Edge of Eternity Review: Ambitious But Ultimately Lacking

Edge of Eternity offers a throwback to 90's JRPGs, though it doesn’t nail the landing it seeks.

At this point in my life, I’ve played more JRPGs than I can count. Persona, The Legend of Heroes, Ys, Monster Hunter Stories 2. They're all recent examples that had me hooked. I’m not always as fond of the older classics, though there’s something that remains captivating about them, and that’s what Edge of Eternity seeks to build upon.

A love letter to 90’s JRPGs, Edge of Eternity joins a growing trend of Western-developed genre titles. Developed by French team Midgar Studio – yes, that’s a Final Fantasy 7 reference – it originally launched on PC in June 2021, leaving console owners with a fair wait. It’s a competent effort, though it never captivated me.

Edge of Eternity Review: Ambitious But Ultimately Lacking

Set on an Earth-like planet called Heryon, the world is threatened by an alien army called the Archelites, and that threat quickly turns into a bloody conflict. Unifying Heryon’s nations under a new military alliance called the Consort, humanity quickly fights back. But now the Archelites have released a terrible plague called The Corrosion.

Playing a Consort soldier named Daryon, you're immediately thrown into the deep end, seeing your squadmates killed on the battlefield. Making matters worse, the Consort has been sacrificing their own troops for dark magic, used to fight off the Archelites. Needless to say, there’s some heavy subject matter at play.

As the unit’s lone survivor, Daryon heads home at the urging of their sister, Priestess Selene, after their mother becomes afflicted. Soon enough, you’re setting off to find a Corrosion cure, meeting new allies along the way.

Unfortunately, Edge of Eternity’s story is arguably its weakest element; it’s not especially original. That wouldn’t be an issue except the cast isn't that likable either. It's a feeling that does improve over time, but honestly, if I wasn’t reviewing it, I would have quit at the opening act. Between cringeworthy dialogue and a poor sense of humor, I didn’t feel inclined to stick around.

It was only once I began exploring the world that Edge of Eternity truly felt alive. For a small development team, there’s a surprisingly large 30-hour campaign here. If you’re going beyond the main story for side missions, that playtime could potentially double. Between killing beasts for Heyrs (currency), some minor puzzle solving, or oddities like the unusually direct “open 100 chests for this reward” side mission, there’s decent variety here.

That’s helped by some pleasant environmental design, which is finely detailed, colorful, and quite inviting. I just wish Midgar Studio put this much effort into the character models. You can see one of them in the screenshot above for reference and quite frankly, they don’t look right. It’s off-putting. Greater effort has been placed into the main cast, but some NPCs look absolutely dire.

Aside from the breadth of the campaign and nice environmental design, Edge of Eternity draws strength from its combat, which harkens to Final Fantasy’s Active Time Battle system. Much like it is represented there, each combatant has a timed bar that determines their turn order. Once it's an ally’s turn, you can choose between standard physical attacks, magical attacks with an MP cost, retreating, or drawing upon items.

Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t deviate much from the RPG standard. Enemies each have strengths, weaknesses, and other elemental resistances, so exploiting them effectively for bonus damage is critical for success. Interestingly, those stats are further affected by the local environment’s weather, meaning you’ll need to pay close attention to your surroundings.

Winning fights awards EXP, leveling up your party members and their equipped weapon. Once sufficiently leveled, crystals – often found in treasure chests and rewards for winning fights – can be attached to weapons, boosting your stats and/or granting new magic abilities in combat. There’s versatility in that, letting you tailor combat with relative freedom.

Admittedly, none of that is anything particularly new, though combat does employ a unique movement system. Characters move across a honeycomb-shaped grid and when an enemy’s planning an attack, your segment is clearly highlighted as being at risk. It’s a nice layer of strategy, though not hugely in-depth and annoyingly, moving uses up your turn.

Edge of Eternity Review – The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Active Time Battles are well implemented.
  • Lovely environmental design.
  • Plenty of content.
  • Old-school RPG fans will enjoy it.

Cons

  • Character models are questionable.
  • Story struggles to maintain interest.
  • Lacks polish.
  • Execution doesn’t match the ambition.

Edge of Eternity has heart and Midgar Studio should be proud of what they’ve achieved for a small indie team. I just wish I liked it more. Thanks to an uninspiring story, lack of overall polish, and some uneven visuals, the final product simply can’t match the developer’s ambitions, making this a hard game to recommend.

If you’re curious to dive in, there’s still plenty to like. With a versatile combat system, colorful environmental design, entertaining side content, and old-school design, JRPG fans may find something to enjoy here. It’s on Game Pass at launch, so if you’re playing on PC or Xbox, you could always dip in that way, but otherwise, you’d be better off looking elsewhere.

[Note: Midgar Studio provided the copy of Edge of Eternity used for this review.]

Our Rating
5
Edge of Eternity offers a throwback to 90's JRPGs, though it doesn’t nail the landing it seeks.

Contributor

Published Feb. 9th 2022

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