When talking about digital collectible card games (CCG) you have to tackle them a bit differently from reviewing other video games. Sound, art and UI all play important roles in the enjoyment of the game but there are two things that must be discussed first; the mechanics of the game and how much money you will most likely spend if you want to get into its competitive scene. Competition is the name of the game with any card game, I will also talk about the gambling aspects of digital CCGs with Eternal on Steam. (Please note that Eternal is listed as Eternal card game on Steam due to several other digital CCG's with the word Eternal in its name.)
Eternal, by Dire Wolf Digital, is a Magic the Gathering like game which pits players against one another in one on one battles. You fight against your opponent by casting spells, summoning creatures, defending and attacking until one player's health reaches zero. Instead of the class based system in other CCGs such as Hearthstone, you have different themed mana cards you can play to use your cards. This allows players to mix and match factions to their liking.
There is a campaign mode to teach you the ins and outs of each color of mana and once you're finished with each story you unlock a deck of the corresponding color. You also have Gauntlet, a series of games against AI opponents for better prizes. Forge is similar where you pick from a pool of random cards to face a group of AI opponents for prizes. Against other players you have the option of a ranked constructed mode where you build your own deck out of your collected cards to face one another or a draft mode where you take turns with people in picking cards to face off against one another.
The game has no voice acting to the cards and the song that plays is the same tune throughout each match, but that may change once the game's out of early access. The art style is pleasing to look at and it helps in making the cards seem more real. The challenge and the strategy are there for any hardcore CCG fan and this game is definitely something that takes a lot of getting used to. The game will teach you and you can learn how to build a deck on your own rather easily. However you will have to deal with strategies used by top players. This also means that people with big collections will look up the decks used by the top players; this is known as net decking. For those that hate Magic The Gathering style mana you can lose games due to “mana screw/flood”. This term refers to when you draw too many creature or spell cards without mana to cast them or you draw all your mana cards without getting enough creatures. You will have to build your deck around drawing mana and solid strategies. Not every strategy will be viable in the game.
Let's talk morality. Some of the cards can include demons or women that are sexually suggestive. However, gambling urges are a very real thing in this game and depending on how you feel about it, this may affect your decision to play this game. After playing only 17 hours I have managed to obtain a sizable collection of cards without spending a penny. Any card you draft in the Forge or draft modes you end up keeping in your collection for free and grinding for in game currency is not difficult at all. Also as the game is now you cannot lose your cards to other players. However the temptation to spend money to buy card packs just to get that one card you want will be there. So those who despise the temptation of gambling beware.
This is a solid and deep card game with plenty for hardcore fans to enjoy. While luck will tempt you to spend money for cards, you can build a collection for free.