Familiar fantasy

Edge of Eternity started life off with wanting to be “An indie tribute to JRPG classics”. In a lot of ways, the small team at the aptly named Midgar Studio has achieved that goal. Back in Feb of 2015 they launched on Kickstarter (the crowdfunding site that allows folks to help projects come to life) with a release date for the game of Fall 2016. Well six years later, the game is ready for its 1.0 release; the project having changed in scope and design (as far as combat is concerned) but having no less ambition as a hodgepodge of ideas from it’s JRPG forefathers that mostly works.

Starting your journey in Heryon, (the world EoE takes place on) you can feel some FF7, a dash of Dragon Quest with a simplified combat system like Final Fantasy Tactics. The open world feels like an MMORPG, there are mobs of enemies roaming the beautiful alien countryside. All with levels, and visual queues in the tried and true red, yellow, green as to how much trouble they’ll give you. My favorite part about this game is the world of Heryon itself. It is a beautifully dangerous alien world that gave me delight in just running around and exploring. The various biomes from the initial starting area in the snow, where your characters leave trails as they run through the fluffy white stuff, to exploring crashed spaceships in a plain of red foliage. Julien Galibert, who handled level & character design deftly did his thing here, the beauty of the world really pushes you to wander off the beaten path more often than not. But the game provides ways to really make that curiosity worth it, much like MMOs Edge of Eternity has dynamic events. These events can happen anytime and anywhere, and if players choose to go and engage them they will usually be netted with some good crafting materials, weapons/armor or other loot. It is during these times of exploration where they will find hidden quests and other rewards which will aid in their quest. I would recommend players go to the Nekaroo farm before anything else, as they will get a mount which makes it a lot easier to get around the world in the beginning hours.

MSRP: $29.99
Platforms: PC

A lot of the quests are your typical fetch, or ‘go to point A and kill X’ deals; just know that going in if it’s not your thing. It doesn’t kill the game but just makes the grind annoying. The combat system…well the combat system does a lot. So instead of the original concept which was more like FF7’s style of combat, EoE has crafted a unique grid system. When battle starts each unit is in a grid, players can move to empty grids or ones with partners but only four units can occupy a single grid. This makes setting up back stabs for extra damage, or even avoiding enemy attacks paramount to success in battles. The system uses the ATB or Active Time Battle system; and that means that a bar will fill and once full it is that person’s turn to act. There are magic and other skills that can influence how fast or slow that bar fills, but if anyone has played a Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest game they’ll understand the concept. Each battle will have a kind of meta quest that can grant some extra loot, should one complete the task. It can be as simple as killing an enemy using a weakness or casting a certain spell, but it’s very MMO like in the approach. Even the combat bar when initiating fights looks like one you would find in any current MMORPG. Just as with the world, combat is beautiful graphically, only marred by some grass or things clipping through enemies or characters.

When players initiate combat, the game ropes off an arena around the area they were standing. So as the camera pans around players can see pickups glowing in the distance, other enemies walking nearby and everything. It is very immersive; however, I wish I could say the same for the animations. Try as they might with flashy particle effects and summons the combat moves themselves just feel stiff in delivery. Even the basic attacks seem to have a wind-up animation and then a stiff kind of hit and just don’t feel impactful at all. It’s a shame, because so much of the game is spent in combat, but the beauty of the spectacle makes it worth it. Seeing the dynamic day/night cycle come into play while I battled a boss from night into the early mornings added an extra layer of drama to a battle, even if that ultimate attack’s final blow felt like it didn’t hit as hard as the damage suggests. Speaking of the day/night cycle, this can also buff or debuff enemies. So, it may make more sense to attack something at night than in the day because it will be weaker. Little things like this added to overall strategy of the game, and kept me thinking through battles as opposed to just casting my hardest hitting spell.

To further drive that MMO feel home Edge of Eternity has a pretty robust crafting system, that honestly was overwhelming once I started. However, after I was free from the tutorial it became clear the depth of the crafting/weapon leveling system. In this fantasy world, as is the case with many others, ‘Crystals’ are a source of power. Players can equip them to their weapon similarly to the materia system from another big name RPG. The crystals will provide various buffs and special attacks which will help craft the desired playstyle. There is also a food bonus system, this enables players to cook various dishes that will affect the stats of the party, very much like the camping system in Final Fantasy 15. If you can’t tell by now, Edge of Eternity has A LOT of systems at play. Honestly, its almost too much as the game can feel like a random hodgepodge of popular game ideas of the past six years thrown in a pot. But if you can look past and really understand and utilize the many systems at play, the game is that much more rewarding. Just know that it can get pretty deep at times.

The story is probably the weakest part of the game for me. The main story stems from an alien race known as the ‘Archelite’, who after helping the humans on Heryon for years suddenly have attacked them. For years the two sides had been at war, when the Archelite deployed a devastating weapon known as Corruption which has been wreaking havoc ever since. Corruption is a plague of unknown origins, it can transform humans into beasts or monsters, but being infected is a certain death sentence. Enter siblings Daryon and Selene, whose mother has become infected with the Corruption. Selene, against her mother’s wishes informs Daryon, who is away fighting in the military, that their mother is sick. He of course deserts his army brothers to return after his squad is wiped out early on and what emerges is a globe trotting quest of trust, friendship, family and betrayal. The reason the story fell flat to me, aside from a few standout moments, was just the under delivery of what I felt was laid out as a very grandiose tale. For the most part all threads are wrapped up, I just never really had that typical feeling of being the worlds savior from my time with Edge of Eternity; and maybe that’s what the developers wanted honestly.

All in all, Edge of Eternity is a fun game. Aside from some weird facial animations, and some other jank I really enjoyed my time in the world. As I said before the world itself is quite beautiful and inviting; it really goes to show just how good Unreal 4 engine can be. I know we are all hyped to see the new U5 games, but the old version still looks great. If you are a fan of the JRPGs from the 90’s and early 00’s then Edge of Eternity is for you. It has just enough nostalgia to make you smile when thinking about those old memories, but enough current systems and features that make it really feel like a product that is the best of both worlds.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Beautiful world and expansive vistas
  • Interesting characters
  • Odd facial animations can be off-putting
  • Story ultimately fell flat for me
Written by
Terrence spends his time going where no one has gone before mostly. But when not planning to take over the galaxy, he spends his time raising Chocobo and trying to figure out just how the sarlaac could pull Boba Fett’s ship with its engines firing FULL BLAST into it’s maw with relative ease; yet it struggled with Han Solo who was gripping *checks notes* SAND!