Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Edge of Eternity is a gorgeous game that reminds me of classic JRPG from years past. While it maybe doesn’t quite pull together all of its various elements into perfect harmony by the time the end credits roll, this impressive offering by a small indie studio is a lot of fun nonetheless.
The first thing that stood out to me were the visuals. There’s something about knowing that a small studio put together this vast and visually impressive world. The various backdrops are nothing short of gorgeous and the artistic style on display here is excellent. The cutscenes and character models maybe don’t hold up quite as well, but aren’t in any way offensive. They just aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as the various landscapes you get to travel. I also greatly enjoyed the soundtrack. There weren’t many songs that I found to be particularly memorable, but they seemed to fit the scenery and what was taking place quite nicely. Otherwise on the sound design front, things are just decent. There’s a lot of voice acting here, and it’s generally just fine – as are the sound effects.
Where things didn’t really click for me was the story or most of the primary characters. That’s not to say there was anything bad about them, but despite teasing some darker themes around war and loss, it never really delves deeply into them in a satisfying way. Our protagonists are well-worn archetypes as siblings with complimentary personalities. Selene is the sister who is the glass-half-full magic-user while Daryon is a much more somber personality who is an ex-soldier. They work well enough off of one another as convincing siblings, even if supporting characters and the narrative often feel like very familiar territory.
It doesn’t help that while the world itself is quite large with lots to do, but a lot of those side quests and secondary characters don’t do a lot to flesh out the world itself. The quests are of the generic kill X critters or fetch this-that-and-the-other. It’s all familiar, but probably plays things a bit too safe and doesn’t lack a lot of narrative punch. That’s not to say that side quests should be incredibly important – after all, by definition they are side quests. But I seldom felt like I came away with a greater understanding of the world or stronger sense of purpose for my characters upon completing them either. That being said? I enjoyed the more tactical-ish combat. It’s a slower paced combat, that can get just a bit long in the tooth later in the game due to the experience system. You can’t just overpower yourself with grinding, which goes against my somewhat grindy nature. That said, it has a sort of ATB-ish system (familiar to fans of the Final Fantasy titles) with turn-based components. It works well as you set up a sort of tug-of-war between offense and defense and exploiting elemental weaknesses.
While the combat works, especially during boss battles – I felt like some of the other systems failed to come together quite as well. There is a bit of a Final Fantasy VII vibe not just in the combat system, but the way you can imbue weapons with properties using special crystals. Yet beyond that, item crafting, the way weapons level up and more just kind of felt slightly misaligned with one another at times. They still make for fun progression in the game – but for whatever reason they didn’t always mesh for me.
None of these are what I would consider major concerns. It was easy to sink several hours into the game and while some of the periphery characters and quests might not have always resonated with me, I generally enjoyed the two primary protagonists, the combat the sense of progression – even if it was at times a bit uneven for my style of grinding play.
Edge of Eternity is a great throwback to classic JRPGs overall. The presentation is fantastic, the world is expansive and there’s plenty to do with your time. That being said, the overall story and supporting characters while solid, were lacking for me. There’s plenty of systems layered in, and while combat is probably the most important system and also arguably Edge of Eternity’s best system, they don’t always seamlessly support one another. It is worth calling out that a reasonably small studio managed to make a large, high quality and very enjoyable game in Edge of Eternity and JRPG fans should come away pleased overall.Score: 7 / 10