The Amazing Eternals, formerly known as Keystone, is a game being developed by Digital Extremes, the people behind Warframe. They’ve recently entered a beta phase, and it turns out I got access to play their beta game. I also managed to snag the name Medic (rather than using Retvik), just in case it turns out that we’re annoying brats playing a game rather than hardcore warriors.
The premise of the game is simple. You’re playing a board game, and each title is a battle. The layout and look is a somewhat cheesy 80’s board game/comic style. After each battle, you gain experience and move further along the board. Except it’s not, the board game premise is nothing more than a cover for a leveling and loot box system just like Overwatch or Paladins. In fact, that’s exactly what The Amazing Eternals is – yet another bloody hero shooter. Although it’s closer to Paladins than it is to Overwatch. Much more fantasy-based rather than having a distinct, slightly serious universe.
The twist this time is that your abilities can be boosted by cards that you ‘draw’ throughout a match. They have random buffs, such as reducing cooldowns or augmenting your abilities, and you can unlock more cards as you level up. But they just feel, ugh, annoying and random. I’m still not sure what actually defines what cards you get. None of them seem to have any downsides, which is fine, and it does add to the randomness a little bit, but when you’ve only really got your gun, your utility/mobility ability on Shift and your ultimate on Q, it’s more tedious, especially since the cards hard to read in the middle of battle and take up too much screen space.
Apart from the cards though, there’s very little else to the game. There’s a handful of characters filling generic roles like tank, flank and attack; an even smaller handful of maps that feel pretty random, and a weird game mode.
The characters don’t feel that interesting. Ray is kinda like Buzz Lightyear, before he realises he’s a toy, but slightly more lighthearted. He has a ray gun and a turret. Winter is your generic edgy scout person, Dread is your generic edgy Reaper person and Niia isn’t much better, she’s our generic Hunstman Sniper character. Nautica is a healer and Bristle is a super generic melee tank monster who isn’t very interesting and just feels awkward and slow to play, especially when everyone can just shoot you.
The game mode is weird. Basically, it’s like 5CP but with random control points. Both teams battle to attack the first control point and whoever captures it (and drains it of some sort of energy) then has to attack another point located elsewhere on the map, which the other team has to defend. If the next point is successfully captured, then the attacking team goes on to attack one last point. If they fail to capture the point, the roles switch and the defending team can now attack a control point and drain it. It makes for an interesting game mode where you need a bit of everything, but it’s a bit long and drawn out, not great for the only real game mode available.
What’s weird though is how… sluggish the game feels. The controls feel slow and everyone seems to run pretty slowly. I can’t find a sprint button, jumping seems tiny and there’s a weird animation for pulling yourself up over ledges that feels out of place. Abilities are clunky and awkward to use and attacking feels like shooting a cheap water pistol or hitting people with pool noodles. Alright, Overwatch isn’t the fastest game around but it still felt less sluggish than the Amazing Eternals. This game is vanilla Skyrim mobility levels of slow.Which is horrible when compared to how smooth and silky movement feels in Warframe.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Digital Extremes game without a hugely expensive founders’ package. There are five available, the cheapest being $9.99, the most expensive being $1000. Chances are, some idiot will buy it. Cosmetics and extra loot bo- no, sorry, card packs can be bought with currency earned from matches, but you can also buy credits with real money. The cosmetics currently are nothing special anyway, but at least you can actually buy them with the normal currency.
One extra thing I want to complain about. SHUT UP ABOUT ME DYING. Seriously, every time I died, my character would mention something about it. I’ve been playing for like 5 minutes, I’m going to die, stop being so fucking passive aggressive about the fact I suck. Honestly, that’s what made me quit, since I’d been matched with the same 6 players constantly and had my ass kicked across two different maps. I get it, I suck. Shut up.
I just wish they’d done some more with the board game idea. I’m not sure how they would have done it, but as it stands, the idea feels wasted, existing only to give a reason to have people leveling up. The game would feel better if it wasn’t another generic hero shooter. Perhaps I’d even be able to forgive the awkward controls.
But the aesthetic is really nice. The music goes perfectly with the cheesy board game feel. The menu UI is pretty nice as well, despite the in-game UI being pretty generic and boring. It’s a shame that the theme disappears once you’re actually in-game. The name though is really bad. It means absolutely fuck all. Keystone was a better name. Heck, “Weird Cross between Jumanji and Overwatch” would have been better. It’s too cheesy and tacky and nonsensical.
The sad thing is, as much as I like the aesthetic and WANT Digital Extremes’ new game to do well, I don’t think it will. The Amazing Eternals is completely overshadowed by Warframe and the Plains of Eidolon. It’s a simple and currently rather empty game with very little publicity, fighting for space in a suddenly very overcrowded ‘genre’.
That and it’s just, well, kinda boring.
And no one wants to play a boring game.