Pearl Abyss had first announced Shadow Arena during G-STAR 2019, its new battle royale game now available in closed beta for us to review! For the unfamiliar, Shadow Arena was originally a mode within Black Desert Online, but became popular enough to become a standalone title as you see now.
The heroes then have four abilities that will gradually unlock with monster or player kills. Once again, it is certainly reminiscent of MOBAs like Dota 2 or League of Legends. With the increase of levels and stats, players will get skill points to use on any of their four abilities until they’re upgraded to the third tier – the maximum.
Most of the EXP and loot you’ll want in Shadow Arena will be gotten from roaming monsters. As with a typical battle royale, you’d need to spend a little time searching for the loot you want. The upgrade system within Shadow Arena is quite interesting in that it automatically matches the loot to its appropriate slot, upgrading when it’s able. You won’t need to juggle those inventories!
Most monsters aren’t a major concern since your character can move quite swiftly, but there exist rare boss monsters that can annihilate players should they not be careful.
In the encounter with the above Shadow Lord, it would seem like no big deal to take him down. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a failure, dying when his HP reached the halfway point. Shadow Arena allows you to get a second wind to escape after being killed for the first time, and stubbornly challenging the boss again only resulted in a consecutive death.
Still, remember that Shadow Arena is a battle royale, despite its RPG trappings and appearances. The boss monsters aren’t the only thing you need to look out for. As the arena gets more confined, it can get quite nerve-wracking too. It shrinks quite fast, so it’s quite hard to quickly find the gear you want and get out.
With a 40 player game, you’d be encountering another player whether you like it or not. Each character does have their own escape skills with their cooldowns, but PVP IS a focus within Shadow Arena.
With the nine heroes available, you can check out each of their abilities and try to exploit their weaknesses. In using Ahon Kirus, losses to Gerhard Shultz would seem like an inevitability without fully understanding the strengths of one’s own character – or the weaknesses of the opponent. If you already have an interest in a MOBA style gameplay, the battle system in Shadow Arena should be pretty familiar to you.
That’s about it for a closed beta review of Shadow Arena. The test will be running from 27 February to 8 March 2020, with a launch expected on PC soon enough. A combination of MOBA and Battle Royale is an interesting mix, so look forward to trying out the game’s full release.