Dragon Eternity is an incredibly ambitious mobile title which tries to provide players with all the depth and intricacies of a full-fledged 3D title, while at the same time offering players the comfort of being able to play on the go via the convenience of a browser or iPad. Those who are familiar with mobile games know the price that comes with most browser games; a free-to-play setup that lets players spend a few extra dollars to step ahead of the pack. But where most free titles try to impress with core mechanics as you play, Dragon Eternity focuses hard on making the end game the most exciting and engaging element.
From the very start of the game players are introduced to the basics of RPG levelling by being tossed a quest and getting forced combat to complete it. After this, you are immediately then handed another one. Quests are a fairly straightforward affair with most requiring players to kill X amount of creatures in a single area. It's predictable, but having a constant flow of content is much better than the alternative of only having enough to enjoy the game for a short hour or so. The same can be said for combat, which is easy enough for anyone to fumble their way through with relative ease.
Fighting takes place from a side view, and works by players selecting one of three stances: a standard stance in which players do general damage, a defensive stance designed to reduce damage, and a third magic stance designed to build up mana for spellcasting. Throughout each of these stances players can use abilities or cast spells (once they gathered enough mana) and decision making is made more critical by there being a limited time in which you can select your next action. It's fairly engaging once you have enough abilities to rotate with, particularly when you start getting into PvP. However, group battles add to the frustration, either giving you partners/allies to worry about or entirely removing ability to do much.
To that effect, anyone playing Dragon Eternity should know that the first fifteen or so levels of the game are almost nightmarishly boring, not because the combat is poorly designed or because there aren't enough quests to keep you occupied, but because you literally have a fairly generic skill set until you get closer to lv 30. It's a game meant to reward players for putting in time (or money) and for those who lack patience (or disposable income) things can get fairly boring rather quickly.
In Game Insight's defense, it feels like quite a bit has been done to provide players with loads of content to explore. From an overall zone map players can select a location to visit, NPC's to interact with, or enemies to challenge and (hopefully) kill all with just a single click. Multiple zones boast a decent selection of areas to explore, and a fairly generic fantasy story does provide a bit of fluff for anyone looking to follow the plot of the world. There's a lot there to be sure, but it's all difficult to enjoy when the crux of the game hinges on the repetitive combat.
Endgame for can be incredibly rich however, and if you're willing to sit down and put in the time you'll find most of the game's entertainment comes in the form of PvP. With turns that are much faster paced, victories that yield more than just a completed quest and a bit of gold PvP makes the combat in-game much more enjoyable. Group PvP at high levels suffers the same issue as most group events, but at the very least the somewhat increased pace and higher risk make turns a little more exciting.
Visually, particularly for the Pad format, Dragon Eternity really holds its own. All of the art from characters to world maps is quite beautiful, and lends a really great iconic touch to the IP. The world and zone maps get particular praise for capturing some really imaginative landscape, and though it would have been nice to see the somewhat-3D portions of the game perhaps remodeled after the rest of the 2D visuals there's never really a point where players are jarred from overall immersion due to it.
Additionally it's good to know that the UI interface for the mobile platform is very well done, with all relevant actions, attacks or items all taking up space along the border of the screen instead of being jarred somewhere in the middle or split along a single side. It's a fine detail that makes all the difference on a touch screen,
Dragon Eternity isn't a bad game by any means, and there are a lot of really great points that quite a few iPad owners will enjoy. Unfortunately doing so means forcing yourself to grind up to max level, which isn't exactly the best way to go about designing an MMO. Even if the goal is to have players spend real money for items or levels the core content should always be fun, and that's where Dragon Eternity starts to fall apart.
Anytime a game makes you play for the sake of playing, no matter how stunning the visuals or intuitive the UI, something has gone wrong. It's no longer a game but a fancy chore, and one which begs to question what obligation one has to keep playing. If you've an iPad, a hole in your wallet and a lot of free time Dragon Eternity may be the game for you. Alternatively if you enjoy art and need something to do on those off moments throughout your day there's a good chance you'll get a little bit of entertainment.
|UI works beautifully on iPad|
|Quest variety is minimal|