Arena of Valor Review
Before I jumped into the mobile MOBA genre, I never thought that you could play on your smartphone. A few years down the line, I was pleasantly surprised with my experience with one of the first ever mobile MOBA titles, Vainglory. Ever since then I’ve been testing out every new mobile MOBA game that came out.
The genre has slowly and steadily gained popularity with more mobile MOBAs coming out left and right. Now, we have Tencent Games (and Garena at least in my part of the world) bringing their own spin to the genre with Arena of Valor.
Developed by Timi Studio Group, the company who’s responsible for other titles such as Hill Racing: Mountain Climber, Counter-Terror: Sniper’s Fight, and Panda Run – Jungle Adventure, Arena of Valor has all the strappings of what you can expect in a MOBA game. Sprawling 5v5 and 3v3 matches, where your goal is to take down the opposing team’s base, while going through the gauntlet of lanes and map side-areas filled with monster mobs and turrets.
The maps in Arena of Valor follows the usual map design found in other MOBA titles. This means that the bigger 5v5 maps would have three pre-determined paths that you can take. Also, aside from the lanes which people from your team need to go through before you can destroy the enemy base, you can also opt to level up through the jungle that the game has. Meanwhile, the smaller 3v3 maps also follow the linear map design where you have the jungle weirdly placed on the top of the lane while the main path contains.
Arena of Valor also adopts two of League’s defining features (well until patch 7.22) which is the Arana and Talent system, which are changed from the Runes and Summoner Spells system in League.
Timi Studio Group didn’t change the wheel with Arena of Valor with the game basically taking in core gameplay elements already found in League. If you’re someone who’s been playing tons of MOBA games and looking for something refreshing, then AoV won’t scratch that itch.
However, what AoV doesn’t bring in innovation, it brings in familiarity. Since the game plays just like any other MOBA game on the PC. Arena of Valor wonderfully ports into the mobile platform the MOBA experience, rather, the League of Legends feel because of the gameplay elements that are familiar from League are found in AoV.
Moving on to the game’s Hero roster. Arena of Valor currently has around 37 heroes at least on my server (other servers have more). You have the generic classes of mages, tanks, supports, archers, and etc. using one of the 37 heroes (give or take depending on the region you’re playing).
The hero choice is surprisingly diverse and I like that Arena of Valor mixes hero classes you wouldn’t see much in MOBA games. This keeps things interesting and fresh. In fact, I’d like to bring over some of AoV’s heroes to LoL or Dota 2.
Of course, some of the heroes in AoV are deadringers from the more established MOBA heroes. I personally have no problem with that because it allows veteran MOBA players that sense of familiarity when they’re trying out the game for the first time.
With the gameplay system already set in stone, MOBAs fight for their exclusive hero and content. Vainglory has their own set of unique heroes while Heroes Evolved has their set of IP based heroes. AoV on the other hand has their partnership with DC by bringing in the Justice League’s Trinity (Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman) and the Joker.
The inclusion of the DC heroes doesn’t really add much to the experience, since they are practically just like the other heroes the game provides.
Among the major mobile MOBAs right now (Vainglory, Heroes Evolved, and Mobile Legends Bang Bang) Arena of Valor has the same feel as all of them. The overall feel of the interface, the character choices and the overall visuals are reminiscent of Mobile Legends Bang Bang and Heroes Evolved. The only difference AoV has is the animation and transitions are smoother compared to the other two. While of course compared to Vainglory, there’s no comparison, since for me, that game already set the standard in terms of visuals and animation.
With that said though, this further emphasizes the importance of the DC partnership with AoV. The inclusion of the four DC characters definitely sets AoV apart, with being the only company who’s able to bring a DC character to a MOBA game since the death of the DC MOBA game, Infinite Crisis.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Arena of Valor with all its bells and whistles and its DC partnership is just another free-to-play MOBA game that doesn’t veer away from the tried and tested. Still the game is fun to play and in fact it runs smoother than the other games (well, except Vainglory).
Still with the game designed the way it is, Arena of Valor would basically just dip from the other f2p MOBA games. There’s nothing that AoV offers that would make you jump ship especially if you’re a solo player. Though the community is alive and active, there’s nothing much to keep you hook except for the seasonal events, or if you’re the competitive type, the eventual addition of the “Esports system” that AoV is gearing towards to (we’re just starting with the Esports side of things in AoV in this side of the world).
All in all, AoV is a game that you can jump into and spend time on if you’re looking for a mobile MOBA game that you’d like to sink your teeth into. AoV has the complete MOBA experience properly ported into the smartphone platform. The inclusion of the League game system does provide an interesting experience that you can’t get from the other games, but that’s not enough for someone who’s looking for a “meatier” MOBA game experience.
In short: Feels just like any other mobile MOBA game out there. DC partnership and inclusion of characters seem interesting but isn’t enough to make you jump ship if you’re already spending time on another mobile title.
Arena of Valor Screenshots
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