Getting an Early Edge
Edge of Eternity is an exciting adventure game that released on Steam into Early Access on December 5th. The action role-playing game was developed by a small company based out of France called Midgar Studio. In fact, Midgar Studio is so small that it is simply astonishing they have created such a great game with just a small nine-person team. Not only is the game extremely fun already, the ambition and potential of the game is clear from the opening scene. Edge of Eternity is a new addition to the JRPG genre, and as an early disclaimer, I must admit I have played very few. However, I do recognize good stories and the hard work put into a beautiful game.
An Archelite Invasion: A Somber Story
As with every epic story, Edge of Eternity forces humanity to fight for its very existence. The opening scene tells a brief history of the current state of the world. An alien race, the Archelites, have come to Earth, seemingly friendly at first. They bring gifts in exchange for food and the opportunity to farm, but then set their sights on the crystals (Crystals are a major theme of the game and are used throughout to upgrade your characters’ weapons). The people are unwilling to give up such a valuable resource and, in typical extraterrestrial fashion, the Archelites start blasting! A resistance is formed to stop the invasion and is outwardly successful before a “corrosion” is unleashed from the intruders that is a plague, turning people into a sick, twisted figure before their ultimate demise. Grim stuff. One of the two main protagonists is Daryon, a soldier in the army who becomes a deserter after news from his sister, Selene. The news, adding to the tragic theme, is that their mother has contracted the corrosion, and they must band together to save her. This begins the game, and I take control of Selene and Daryon with eager anticipation to save their mother and, I assume, the world. Only Chapter One is currently available in Early Access, and the time is spent searching for Selene’s mentor in the open world of Heryon, hoping he is an ally in the quest.
Heryon: A Sensational Setting
The world we enter is Heryon, which gives the vibe of a futuristic medieval land. When I walked into the first city, Herebor, my first thought was that it was a castle from Europe thrust into a science fiction countryside. People are either peasants, soldiers, or royalty and loiter about the city on their daily routines. The landscape is breathtaking, and there is plenty of open land to explore. Items such as wood, iron ore, crystal fruit, and many more are spread about the world and harvesting is a quick click as you pass. Floating constantly in the air are small lights, almost like fireflies, which present a peaceful feeling as I adventure. Treasure chests are spread around, mainly on the edges of the map, and include many different types of items or armors that help upgrade the characters. There are also plenty of beasts, from a deer-like “dunrir” to an “orokko”, which resembles a very large and deformed pig. Gameplay is typical for an open world role-playing game, with a marker to show the direction of the quest. You run from location to location until encountering a beast or foe, which causes a cut to the combat screen.
Swords and Staffs: Tactical Combat
After encountering a beast or enemy in open world, the tactical screen is displayed. This includes the layout of Selene, Daryon, any other allies in the current battle, and any enemies in their positions on the battlefield. Each character has different abilities and strengths, and combat plays out by turns. There is a bar that fills at different paces for everyone, and when the bar gets full it is that player’s turn. You can choose to attack, move, use a potion, or use an ability. Selene is granted different spells that take a while to perform, and often enemies can attack before the spell is complete. Daryon has quick attacks and will sometimes take a couple of actions before Selene’s bar completely fills. While some battles are easy, with Daryon and Selene being simply too powerful, other battles are very involved, requiring some tactical thinking and planning for it to play out in favor of the good guys. Another interesting aspect is the ever-changing weather, which can affect the abilities of characters. A stormy sky will cause lightning attacks to do extra damage, but pouring rain weakens fire spells. Combat and completing quests grant experience in order to level up the characters and weapons. Combat is extremely fun, and the change in tempo from open world exploration to a turn-based battle is accomplished in a very smooth way.
While playing Edge of Eternity, there were moments I forgot that it was only in Early Access. I spent over 5 hours playing to the end of Chapter One. There are many aspects of the game that must be greatly improved, and small glitches and discrepancies were not uncommon. Sometimes the voice acting was working, other times I had to rely on subtitles. The game would present some glitching and lag while running through the big world, but never too much to deter gameplay or even create frustration. Side quests would sometimes not update, such as a quest to kill a certain amount of Croctas that made me kill fifteen ugly, corrupted dogs to satisfy the required seven. Such problems are to be expected, and I have complete faith that a team that has accomplished so much already will improve and fix the very few problems. The feedback of the community on Steam is extremely positive, with the developers interacting on Steam and in a Discord channel for the game. This shows the commitment to improve and correct any shortcomings.
The good aspects of the game greatly outweigh the bad, with one of the greatest goods being the story. I am now fully invested in the journey of Daryon and Selene and will be keeping up with this game and updating as I go along. The music scores are fantastic, enhancing the experience of both exploration and encounters. Despite the sad scenario of the protagonists, there are small quips and good humor that give more individuality to each character. Overall, I recommend Edge of Eternity to anyone who likes JRPGs, exploration, turn based combat, and supporting games still in development. The potential is great, and I can’t wait to continue the story.