• Eternal online collectible card game review by Rick Moscatello

    Steam Patches and what the server does with them-eternsplas-jpg

    Very slick.

    As a reviewer, I generally avoid free games—if it’s free and you think you’d like it, why bother reading a review when you can just play the thing and see for yourself?

    But now there are dozens of free games out there. Ok, “free” is a bit misleading, as, sooner or later, the game makers are going to ask for money (not that there’s anything wrong with that), generally “microtransactions” that over time will cost more than any top selling “A” title. The microtransaction business model has been so successful there are enough free games around that it’s worthwhile for me to at least point out the ones that are actually worth playing. There are clearly some great games being overlooked.

    Steam Patches and what the server does with them-eterngame-jpg
    I'm sure I've seen this game before...

    Eternal is a collectible card game (CCG), played online. In the physical world, Magic: The Gathering (M:TG) is the biggest CCG ever, selling many hundreds of millions of cards. I was a big player (even a state champion and pro tour contender) years ago, but bottom line: M:TG is expensive. The cards go obsolete over time, so now I have thousands of bookmarks (i.e, useless cards).

    If you’ve played M:TG, you’ll catch on to Eternal very quickly. Perhaps the biggest difference is cards don’t “tap” (because Wizards of the Coast, makers of M:TG, patented this concept). Instead, they “exhaust.” Past that piffling detail, the rules for acquiring mana (what you need for casting spells) are slightly different…but close enough that any player of M:TG will pick it up quickly.

    I used to review CCGs for magazines (back when there were magazines), several such games a month, all failures on some level. Eternal is easily the best non-M:TG CCG I’ve ever played. That’s the short review: if you like M:TG, the best real world CCG ever, you’ll like Eternal, its online doppelganger.

    Part of the reason most CCGs are terrible to the point of un-playability is you need a critical mass of players before you can actually play. Eternal has that mass—after hours of playing the game, I’ve never had to wait longer than 30 seconds to find another player. If you don’t want to play someone else, there are puzzles and quests to go on, granting rewards of cards, coin, and crystals.

    Steam Patches and what the server does with them-eternrew-jpg
    The lewts are phat!

    That leads to the other problem with CCGs: you generally need hundreds of cards before you can build a decent deck. Eternal just gives you all the basic cards, as well as a few serviceable decks. The game also will help you with deck-building, recommending mana distribution and such. The more you play, the more cards you’re handed, for free.

    Coins are used to buy more quests to go on…it takes many coins to do this, but, hey, you can always plunk down some real money if you’d prefer…

    Crystals are used to literally make cards. Again, this is another issue with CCGs, you usually need multiple copies of the same card to make a deck viable. You can eventually collect the cards, but you can also use crystals of “forge” cards. Yes, you only have the crystals to forge a few cards but…hey, you can always plunk down some money if you’d prefer…

    Once you’re ready to go against other players, you have a choice of formats. “Casual” is just for fun, a good place to experiment to see if your deck works like you think it will. “Ranked” lets you fight other players to gain, well, rank. It’ll be pretty brutal as “loaded” decks with uber-cards (and a few broken powers) are no joy to play against. Finally, there’s “draft” where you and your opponents all draft from a fixed pool of cards (so no loaded decks).

    Bottom line it’s all so…slick. Usually free games have pretty cut-rate graphics, effects, or service, but everything about this game is done well, and Eternal has incredible depth.

    If you’re missing CCGs, but just can’t handle the expense (and having a closet full of useless cards), Eternal is an excellent, excellent, game.

    Overall Rating: 92 (I have to dock some points here because seriously this is a clone of M:TG).
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Eternal online collectible card game review by Rick Moscatello started by Doom View original post