If, as we did before drafting the Edge of Eternity review, you open the Steam page and you just look at the sketches, the trailer, the credits (including the master Yasunori Mitsuda, composer of the soundtracks of Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy XV, Xenoblade Chronicles), or you simply stop to read the card of the game (whose title is a tribute, not too veiled, to Resonance Of Fate / End Of Eternity) in which it is cataloged as a Japanese role-playing game, you would hardly think that behind this project there is a tiny developer transalpine that we had already crossed in 2017 with the action Hover.
In reality we have dealt with this jRPG since the first appearance in the Early Access on Steam, with a trial of Edge of Eternity dated December 2018, and then again a few months ago with a new trial of a more definitive version, but still raw compared to. to that object of today’s test.
Spaceships and swords
L’universe where Edge Of Eternity is set is a soup where science fiction mixes with traditional medieval fantasy: in an unspecified future, a nomadic and technically evolved alien species comes into contact with our planet. At first, coexistence is plain sailing, with extraterrestrials willing to share their technologies. But one morning they get up on the wrong side of the bed and start bombing humanity which, after being reduced to a minimum, manages to organize pockets of resistance and rebalance the fate of the war. However, the bad guys have the ultimate weapon in store: corrosion, a sort of virus capable of exterminating anyone who has the misfortune to know it.
After a prologue of this tone one would expect to have to take up a laser rifle and take shelter in some battered skyscraper: with amazement instead we meet Daryon, the protagonist of the game, who, armed with a mega sword (which, in the (s ) proportions, makes the Buster Sword verse) rushes into the counterattack of a mech. We don’t want to go too far into the narrative plot: just know that it respects the typical ones cliché of the genre without adding anything particularly memorable, but it is appreciated in its lightness and, after a bitter start, it picks up a better rhythm.
Digging a little deeper it turns out that, musical commentary aside, Edge Of Eternity is a game that betrays its European origins. Not only are the dialogues less “verbose” than those that usually entertain characters of Japanese origins, but also some of the themes dealt with are closer to the sensitivity of a Western audience. There plot unfolds through eight chapters, each featuring a series of dedicated settings.
The Final Fantasy saga, especially as regards the latest episodes, is the one to which the guys of Midgar Games seem to have been most inspired. During the exploration phases, the protagonist controls himself in the third person; his movements are followed by his comrades in arms, for a party that can count up to four units simultaneously. Between one village and the next, you walk through real prairies, often connected by linear dungeons. The possibility of jumping and climbing is missing: an absence that translates into the linearity of the map, which therefore develops exclusively on the horizontal plane. To move faster from one point to another you can rely on nakaroo, two-tailed giant cats that are exactly the feline equivalent of chocobos; just as the latter can be bred and have the ability to locate hidden treasures.
The clashes they do not happen randomly: the enemies that garrison an area of the territory are clearly visible and, if you want, you can go on without fighting. Their level is parameterized to that of the player, so it will never happen to come across areas manned by monsters so powerful that they can only be faced at a later time. In the settlements there is almost always a hostel where you can sleep to recharge the energy (which however is consumed very slowly), a work table for crafting (which we will talk about later), some quest givers and a bulletin board with announcements. Side missions are often flat and rarely differ from the simpler assignments which require you to kill a certain number of enemies to get a reward.
The game engine does not allow you to visit the inside of the buildings; the designers have bypassed this limit by introducing, in some secondary areas, a sub-game created along the lines of the fighting, in which you have to move the protagonists on a hexagonal grid to unlock the doors.
Among the many souls of Edge Of Eternity, that of the fighting represents the backbone, and this is probably the most successful aspect. Turns take place according to the established ATB scheme, with time freezing when it comes time to issue orders to party members, allowing the player time to select the most appropriate move. When starting a battle the view becomes isometric to provide a clearer idea of the battlefield, divided into hexagons. Positioning is fundamental: only adjacent enemies can be hit with weapons, while spells can reach even the most distant ones. During the casting of a spell the character remains at the mercy of attacks, so it is necessary to protect him to prevent the invocation from being interrupted; in the same way you can move if the occupied square is about to be hit by a magic attack.
