Eternights is a game that wears many hats. Sort of. You get quick glimpses into several different subgenres, little bites of many pies. I was kept on my toes, yes. But the game never quite commits to any one idea. On the other hand, what I saw of the dating sim and action RPG genres was pretty good. The survival elements were more threadbare, however. Were all these little ideas enough to make a cohesive game? Kind of! It all depends on what you’re looking for.
Love At The End Of The World
You control an average guy in the midst of Armageddon. Most of the populace has been turned into shambling beasts. It’s up to you and a rag-tag band of beautiful weirdos to save the day. Maybe along the way, you get a girlfriend, If there’s time. You slowly learn more about this strange world and the sinister forces at play. I love a good apocalypse anime, though the pacing was a little slow for my tastes. Thankfully, the writing props up the plodding narrative quite nicely. There’s a ton of little moments between characters that make the world feel more fleshed out and alive. Although the dating sim sections were simple, they were still effective.
Bonds between you and the other characters aren’t just for romantic potential. Your prowess in battle is directly tied to these bonds. The closer you get, the more powerful you become. This is awesome, though the implementation is somewhat simple. Every character goes through the same event path, for one thing. For some reason, your best friend has to interrupt a conversation between you and the girl in question. This happens just before you reach Rank Three. Every single time. This makes the entire process feel very mechanical, and maybe a little inconsequential. At the same time, it’s nice to have your efforts so directly rewarded in battle.
Made Stronger Together
Combat in Eternights is fast and punishing. You can take several hits before dying, but it’s also quite difficult to heal. So I tried to avoid getting hit at all, if possible. The game uses this super satisfying perfect dodge system, one that rewards your skills with extended combos. The fights are tough as hell, but victories feel fantastic. Plus, failure isn’t a huge deal. You just start over at the last autosave point, no harm done. This was instrumental in my continued progress, but it also presented a curious pacing problem.
Major events in Eternights are on timers. You only have so many days to succeed, or its game over. But this system assumes you’re giving up after you get your butt kicked. Maybe you go home, regroup, do some social activities for a few days. Instead, I just stubbornly pushed through on day one until I beat the dungeon in question. This left me with 5-11 whole days to just… tool around the home base. I went on scavenger runs, spent quality time with different girls, and took it easy. In other words, the game relies on you to set the pace.
On the other hand, there’s a lot of good writing in those lazy days. You get to be a horny weirdo, solve peoples’ problems, and bond with your team. You can be bashful, brave, or a little nasty. I found myself presently surprised on several occasions by the writing in those little moments. The only downside is the repetition you endure. Scavenging is the same simple task every time. Other outings are either a series of regular battles or a short cutscene. These interstitial sections are punctuated by either a lack of depth or a lack of variety.
A Mile Wide And An Inch Deep
Even though I found a lot of the game lacking in a certain substance, I still enjoyed myself. Part of this is because it looks and sounds excellent. Eternights has a distinct color palette, one that permeates every aspect of the game. Battles and backgrounds look downright delicious, a synthwave feast of purples, blues, and pinks. The music and the audio are also great, though not as distinct as the visuals. Every character fits neatly into the total visual tapestry, the overall look. Everything is a mix of electric and ethereal that I won’t soon forget.
There’s a lot of cool little ideas on display here. The combat system and the use of bonds is excellent. The dating sim sections are fun. Even the survival scavenging elements are a fun distraction. But they all feel insubstantial. Certain activities feel repetitive or limited. The progression path you follow with every teammate feels almost identical. Scavenging is the same thing every time. Even the fights fall into a predictable rhythm after a while. But I still had fun. I’m not sure if all these subgenres add up to a proper game. But I did enjoy the ride. If you’re looking for a pretty, Persona-style RPG, check out Eternights.
***A Steam key was provided by the publisher***
- Rewarding combat
- Fun writing
- Cool, distinct visuals
- Systems feel shallow
- Pacing is stunted
- Lot of repetitive events