Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars is a new RPG from Square Enix that recreates the feeling of a table top role playing game in video game format.
Consistently breaking the fourth wall the Game Master will guide you on your adventure across what turns out is multiple Islands dealing with a plot that covers growth, betrayal, and the world's over dependence on the pharmaceutical industry, and no I didn't just make that last one up but I won't get to deep into the weeds on it for fear of spoilers.
What really pulled me into this game was the over world map. As soon as I saw the cards laid out in a hex pattern I knew I was going to buy this game. It reminded me of the World of Greyhawk maps I got from my uncles when I was a kid from the D&D sessions they played when they were teenagers. And more recently the hex crawls my players went on in the land of Chult. There are a lot of fabulous Hex Crawls out there. Look them up!
While the overworld is laid out in a hex platform town and dungeons see cards shift from a hex to the more traditional square (ish), they are cards after all, layout. Random encounters abound and not all of them are of the monster variety, you can find wandering merchant, bandits, and even a stray monster that just needs a hand. (Or, you know, you could choose to merc it). Early on I found the random enemy encounters to be too frequent but having played through the game to completion in about 15 hours I realized that they were perfectly paced to get me to the appropriate level for any type of boss.
The game presents it's self as a "card" game but it's not a deck builder. Functionally the game UI is presented as cards but mechanics like chance to draw certain cards is missing. You are limited to the number of abilities you can have equipped at anyone time, 4, but you'll always be able to use those if you have the resources, there is no random chance to draw the ability you need from your deck.
The mechanics of the abilities are easy to understand and fun to use. While the depth of the game is a little shallow the fact that it doesn't overstay it's welcome and become a 60 hour slog fest makes that forgivable. The main campaign should only take you about 13-15 hours to complete and then you can go back and try and find anything you missed. There is one optional boss that only opens up after you roll credits but overall this is a compact story that is respectful of your time and there aren't too many fake outs that drag the game on and on.
I recently saw a question asked what is your favorite game that is a board game in video game format. While Voice of Cards is not a board game I do think this game does a wonderful job of casting the illusion of being one.
I do think that Square Enix has a possible missed opportunity with this game. While new IP's can always be exciting if they had replaced the carriage master with a chocobo station and added in some crystals they could have called called this Final Fantasy: Voice of Cards and probably sold 10 x.
Over all I found the game to be an enjoyable experience and was a very good game and I'd give it a 7 falling just short of being a great game.
There is also a card game within in the game that is designed for multiplayer which isn't really that memorable and they could have probably done with out but if you want to extend your time in Voice of Cards it's there for you to play.