There are also a few landscape elements you can interact with: healing stones that regenerate health when you are close, or powerful crossbows that can be operated by anyone in proximity are just two examples of how the scenery can play a key role. There are also special attacks that must be discovered as the adventure continues.
Initially the clashes are rather trivial, to become more articulated as the party increases in size and the health bar of the opponents more capacious. However, it would have been preferable to have wider battlefields (the small size slows down the tactical part) and to avoid that at the end of each fight the health bar and the magic energy bar were automatically restored, making many battles mere formalities.
PC System Requirements
- Operating system: Windows 10 Pro
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
- Memory: 32 GB in RAM
- Scheda video: AMD Radeon RX 6800XT
- Sistema operativo: Windows 10 64 bit
- Processor: Intel Core-i5 6500
- Memory: 8 GB in RAM
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
- DirectX: Version 11
- Memory: 20 GB of available space
- Memory: 12 GB in RAM
- Processor: Intel Core-i7 8600
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
The growth system of the character is decided independently by the game, so the protagonist, Daryon, can only be a swordsman, while his sister Selene will get along well only with magic. The customization therefore concerns the weapons, which in turn acquire experience, and which can be enhanced with gems of various colors. The latter can be obtained as rewards for completed quests or for respecting certain fighting styles (kill the enemy marked last, never use the same attack, finish the battle in a certain number of moves).
New weapons, as well as traps, can be created at the forge, as long as you find the right “recipes” and have the raw materials, which can be collected from chests scattered around the world or from defeated enemies. Unfortunately, the crafting system is sterile and you never really feel the need to access it. Even the equipment seems to be only sketchy: in the first hours of the game we managed to recover only a leather hood and a wristband, that is just two of the six objects with which the character can be dressed. Moreover, the clothes worn do not visually change the outfit.
For Edge of Eternity, the programmers used the engine Unity, with all the well-known limitations that it historically carries with it. The character models are made discreetly, although there is often a lack of synchronization between the speech (Italian is present only as a subtitle) and the movement of the lips. The quality of heroes and antagonists is barely sufficient by today’s standards and the characters that populate the cities are little more than motionless figurines.
Instead, the creation of the game world is better which, although not exactly original, is still full of details and interesting views. The special effects of the spells are good, even if the wow effect that often distinguishes productions with higher budgets is clearly missing. On balance thetechnical aspect more successful is precisely that relating to the soundtrack which, as initially written, is entrusted to a champion of the trade. However, the team deserves credit for continuing the finishing work: a few days after the review was released, two major updates came out in quick succession which, in addition to fixing some stability problems, also improved animations and other small aesthetic details. Longevity strongly depends on how many secondary missions you want to complete, and can reach the remarkable milestone of sixty hours, according to what the developers themselves reported.
The first impression remains for the duration of the game, and it is that the developers have wanted to take the longest step of the leg. The team, over the years, has almost doubled but is still made up of just eleven people, too few to cope with the bulk of a title that does not want to miss anything: from long cut-scenes to an “like” open world structure. , passing through an experience system that involves both individual characters and the weapons they wield, without neglecting crafting and environmental puzzles. In short, perhaps a little too much meat in the fire that prevents Edge Of Eternity from expressing its full potential: the result is a decent Japanese role-playing game with obvious budget limits. The problem is rather the fierce competition, with the advent in Europe of franchises that until recently had remained exclusive to the Rising Sun. The hope is that Midgar Studio will continue the finishing work also in the coming months, given that the foundations offer good potential.
- Well done combat system
- The story is a bit mundane, but it’s still enjoyable
- The same goes for the settings, which however are well done
- Too many elements are only sketchy
- Competition from “made in Japan” jRPGs is fierce
- Still some elements to file