Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Edge of Eternity is probably one of the weirdest JRPGs I’ve played in a while. Not a bad weird, just a “this is really hard to describe well” sort of weird. It’s large and sprawling, but weirdly enclosed. The characters are well written and relatable, but are cringy and trope filled. Combat is both excessively complicated yet incredibly basic. Edge of Eternity is a game full of contrasting elements, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t suck me in like a king ooze.
The story of Edge of Eternity is best learned through playing it yourself, but if I’m trying to avoid early game spoilers, it could probably be summed up as “jaded/angsty teens try to save the world”. The world in Edge of Eternity is set on a planet that was visited by a space-faring race sometime in the past. This race provided technology, knowledge, and aide to those on the planet. After a number of years, that same space-faring race decided “nah, we don’t want them anymore” and decided to get rid of the people they had attempted to uplift. Needless to say, the native inhabitants weren’t too pleased with the decision, so now they’re in a war, and they aren’t doing super geat. As if that weren’t enough, a disease called “corrosion” is spreading amongst the people, slowly taking over their minds.
Through all this we meet Daryon, a standard JRPG protagonist with cringey one-liners, a big two-handed sword, a haircut that screams “I’m the protagonist”, and a clingy “would be girlfriend”. Daryon is part of the war effort as a soldier, albeit a rather green one, but who has spent a number of years in the army. He still acts like you would expect from a typical protagonist though. I say all this, but his personal interactions with others are generally quite different from how he acts with his family, namely his mother or his sister Selene. After receiving a letter from Selene telling him their mother has the Corruption, Daryon has to find a way back to visit his mother, as well as Selene, who might be able to find a cure. Now I know I said Daryon was rather cookie cutter protagonist, but the tropes are there for a reason. Furthermore, when interacting with his sister, you realize that maybe Daryon is just acting the way he does as a facade for others after becoming jaded from the horrors of war.
Daryon’s sister, Selene, is somewhat similar. She comes off as an altruistic priestess, but it isn’t necessarily for the reasons you would expect. These two characters, who you will see a lot of, provide both an interesting contrast as well as offering insights into their characters and the world around them. But you aren’t here to listen to me drone on about character development and emotional scarring, so let’s talk about some gameplay.
Edge of Eternity feels like a bunch of Final Fantasy titles mashed together with a hex-grid strategy vibe thrown in for good measure. Exploration is done on a feild map, where you can roam around, pick up shining items, get into battles, talk to people and accept side quests, as well as other things like crafting. Locations are also weather and time dynamic. Yeah, time is an interesting mechanic in Edge of Eternity, as it has a large impact on not only the monsters you fight (as some may only come out after dark), but also on elemental effects. Combat is…both a strategy nightmare as well as a hardcore stategists gift from the gods. You fight using a turn-based ATB system, that may be reminiscient of older Final Fantasy titles, set on a Hex grid styled field. You can backstab for additional damage, move around, use items, skills, normal attacks, and inspect enemies, all of which, except inspecting, will use your action bar, or a chunk of it, that will refill faster depending on your stats. This makes Edge of Eternity great for those who like to plan out their battlefields meticulously, although enemies won’t always cater to your whims. On the other hand, it isn’t too difficult to simply slap the enemies till they die if you really want.
To compound this, while ally and enemy action gauges are paused while making a command, you can choose to delay your turn and guard, or “hold” your turn and wait for time to pass. Throw in the fact that the time of day affects both your own and enemy resistances towards elemntal damage, and you’ve got a lot of planning and strategizing to be done. If you hadn’t guessed, Daryon is the melee and Selene is the mage, a traditional combo that works quite well with the Hex grid system. See, mages take time to cast, but deal a lot of damage and can get interrupted if they take too much damage. On the other hand, they have a bit more range to their attacks. Throw in a few interactable battle elements, such as magical balistae or crystals that give effects, and you get a really in depth system where you could be chasing and running away from your foes to pen them in or prep attacks. Or you could bonk them in the face, up to you.
Now, the Hex grid is used for more than just combat. During your travels you will come across puzzle areas, where you have your characters moving around, stepping on pressure plates in order to reach a path to the goal. I loved this. It was so unexpected, and such a great use of the battle system in an entirely non-combat function. I will take a moment here to talk about the battle camera: it isn’t super great. The zoomed in camera makes it really hard to see anything on the field, and the zoomed out camera has moments where it gets shaky, or caught on a tree or wall or something. It isn’t the worst, in fact it isn’t even all that bad really, but it is distinctly noticeable.
Speaking of noticeable, the graphics are really nice for an indie studio. I’m not saying that indie studios can’t put out graphically pleasing games, but Edge of Eternity looks really sharp. A little iffy in towns though, as I found I got some pretty major framerate drops while in or near populated areas. The worst part is, it isn’t even consistent. The first time I entered the first town, I had 2 seconds of smooth frames, then a full second of dropped frames, just cycling like that. When I cam back? No problems. A small drop when the town got within render distance for the inhabitants, but that was it. Thankfully I only had this happen in towns and not during battle or on the field maps.
Another small little complaint is about the crafting tables: they are individual per crafting type. You wanna make weapons at the item bench? NO. But I haven’t mentioned the crafting yet, have I? Well, it’s pretty basic: find recipe, find materials, consume materials to make items or equipment. The real important thing is what you get from the equipment. See, while the characters have levels, so do your weapons. Increasing the level on your weapons opens up slots on a grid that is tied to the the weapon, where you can insert crystals in for stat boosts and skills tied to the crystals. or general increases tied to the node. Think of it kind of similar to Final Fantasy X sphere grid, but tied to weapons, and unique per weapon. You can only go down one “branch” of the tree, but you can remove and place crystals to swap branches whenever you want. You want to one-shot the weak enemies you’re farming for materials? Go down the attack increase branch. You now coming up to a heavy hitting boss? Remove the crystals from the attack branch, move them over to the defense branch. To add to this, some crystals have spells or skill attacks attached to them, which can then be “equipped” to your action menu as long as the crystal is slotted in your current weapon.
Overall, I have to say I’m really impressed with Edge of Eternity. While it does have some misses here and there, with a few moments of cringy or campy writing or general trouble, the adventure as a whole is well thought out and put together. The battle system feels more fresh than I expected, and the addition of the puzzle challenges really shows that the developers were putting a lot of thought into how to work it. Edge of Eternity provides a great experience for those looking for a new RPG to try out.Score: 8 / 10