Edge of Eternity Review: A classic JRPG experience

The Edge of Eternity is a Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) developed by a French indie studio Midgar Studio. It started as a Kickstarter crowdfunding project in 2013 before the game was launched on PC in Jun 2021. Now, the console versions have arrived.

SPECS
PRICE: From S$25.50, (PS4; PS4; Xbox One; Xbox Series X|S, version reviewed); Free for Xbox Game Pass subscribers
GENRE: Japanese role-playing game

Set in a fictitious timeline of the future where humanity faces a technologically advanced invasion and a widespread plague known as The Corrosion. Two siblings, both students of combat and magic, aim to find a cure for their mother and forming alliances along the way.

This is your sister Selene. (Photo: Midgar Studio)

You play as Daryon, as he reunites with his sister Selene to take down a childhood threat together before venturing out into the unknown. Unlike many role-playing games, I am especially pleased that the characters in the party do not merge as one when running around in the game world. It is a small gesture to drive home the idea that you are not alone.

The characters do not merge into one when exploring the map. (Photo: Midgar Studio)

However, when your character adorns new clothing, nothing changes visually. For example, wearing a headgear such as a hoodie does not alter the appearance. I can only guess it is probably due to performance issues. But I am sure many fans would love to see the updated looks being reflected during exploration and cutscenes.

FOR
+ Characters in the party appear as companion
+ Open world and inviting
+ Turn-based and strategic combat

AGAINST
– Quest tracking needs improvement
– Graphics and details could be better

If you love turn-based action, combat is a big highlight of Edge of Eternity. Placed on hexagon-shaped grids within an enclosed area, your party enters battle in Active Time Battle (ATB) format. ATB means characters rely on a Charge Time to determine their turns. Once the gauge fills up, the character may make a move.

As such, some characters may be able to react faster and affect the tide of battle. Early battles are easy to tackle. But moving forward, players will need to tune their characters in order to fight better.

The turn-based combat system in Edge of Eternity. (Photo: Midgar Studio)

Every battle comes with optional objectives and meeting them brings additional rewards. It also forces you to rethink your party’s stance and position on the grids. For example, when the battle challenges you to ensure Selene takes no damage, you will have to move her further away and change to ranged attacks.

Structures play a part in your battle strategy as well. Sometimes, a battle takes place near a healing crystal and positioning your character within the grid will allow healing during a turn.

As with any role-playing game, there are various side quests to partake in. While there is an option to track quests, the game does not seem to update you on the quests’ progress diligently. For example, in a quest to collect a certain number of bones and antlers of an animal species, the tracker did not offer any useful tip. So I had to do repeated backtracking to and from the quest giver. This took up unnecessary additional time.

Travelling in a snowy area. (Photo: Midgar Studio)

During exploration, it pays to be attentive and look out for illuminating plants and stones. They offer various valuable ingredients. An ever-changing climate keeps it fresh as you scour for objects on snowy terrain.

I have always been keen to spot hidden chests, as they sometimes contain clothing and gems. These can boost character statistics, which in turn make them perform better in battles.

Some paths require solving a puzzle in order to advance. They entail detailed planning of your moves in an enclosure from a bird’s eye view. An hourglass at the side challenges you to keep it within time. If you fail, you can always fire up a fresh attempt.

At an early part of the game, you will gain the ability to call on a Nekaroo, a huge cat-like creature that you can mount to travel long distances faster. Apart from being a cute pet, the Nekaroo can also sense and dig buried treasure.

You have a cute Nekaroo as mount to travel in the game world. (Photo: Midgar Studio)

If you are getting vibes about similar JRPG titles from all this, you are not wrong. Edge of Eternity aims to bring together what fans love from great titles such as Final Fantasy and Lost Odyssey.

And if you love the soundtrack from Chrono, XenoBlades, Shadow Hearts titles, you may be pleased to know that the legendary composer Yasunori Mitsuda is also involved in this game.

On Xbox Series X, I still see graphical pop-ins from time to time. But the experience has been smooth in general. However, the game’s graphics pale in comparison to some flagship titles out there like Halo Infinite or Horizon Forbidden West.

The graphics are decent. (Photo: Midgar Studio)

VERDICT
The Edge of Eternity matures well from its beginnings into an adventure that rekindles our love for JRPG. But it needs more staying power in order for fans to come back for more.

RATING
7/10