Given that THE Card Battle: Eternal Destiny was released five years ago on PC (where it’s just called “Eternal Destiny”), I am a little disappointed that the developer didn’t clean up the localisation for release on the Nintendo Switch. It’s horrible, and sours the experience from the outset. The other thing that lets the game down right away is the interface, which is ugly on the eyes and overly busy with the information that it shares, and that makes Eternal Destiny more difficult to learn than it should have been. Once you push through all of that, however, there’s a simple, but fun, card game underneath. With copious fan service. So that’s a win, too.
Eternal Destiny would have done well to take some notes from how Shadowverse or Hearthstone handle information, because both of those games are much more mechanically complex, but feel much more streamlined to play. Eternal Destiny looks more complex than it is. Basically, you throw monsters down to your side of a play grid, and then “evolve” them by stacking two of the same kind of monster on top of one another. Then you can power them up once more by stacking a third monster of any type. After that it’s basically a matter of attacking your opponent with your souped-up monsters until one side overpowers the other. Monsters have two statistics to manage: damage dealing ability, and health, and from there it’s a pretty simple mathematical equation to figure out how much damage a monster will take from an attack. There are some additional abilities to take into account (strengths, weaknesses, and some monsters have special abilities that are worth using rather than having them attack on their turn), but Eternal Destiny has nowhere near the kind of complex and layered synergies that other card games do. For the most part you just want to create decks of cards out of the most powerful monsters that you have multiples of in your collection (so you can stack them during a battle), and that you like the look of the most.
You are able to level up monster cards by sacrificing your excess collection of them (mobile game-style), and you earn in-game currency that you can use to purchase more packs of cards, with the most valuable cards being quite rare. That naturally turns the game into a mobile-like grind towards the very best decks, but thankfully the Switch version is balanced in such a way that you’re not going to need to make additional purchases beyond the base game. There is also a wealth of content to work through with hundreds of “challenge” battles, a visual novel-style story mode (unfortunately, thanks to the poor location, that one isn’t as enjoyable as it might have been), and a “dungeon” mode, which is really just a series of randomised loot and combat encounters, with no actual dungeon exploration involved. Still, if you enjoy the base game enough, the fact that there’s so much of it will be appealing.
The one thing that Eternal Destiny has over other digital card games is, of course, that fan service. There are something like 600 cards to collect in the game, and the vast bulk of these cards feature some variation of fan service for your viewing pleasure. Most of the cards are animated in such a way as to emphasise the fan service, too (i.e. wobbling boobs), and when cards evolve in battle they tend to turn into even more fanservicey versions of themselves. Given that this is the leading quality and sales bullet-point on the list, it actually works in the game’s favour that the game’s mechanics are not that complex and that you’re largely free to build your decks based on your aesthetic preferences rather than card’s tactical value. The fan service can go pretty far, though, so be warned that if you’re coming into this game because you love card games but you’re not big on fan service, then you’re probably going to find it all a bit much.
The art itself is quite nice for what it wants to achieve. It isn’t quite up to the standards of what we saw in similarly fanservice-orientated card game, Monster Monpiece, and certainly, Eternal Destiny’s interface and localisation make it all less pleasant to look at, but across the 600 cards, the art is of a consistent standard, and it’s impressive that the developers were able to keep finding new pin-up poses. It couldn’t have been easy to keep coming up with that many “sensual” poses and fetishes to tick off.
Once you’re comfortable with the way Eternal Destiny plays, it settles into a nice rhythm. Matches are over in around ten minutes, and whether you’re playing the story mode or just battling one opponent or another in challenge mode, the game is careful to get you into matches quickly and keep the rewards coming on thick-and-fast. You’ll never feel like the experience is dragging, and while the lack of depth makes it hard to imagine that people will be playing it for hours at a time, on the Switch it’s ideal for those short breaks, commutes (though you’ll want to hide the screen from those around you, I’d imagine), and in-between the many more substantial games that are being released at the moment.
If it had a better interface and localisation, THE Card Battle: Eternal Destiny would be an easy game to recommend to people who don’t usually play card games, as the mechanics are simple, elegant, and not too bothered with the hardcore deck building that is such a barrier to entry for so many people. Call it a “gateway drug” if you like, with the fan service being the hook. Unfortunately, Eternal Destiny also does everything that it can to be uninviting to newcomers. There’s a decent casual game in there. Just be prepared to work to enjoy it.
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