Imagine a game that has the frenzied pace of an Action RPG and the tactical decision making of a TCG/CCG. Crazy, right? So crazy, it just might work! Forced: Eternal Arenas blends these two genres into an amazing gameplay experience. The development studio behind this title has already had one Kickstarter campaign successfully funded and is looking to do the same with Forced: Eternal Arenas.
In a galaxy far, far away, there exist beings who love to watch gladiators take part in epic arena battles. You control one of these gladiators, and with your deck of cards and a companion you will try to survive and become the best of them all. Will the tales of your victories bring you fame, or will you fall and fade into obscurity?
Is there a long life ahead for Forced: Eternal Arenas, or is this genre-splicing title a little too… forced? Read on to find out…
I’m a huge fan of Action RPGs as they are usually fast-paced and action-packed. Forced: Eternal Arenas stays true to this style of gameplay, whilst adding in some deckbuilding and CCG elements as an added dimension. The action never stops when you activate your cards, so the game is still very much a Real-Time, Action RPG at its core. Your choice of what cards to play with comes before the battle, and what you do after is all on you.
The basic gameplay is easy enough, using either the keyboard or a controller to move your gladiator in an Arena-styled map. You need to defeat the enemies of that current Arena before moving onto the next. Each arena has a set number of levels with the final one being an epic boss battle. You can play solo or unlock companions who fight at your side to ease the pressure a little. You have two basic attacks and a host of special abilities that can be used during each of the arena fights.
Forced: Eternal Arenas uses a traditional-style deckbuilder that you will use to arm your gladiator. Each deck contains 30 cards that are randomly drawn at the start of the game and subsequent arena stages. The array of cards is vast and each gladiator has their own unique deck and cards with the addition of some neutral cards for good measure. The combination of deck types and card combos are limitless. The only thing stopping you is your own creativity!
There is plenty of action in each stage of the arena and once you clear all levels you can spend the gold earned on upgrades that will help you in the subsequent arenas. There are Battle Lines that will usually consist of more than one battle (series of levels and bosses) that you have to defeat in order to complete that Line. The difficulty of the levels increases as you progress, with the boss battle being the hardest.
The bosses have an influence in previous levels as they, just like you, have access to a deck. They can cast their cards as you would by spending mana. At the start of a Battle you start with one mana, and as you increase in levels, so does your mana. This is where the CCG element comes in. There are three card types: Spells, Upgrades, and Consumables. Spells are instant use – such as healing or shields. Upgrades last the entire duration of your Battle and usually enhance your abilities and attacks. Finally the Consumables are similar to Spells, but have a set number of charges that can be used at any time during the level.
Not only are there arena minions and a boss trying to end your gladiatorial run, but so is the environment. The arenas will occasionally spawn harmful environment effects that are also trying to kill you. The challenge of trying to stay alive is a reality at all times. The good news is that everything you collect during your arena run is permanent – whether you die or emerge victorious.
I am already a huge fan of Forced: Eternal Arenas and it’s only the early preview version! It has brought the best of Action RPGs like Diablo and mixed it with the best of CCGs such as Hearthstone. The result is one of the most entertaining gameplay experiences I have had in a long time. The action is intense, and the graphics are utterly stunning to look at. Everything from the arena minions to the special effects of your abilities is amazing. It all adds polish to an already impressive core game.
Forced: Eternal Arenas is a difficult game — and death has consequences. The great thing is that each encounter is randomly generated — similar to the “roguelike” genre of permanent death RPGS — and there are many different Battle Lines to take part in. Whatever you earn within each Battle is maintained and taken with you – even after death. The game can be difficult, but not so difficult that you’ll want to throw your computer down a flight of stairs!
Quests within the game are a record of your exploits, but also serve as a way to level up your profile. Doing so unlocks new cards, gladiators, and companions that can be used in future arena runs. There are currently 4 gladiatorial champions to choose from (or that can be unlocked during gameplay) with many more designed and ready to be implemented into the game at a later date. So with the variety of cards available and a decent roster of playable gladiators to choose from, you’ll have plenty of content to get your teeth into.
I had a blast playing the preview version of Forced: Eternal Arenas. I sincerely did not want to stop playing. The level of fun this game offers is almost unparalleled in this genre. Aesthetically the game is glorious, with excellent 3D models and arenas, amazing visual effects, good music, and great sound effects. There is nothing in this game that feels rushed so far – and this isn’t even the final, even more polished release! The final version should be far superior, with minor issues such as stuttering being a thing of the past.
There will be a live Twitch feed during the final hours of funding that you’ll want to catch in order to learn more. Not only that, if you back the game before the Kickstarter campaign ends you will be given exclusive early access to the game in its current state before it gets released next year.
The arena waits – what will be your fate?