A RPG with a Purpose
By Eric Getty Gettinger
With a retro role playing game style and muddled visuals Edge of Eternity has found its way to consoles this last week. While the base of Edge of Eternity (EoE), has some decent story points and solid combat the visual elements draw away from the true charm of it. The time I spent with EoE I was able to enjoy the characters and their dynamic adventures, if not a little trite, there was still depth and beautiful voice acting to keep players going. There were quite a few bumps in the road that detracted from the overall experience. If you are willing to compromise visual bugs and some ill explained or late tutorials then EoE is still an enjoyable play for hardcore RPG fans of all ages.
One of the bigger issues with EoE comes at the beginning of the game. The opening appears to have been created separate from the rest of the game. It feels like a demo was released and then not updated to go with the game as it was built. One of your comrades has a large gap in between his back and the shield he carries on around. Watching the character move around with such a large gap ripped me out of the narrative of the moment. However, the opening really gets the story moving as the main character Daryon and his crew are under attack from a far more advanced civilization. Combat in this section is well explained and very easy to follow if not surprisingly accessible. I was able to play with one hand even on the PS5 controller due to needing to multitask. As the story moves through the climax of the intro there is a pretty good hook that kept me motivated.
As the main part of EoE begins a lot of elements are introduced to the player. There are quests, gems to equip onto weapons, crafting system, in game clock and an energy bar. As far as I made it, most of the systems are well explained. The energy bar though, felt tacked on as in all the attempts to reduce it it barely goes down. One pop up I noticed was a late introduction to something I was already doing. In combat completing objectives will yield an additional reward, so I started to do or attempt them with each battle. The tutorial for this feature did not come until I was already a few hours in. In addition some of the rewards are not attainable right off the cuff but it’s still fine as you are learning how to manage combat. Combat itself takes place on a grid with an active time bar that fills up, attacks and magic can be used. Attacking enemies as they charge their attack can disrupt them plus health and mana refreshes after each encounter. Combat in EoE is a treat and can be complex at times as you balance movement on the grid, attacks, and environmental elements to interact with and pull an advantage your way.
The principle quest to start off the game has Daryon reunite with his sister Selene to save their mother from a plague. As you move on the locals and quests you encounter can lead to additional conversation between the two while resting at inns. This relationship along with those conversations between them, and later other characters in the party are a lot of fun. Side quests are plenty as there is a bounty board and quest givers all along the routes taken. Some quests are long running with story bits that you will need to keep coming back to but rewards can be hit or miss. Another enjoyable element is the music which is dynamic and flows along with the game. The field music is soothing as you go to explore, while the battle music will catch you and put you in the mood to battle.
The crafting systems and field collection of items in EoE feel disjointed at times. The amount of items found on the map are bountiful and you can collect hundreds of items while exploring. However, when attempting to craft it requires special higher tier items which you can only get through completing quests, battle objectives, or if you are lucky a post combat loot drop. There were times I found it was easier to battle and make money from quests to buy those items then attempt to repeat the bounty missions again and again. The crafted items also require you to purchase or find recipes further compounding the complexity of the crafting system. The main highlight is weapons crafting and gem combining. Weapon crafting takes a base weapon and you use it to further enhance the item along a tree with multiple paths giving you more customization. Gem combination allows you to combine 5 gems of the same level and give a boosted version of it. I found the gem combination tutorial was missing however and did not realize right away that this was something that could be done. Once I did though it made a huge difference.
Edge of Eternity has a lot of systems, content, solid battle system, wonderful voice acting and a killer soundtrack. The visuals can be a real deterrent with non-playable characters falling through the environment, items in the field popping up slowly while loading, even on a PS5. Knowing this is not a triple A studio forgives a good amount of this and makes me come back and enjoy the experience I have had while playing EoE. Each time I find that something in the content will make me laugh or feel a spark of nostalgia for classic JRPGs of yore. At the same time Midgar Studio is still young to the game so many of the visual flaws are signs of growth to come. I recommend giving EoE an opportunity if you are ready for a long haul adventure, and those looking for a good RPG won’t be disappointed in the turn based combat.