Being a game designer and a reviewer has given me an opportunity afforded only to a select few, and that is, I got to witness firsthand Eternight’s progression as the developer continued to post live updates as he worked tirelessly on his passion project.
I knew from the moment he started working on it that Eternights the game was going to be unique because the developer, Jae Hyun Yoo, blended so many different genres of gameplay together cohesively, such as 2D animation, 3D animation, visual novel story-telling, a new and unique twist on the role-playing game format, and the hack’n’slash combat style of gameplay all for Eternights.
Now, let’s break down what I loved and hated about Eternights.
Eternights is a story-driven game with attributes of adventure, hack’n’slash, and role-playing wrapped up nicely in the form of a visual novel with unique character interactions and romance options! But don’t be fooled, as these romance options are a crucial gameplay element where you build close relationships or bonds with other characters when you get close to other characters and build stronger bonds with them. They will unlock new abilities that allow them to grow stronger and help you progress through the game’s story. So, in short, Eternights takes a real-life approach to friendships, with how they can make us stronger.
The story is straightforward, with it being the end of the world. You and a group of teenagers with attitude must defeat the villain who wants to reshape the world in their own image to prevent them from doing that. So, the counterpart of this villain then bestows upon you and your friends special abilities to help aid you in your quest to stop this evil.
The problem is people around you are turning into monsters and killing others, so you need to battle your way through with your team to stop them, while also occasionally romancing them to make your powers stronger.
Now, combat in Eternights is a bit tricky but, if you have ever played the Batman Arkham games or the Shadows of Mordor games. Then you may be well versed already, as the combat is very fluid, and you need to get the timing down to combo moves. Like many hack’n’slash titles, the gameplay consists of light and heavy attacks while dodging/parrying attacks, which is HEAVILY consistent on timing.
There are three issues with this combat design, and it was off-putting for me. The first is breaking the shield of an enemy. During combat and upon triggering the shield break scene, it turns into a quick time event, where you need to push buttons at a certain time and in succession, or you miss your opportunity. I found doing that made the combat less fluid and a bit off-putting.
The second issue I had with combat was the timing, which coincidentally is tied to your difficulty setting. The higher the difficulty, the more narrow the timing, which makes using special moves, dodging, and avoiding attacks much harder.
Because of that, I had to put the game onto the easiest difficulty to progress. I wanted a normal gameplay experience focused more on the narrative experience and also because I was beginning to get frustrated with Eternights.
Lastly, the final issue with the combat portion of the gameplay is that there are no healing items, only healing abilities that your companions can unlock as you progress through the game’s story. Albeit, they get this ability just after the first encounter, so the game is quite upfront regarding this issue.
The problem with this is that you will need to periodically return back to your base of operations to recover, as the abilities are the only way to heal in the field, and they have a usage limit. So the gameplay can turn into a grind of recover, press on type of gameplay loop unless you are VERY good at dodging, which I am not.
Now, what I loved the most about Eternights is how it handled story-telling, with simple narrative options you would primarily find in a visual novel to keep the story simplistic and easy to follow, but with a lot of minor variances to prevent the story from being too linear and to enhance its romance/bonding options.
I loved the atmosphere in Eternights with its unique and creative use of 3D models, lighting, and camera angles to add more depth and feeling to the story and crucial bond/romance building moments to give them a sense of life and purpose. Not to mention how Eternights utilized 2D cutscenes and static 2D imagery during select scenes to convey more romantic and intense moments of its story, making the game even more immersive.
These unique visual design aspects of its story design and their implementation helped make Eternights stand out among the crowd visually and narratively. Lastly, bringing it all together was the expert vocals from the voice actors and actresses who helped breathe life into the unique cast of characters as they venture out to save the world on a light-hearted journey of friendship and romance, with the occasional comedic quip.
In conclusion, Eternights blends everything together almost seamlessly, with the only grievances I have being the difficulty setting and the occasion immersion break from quick time events. The story is fluid and expertly crafted with unique techniques to make it more impactful for the player. The gameplay mechanics, by themselves, are very impressive and easy to learn, despite my grievances. In short, Eternights has everything I wanted in a fun but short role-playing game. I say “short” because you can finish Eternights in around 14 hours.
If you want to give Eternights a chance, check it out on Steam and wherever else Eternights is sold!
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