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Review: Edge of Eternity Mixes Melodrama and Mediocrity

Screenshot: Edge of Eternity

There are a few games I’ve run into while writing reviews that end up being a massive block to my productivity cycle. It’s either the game is broken, doesn’t work right, or is so damned uninteresting that any small distraction will pull me away from it. It was completely unexpected how little enjoyment I had while playing Edge of Eternity, a game that looks like it has all of the hallmarks of a game I’d enjoy, but ended up being a slog from beginning to end.

Edge of Eternity is a turn-based Eastern/Japanese styled role-playing game, or JRPG. In it, you play as Daryon, a soldier who deserted from his unit after a terrible tragedy, and Selene his sister. Together, you are on a quest to cure the Corrosion, a disease that has been deliberately spread across the continent of Heryon by an invading alien force called the Archelites. While these aliens wield sci-fi technologies, Edge of Eternity blends sci-fi and sword and sorcery, with an emphasis on the magical rather than the scientific. As you seek out the cure to the corrosion, you’ll meet many strange characters, and eventually add to your roster of companions. It’s pretty standard “save the world” fare, and while I enjoy an epic quest as much as the next guy, Edge of Eternity is a game with massive potential that just doesn’t quite get there.

Screenshot: Edge of Eternity

At the start of Edge of Eternity you’re introduced to the war with the Archelites, and take control of Daryon and a squad of fellow soldiers when their outpost is attacked. Daryon’s friends are killed one by one as they try desperately to protect an acolyte who claims he can help stop the entire war. Daryon, the last surviving member of his squad, is chosen as a sacrifice. Daryon decides to desert instead—and returns home, where his sister wants to take him on quest to cure the Corrosion, which is affecting their mother. Daryon, now a deserter, sets off with his sister to find a cure for the Corrosion.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the story in Edge of Eternity, but it does come off as a little absurd. Everything is so high stakes, from the moment the acolyte claims he can stop the entire war, to Daryon’s sister’s quest for the cure for Corrosion. A far-fetched story is tolerable with good writing and setup, but Edge of Eternity’s voice cast can best be described as melodramatic and often sound amateur. But that’s not the end of woes when it comes to Edge of Eternity’s uneven production value.

Screenshot: Edge of Eternity

There are times when Edge of Eternity is a truly gorgeous game, and even rivals the Final Fantasy games for fantastic vistas. Unfortunately, character models and creatures aren’t quite as impressive. Most characters are strangely thin, making them look excessively childlike. The animations are particularly bad, with running, fighting and scenes with character dialogue best described as janky. The user interface is also a little rough around the edges, with the worst examples being the interface used in combat. It’s not unusable, just a tad clunky and ugly. What’s worse is the tendency in combat for NPCs and PCs to clip through objects when performing attacks, or get held up on rocks when moving from one hex to another.

If you’re hoping the combat in Edge of Eternity could help save it, it’s unfortunately not as fun as it could be. Battles take place on a hex grid. Different environmental objects and conditions can have an effect on combat. For instance, if you stand in the same hex as certain crystals, they can buff your character or heal them, depending on that crystal’s effects.  You can have a party of up to four, though I think it may have taken me almost a dozen hours before getting my full party. Different party members have access to different spells, unlocked through a system of crystals. Despite each character technically having access to an array of different spells and skills, most of these abilities tend to feel identical to each other, except for the different elemental effects.  It’s all very basic, and most battles felt easy, with combat mostly a formality.

Screenshot: Edge of Eternity

Edge of Eternity is a game that I put a lot of hours into. Do I feel like I accomplished something, had some grand adventure, or experienced a moving story? Not really. I just feel empty, hoping for something better that never came. I know that doesn’t’ sound like a promising start to a video game review, but the fact is, despite my best efforts, I struggled to get much of any enjoyment out of my time with Edge of Eternity. That’s a shame, because it’s a game made by a small team that really had the potential to be great. But its scope was too large, and instead of a tight, amazing experience developer Midgar Studio went big.  

The problem with Edge of Eternity isn’t that it’s a bad, game, but rather, it’s a pretty mediocre game. It doesn’t stand out in any meaningful way besides its environments. If you’re a hardcore JRPG fan, you’ll probably enjoy Edge of Eternity. But with modern JRPGs finding their way to computers more often than they used to, there are better options out there.

 

Edge of Eternity is available now on Steam.

 

 

 

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