Shadow Arena is a free to play battle royale developed by the creators of Black Desert Online. You can play solo or in teams of three. The game starts you off in a lobby where it waits for forty people to join the game. The North America servers seemed to have trouble having enough people online so I joined the Asia servers.
Once the lobby has enough players, you are launched into the air and the players spread out and select a place to land. Once landed, the PvE portion of the game kicks in. You can kill mobs to gain items, gear, and experience.
The consumables items are usually potions used to restore your health. The gear can be equipped to boost your character’s stats. Shadow Arena does a very smart thing and streamlines this process compared to other games of the same genre such as Hunter’s Arena: Legends. You simply press a button to combine gear to level it up and to equip gear of higher levels. Experience is used to level up your character’s skills.
You can also kill shadow lords, which are much more formidable than the regular mobs and drop higher tier loot. Whilst all of this is happening, other players can engage in PvP at any time.
This is where the game will probably lack appeal to most of the western audience. The game’s combat is heavily saturated with stuns, knockbacks, and disables. It’s a brutally unforgiving combat system where the smallest of mistakes will result in a quick death. The combat is never unfair however, as the game gives you enough tools to dodge attacks. You have at your disposal rolling dodges, a blink, and a dodge where you turn into a shadow and turn back again. The learning curve is pretty high and the combat system will take a lot of time to master.
Overall, Shadow Arena is a very interesting take on battle royales but it probably will not appeal to a mass audience. I do think this type of game has a lot of potential but it’ll take some polish, quality of life changes, and flattening the learning curve a little bit before it starts to take off.