks weren’t so oppressive I wouldn’t care, but in most cases you need extremely specific cards to counter whatever you’ll be fighting against. Not knowing, immediately sets the player up for failure because they won’t have the proper tools.
You could make the argument that this is like when you need to learn a boss’ attacking patterns in an action game. However, I don’t think that holds up under scrutiny. Most action games are built around a static set of tools that the player always has access to. By contrast, card games require the player to make decisions about which tools they’re going to bring into battle with them. It’s impossible to stack a deck with every tool type, so you must instead choose the ones that best support your strategy. Without knowing what gimmick you’re up against, there’s no way to properly formulate a strategy until after you’ve already failed once.
If this wasn’t already frustrating enough on it’s own, Faeria’s bosses also passively gain double the mana the player does. This immediately gives them an enormous advantage as they can spam several low cost cards a turn, or start playing high cost cards immediately. While this isn’t impossible to play around, it does limit your viable card pool. You need to bring several low cost cards that can instantly remove expensive threats from the field to buy yourself time to play your own high cost cards.
The final thing that turns this whole affair into a 5 star shit soufflé is that every single fight must be done cooperatively. There isn’t any matchmaking, so if you don’t have any friends then you’re forced to play alongside the AI.
Let me tell you, the AI in Faeria is dumb as a doorknob. They move their units, and place land in the most asinine way possible. What’s worse is that you have a shared health pool with the AI, so their stupidity can’t even be ignored. I have a mountain of attempts that ended within the first 3 turns because the AI immediately let the boss rush them without challenge. I also lost count of the number of times that my AI partner threw away a checkmate scenario, and subsequently lost us the game because they couldn’t sit still until my next turn.
Look – I think a lot of things about Faeria are great, but the campaign isn’t one of them. I almost can’t believe there are people parading this shit around as the crown jewel of Faeria’s singleplayer content. It’s so bad compared to everything else on offer.
So I guess that answers my question about what a campaign would look like in a card game: an absolutely miserable slog through unimaginable horseshit.