Eternal Card Game – Review

Eternal is a new collectable card game (CCG) from Dire Wolf Digital. It’s still in Early Access on Steam and has just gone into open beta.

Lots of people have described Eternal as being like a cross between Hearthstone (HS) and Magic the Gathering (MTG). Now I’ve never liked either HS or MTG, so for me that wasn’t much of a recommendation. But I decided to give it a go anyway – and I’m really enjoying it.

Gameplay

At first sight Eternal does look a lot like Hearthstone with a better interface. However once you start playing you soon realise there’s a lot more depth and skill. In particular the blocking system gives the player a lot of control and choosing if/when/how to block is a key skill factor. Combined with the Exhaustion system this gives the player a lot more to do than just choosing which cards to play.

Another important element of Eternal is the Power/Influence system. Units have a faction allegiance and to play one you must have the necessary faction influence as well as gross power. This is where the game has been compared to MtG but from my perspective the two games feel very different.

Free To Play

The game is free to download and genuinely free to play. Whilst you can buy booster packs for real money – a good way to support the game – you don’t have to. The game site states: “All gameplay — every card and every game mode — in Eternal can be earned or unlocked without ever paying a dime.” For me that’s an essential aspect of a game that claims to be FtP. It’s also pretty generous in handing out game gold and cards, but that might change over time.

For an early access game Eternal is very well polished with a lot of content, a nice interface and a crafting system. My only real complaint is that – on my Mac – even when in the background (for example while I’m typing this) it still hogs a lot of CPU doing nothing.

So over a few days I’ve gone from grudgingly giving Eternal a try to being completely hooked. It doesn’t have the sophistication of Infinity Wars, but probably nothing ever will. However Eternal is a major step up from Hearthstone. I’d recommend it for anyone who liked the idea of Hearthstone but found the implementation disappointing. In fact I like it so much I made my own Eternalwiki.

The official Eternal site is at www.eternalcardgame.com. You can download the game through Steam for Mac and PC, there’s an Android version in the Beta channel of the Play store.