It has been a little while since I played a JRPG, probably Ys VIII or Final Fantasy XV being the last ones I can think of, so I was quite excited when Edge of Eternity released on Steam. It’s got all the hallmarks of a game I’d look at and want to play, and that’s a great place to start, right?
Edge of Eternity has you starting out by introducing you to the vast world and the war that is going on within it. You’re a simple soldier in a small team of people sent to do some busywork as punishment, when you get a letter describing your mother contracting a deadly illness. You’re compelled by your team to take leave and visit her, but suddenly, you’re attacked by over-powered enemies who, over the course of the tutorial, wipe out your squad and leaving you with only one choice – finding your sister, who claims she has an idea on how to cure your mother. It’s a fairly standard storyline for a JRPG, but it’s well written, characters feel fleshed out and I never got bored of it at any point, which can only be a positive for the writers as the game is fairly long.
It has been a while since I got immersed into a fantasy world. I think the last time was probably Final Fantasy XV, and it’s no surprise that I’m feeling all sorts of Final Fantasy vibes with Edge of Eternity as they definitely share a lot of similarities. Most of all, the games look quite similar – not necessarily the more recent Final Fantasy games, but definitely X or XII. Although the main charater does bear a striking resemblance to the main character from XV! Edge of Eternity has some terrific environments to play through, all of which are quite varied but have enough similarities to them to make them feel like they’re part of the same world. They’re all fairly large as well so exploring them is fun and rewarding!
The battling system in the game is sort of a cross between the old style Final Fantasy games and the new ones. While you’re able to see enemies on the map, you can avoid them as you please. You’re able to run up to them for a pre-emptive strike as well, but this quickly transitions into an old-school ATB-based battle which really harks back to older games, but I don’t mind it. It did implement some strategy elements too, with a small hexagonal grid being laid over the battlefield, allowing you to choose where you want to stand, whether or not you want to be in melee range or if there’s an opportunity to sneak behind an enemy. There’s a good hybrid of old and new in the battles which makes for an interesting and hugely enjoyable experience.
I don’t think I’ve seen such a contrast between graphics and facial animations that I’ve come across in Edge of Eternity. As I already wrote, I loved the graphics despite them not being particularly spectacular, but the facial animations – in fact, just the faces in general – are utterly abysmal. The lip synching doesn’t work at all, which is slightly forgiveable, but the actual faces that the characters make when they’re talking or reacting are incredibly poor. There’s a tremendous world, with an enjoyable story to play in here, but I could never get fully immersed in it because I’d end up being totally taken out of it by their horrendous faces.
I’ll also say that I wasn’t a big fan of the tutorial in the game. It’s mostly thorough, but it is also a bit intrusive. Every step was detailed in a popup box that prevented you from doing anything else, and while some of these were useful, a large number of them were incredibly basic and obvious gaming actions. It’s just a little too thorough for my liking, and there’s a terrific game there, I was just dying to actually play it, not just click away from the dozens of boxes that kept heading my way.
If you’re a fan of JRPGs, Edge of Eternity is a game that you’ll probably enjoy. It’s got plenty of strong features and story, and while the endgame isn’t quite there yet, the devs are still working on it so it’s only ever going to improve. I will say it’s tough to stay immersed in the game, but as long as you don’t pay too much attention to the cut scenes beyond the words that are being spoken, you’ll find this game very enjoyable.