Hex: Chronicles of Entrath

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Hex: Chronicles of Entrath Game Poster Image
Tough trading-card game poorly teaches basics of play.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Involves two opposed factions fighting to control magical shards of a crystalline meteor. Not much positivity here, since both sides are intent on destruction of the other. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Races featured are varied but not particularly good, evil. Though one faction depicted as darker, both are violent, intent on world domination. 

Ease of Play

Meant to be a gentler introduction to complex trading-card-game mechanics, but fails to provide adequate explanation, instruction. Difficulty ramps up too quickly for beginning players.

Violence

Combat shown as exchange of 2-D cards placed, removed without any depiction of physical violence, blood. 

Sex

Mention of a gnome in love with a tree spirit; latter shown with ample cleavage.

Language
Consumerism

Game can be played entirely for free; players rewarded with new playing cards for completing quests. In-game auction house offers players opportunity to spend real money on additional cards.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hex: Chronicles of Entrath is a downloadable single-player sub-mode of Hex: Shards of Fate, and the base game must be installed to play it. This new campaign contains the multiplayer mode's chat screens, thus allowing players to interact freely during gameplay with uncensored conversations. Though the basis of the gameplay is combat, it's shown solely through playing cards and features no violence, blood, or death. This mode is entirely free to play, but the loading screen pushes the cash store, and players are encouraged to use the in-game auction house to buy and sell cards. Though there's no explicit sexual content, some cards do show female characters with ample cleavage. The game also spikes in difficulty, which can add a lot of frustration for players, especially for newcomers.

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What's it about?

HEX: CHRONICLES OF ENTRATH is the first installment of an extended story related to Hex: Shards of Fate. The game starts players as an amateur hero discovering his or her place in the embattled world of Entrath and explains the effects of a catastrophic meteor strike through a series of instructional quests. Players are set to uncover a mystery related to their own origins, while learning the basics of trading-card gameplay. 

Is it any good?

This is the single-player mode of a beautiful, great-sounding trading-card game that is complicated by its spikes in difficulty. Hex: Chronicles of Entrath presents an intriguing story that sets players on an adventure-filled quest to uncover their own power and purpose and promises players a fun-filled experience full of color, humor, and gorgeous effects -- which makes being left out of it that much harder to take. The first episode is set to be a series of single-player adventures introducing players to Hex's fictional world and gameplay mechanics. Trading-card games can be highly complex, requiring players to absorb thousands of details on cards to understand how their assigned powers work. This can be downright overwhelming, and Hex makes it even more challenging by adding items and character skills that further alter cards.

This added complexity cries out for a seamless, new player experience, and in that, Chronicles fails to deliver. The campaign starts with the basics, but rather than stepping up the complexity gradually, it suddenly tosses players into the deep end. That means an hour in, you're making and playing decks you don't fully understand and losing battles repeatedly without knowing why. And though the campaign presents some fun locations, characters, and enemies, you don't get to see too many of them before the game throws numerous, seemingly insurmountable stumbling blocks in your way. If the campaign was intended to serve as a story-centric add-on to the base game's online multiplayer, its high difficulty might be acceptable. But in its current form, this so-called new player experience isn't fully doing its job.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the collection games. What do you like to do: collect the strongest cards, the rarest cards, or all the cards?

  • Discuss the differences between playing a real-world trading-card game and a digital one. Is one better than the other? Why?

  • Think about how trading-card games bring people together. Do you think they make people interact more or less than other kinds of games? 

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Pricing structure: Free (Additional card packs are available for purchase with real money in the in-game auction house.)
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: HEX Entertainment
  • Release date: January 27, 2016
  • Genre: Role Playing
  • Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions

Themes & Topics

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