Eternal War, Eternally Boring
Mobile MMOs are a great idea in theory. Take the grindy gameplay of an MMORPG and allow the player to grind away whenever they want. However, it’s a genre that has fallen victim to the freemium plague that’s circulating within the mobile industry; it can be very difficult to find a good mobile MMORPG. Now, this isn’t impossible (you can read our review of Dragon Raja here, our top game of last month) but CQ Gaming’s Devil Hunter: Eternal War is a game that falls into every “free” game pitfall possible while offering the player very little beyond idle gameplay and weak freemium game mechanics.
Devil Hunter’s introduction doesn’t give a good first impression, but that impression is an accurate reflection of the game as a whole. The moment you pick a class, you’re thrown right into the story. The game doesn’t even have any sort of character creation, each of the four classes have one base model. This is a huge omission, and it already soured me on the game a little. Some people might not mind, but it takes a huge chunk of RPG from the MMORPG.
So, I decided to go with Taoist, a magic class that uses ice spells, for my first character. It sounds fun on paper, so I was excited to go in and discover what my class could do. Then the game started and kept going without me.
I wasn’t moving around and using abilities. The game was doing it for me. It’s a recurring issue with Devil Hunter: Eternal War: the game just sort of plays itself. You could start a character and walk away for 30 minutes, come back, and your character would still be prancing its way through the main story. Oh, but there’s a battery saver setting that kicks in after a few minutes. You can waste your time for less battery, what a feature! At least the game knows what it is. All that said, autoplay isn’t always bad. There just has to be some sort of real gameplay that the autoplay is directing you toward, some sort of end goal. Eternal War lacks this sort of payoff and instead make the whole game a grind. What’s more, the game’s overall presentation is haphazard and cluttered.
Lost in Translation
What passes for Devil Hunters’ storyline is a mess. The localization job feels like it was done by someone who took a few online English classes, and the storyline is enigmatic at best. After putting about 30 hours into the game, I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about it. The UI constantly misleads the player with poor grammar and sentence structure, making the screen unreadable at times. This persists through every part of the game. Hell, there’s grammatical mistakes in their promotional material. Oof. Not even the tutorials are untouched by the game’s poor translation. I had to learn most of the game’s upgrade systems by scrolling through menus until something worked rather than following the game’s incessant tutorials. On top of that, character models overlap text during story moments. The end result is an overall presentation that is laughably bad from minute one.
So, after dozens of hours, does the game get better? Yes, but also no. The game introduces enough progression systems and minor movement mechanics to make the player look at the game every once in a while. There’s tons of dungeons and daily quests, but they’re all recycled quests like “kill this thing, gather that thing” that the game autoplays through. Though Devil Hunter has a ton of ways to spend real money on lessening the grind, the game can be “played” day to day without getting cut off by a paid stamina meter. What’s more, some of the character designs are legitimately good. Overall, Devil Hunter offers up a lot of visual splendor, and it looks pretty good most of the time. It’s just hard to notice when the game isn’t really meant to be played. A side effect of this system is that classes don’t really mean much.
The game’s four classes boil down to three DPS classes and one tank (a tank that has high DPS). It’s exceedingly simple, a suiting fit for a game that isn’t very interactive. I tried all the other classes and didn’t feel a difference in the moment-to-moment gameplay. This results in Devil Hunter: Eternal War feeling like an empty experience. Leveling is straightforward until you hit a wall, one that’s meant to be climbed by microtransactions. I had to leave my phone on for three hours straight to complete a levelgated quest, only to progress through the story for three minutes and have to wait out another progression wall. As is too often the case with freemium games, CQ Gaming wanted to make money first and make a good game second. If so, they might just meet their primary goal. That secondary goal, however, is an utter failure.
Is it Hardcore?
Not even close.
Devil Hunter: Eternal War is a shell of a game that requires very little input from the player. From egregious microtransactions to painfully bad translation, there’s no enjoyment to be found in this lackluster cash grab.