Time and Eternity Review: vibrant JRPG blends anime-style visuals with innovative combat
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A trope-demolishing RPG that tries to be bold and creative by paying homage to 80s classic Japanese animation.
- The anime-inspired graphics
- Trope-demolishing hero and story
- The innovative combat system
- The boring side-quests
- Lacklustre soundtrack
- The tedious and overly grindy combat
Badass armour? Check! Unrealistic buff guys? Check! The world on the precipice of disaster and you’re the chosen one that must prevent the apocalypse? Super check! Welcome to an RPG that has absolutely zero of these staples as we enter a world of teenage love, sorrow, and time travel. Welcome to Time and Eternity.
Time and Eternity is unlike any other RPG that I have seen on the market because it tries to go old-school 80s in its design. For those who remember the arcade classic Dragon’s Lair then the art direction of the game will be a pleasant surprise. Instead of 3D models, Imageepoch decided to be ambitious and make all the characters animated. Instead of a 3D character walking over a 3D background it is an anime character. At first and tenth glance it's a sight to behold, especially with an 80s anime style; all the characters, enemies and NPCs are drawn in this anime style meaning this is a divisive game from the start. Hate the style and you’ll quickly hate the game. Love the style and it will become endearing.
The story of the game is a head-scratcher at the start as it hits you with a gyroball narrative. It plays out like any other RPG; name your character, start the game, but then your protagonist is not who he, or should I say she, is led to be believed. Instead of being the standard hero knight you are tasked with being the princess who must travel through time to stop their wedding from being attacked, and thus prevent his death. Knight in distress trope I shall name thee. But like all good RPGs he is not really dead; instead his soul takes over the body of their pet dragon that now has to follow the Princess around throughout the game as the sidekick. Add that two souls inhabit the princess’s body and things get even more complicated.
Combat is also new and fresh by doing away with parties. Instead of the traditional group of allies against hordes of enemies, it is now only you vs. a single enemy at a time, with your pseudo-protagonist being controlled by the AI. While this new style is refreshing during the first couple dozen battles, it soon becomes taxing because the strength curve of enemies and the HP-to-your damage ratio is skewed so that simple, easy battles by RPG standards become long drawn out affairs. Additionally your weapons become useless as the game goes on, requiring you to focus mostly on magic to do away with your foes as the damage output is ten times higher and can one-shot most enemies.
Once the player starts tackling more and more side quests they will soon realize this is not your adult-oriented RPG. Most side quests in the genre are generally fetch and carry missions to begin with: “go get me this special rock so I can give you this special sword.” The side quests and the humour in this game make it clear this is an RPG aimed at a younger audience. From quests about nasal breathing to finding livers so a boy can make a courage potion to talk to a girl, it is not exactly ‘save the world' level questing. There is nothing wrong with that as long as someone outside of the target audience keeps an open mind. What is the target audience? Pre-teens who can relate to the humour and the situations.
The game's aural presentation is a mixed bag sadly, which is a shocker considering how 80s it wanted to be with the animation. Inside the battlefield the music is at its best, keeping you engaged in your 2000th duel. Outside the battlefield, and especially in your home, the soundtrack falters somewhat. I know inside the home with four women sitting around a table it is supposed to be looking like tea time for the rich nobility, but the music does not need to sound like it as well. Thankfully because of how long the battles are you’ll be spending more time on the battlefield than at the tea table.
What is most interesting about the game is the distinct lack of male characters. Of course there are male NPCs, but ... (continued on next page)