This is a review of Eternal Edge+ by developer Righteous Weasel Games released on 22nd May on Steam. The publisher provided the Welsh Gaming Network with a review key for the purposes of this article.
Now featuring: Early Access!
How do you review something that is constantly changing? In my very short time hands-on with Eternal Edge+, the game has gone from a “fully finished” release to having four patches in less than a week for bug fixes and more. It’s now reverted to Early Access, something I didn’t realise was possible.
My original draft of this review suggested it would be better off there and I am glad to see it there now. So I write this based on my initial impressions of a supposed full-release, with some minor revisions based on a bit of patched, “Early Access” play later. What a ride!
What is Eternal Edge+?
Eternal Edge + is an Action Adventure Role-Playing game. Journey as Cross, an Age-old warrior who is trying to wake his lost Wife from an Eternal slumber. Only together can they defeat the Skeleton King. Gear up with powerful weapons, epic armor, and hidden tools. Journey across the vast Kingdom of Beor and free its inhabitants from a long reign of evil in this grand adventure created by a 2-Man Team.Steam store description
Skeleton King’s skeleton crew
Reviewing a game by a two-man dev is tricky. Do you let off the little bugs, quirks, and issues? Do you review it against what it tries to be, or what it realistically should/could be? This quandary crossed my mind a lot while playing Eternal Edge+. There’s promise here, but it still needs a lot of work on the core game to realise the potential there.
Eternal Edge leans heavily on Final Fantasy and Breath of the Wild aesthetically – it plays closer to BotW in terms of gameplay. There’s plenty of colour as you explore a sizeable overworld and freedom to set off wherever you want. Various regions on the map have level recommendations on them, but no barriers to access other than that. Assets are a bit hit-and-miss, but overall I enjoyed running about exploring.
The music and general sound design is also bit of a highlight. The overworld tunes are pleasant and a nice mix of ambience and bombast for your journey. The sound effects are okay – nothing to write home about, but not horrifically overcompressed either so far. Sound design is often overlooked in indie games, so I’ll give credit where it’s due.
There is also plenty to be getting on with, with a clear chain of main quests to follow which keeps you ticking along. You also have a few side-quests cropping up which make nice diversions too. The overworld is littered with chests, mining nodes, materials to gather for crafting, and “level quests”. These area-based events are similar to those seen in lots of modern MMOs and should be familiar. It’s an impressive commitment to content, with nice rewards for going off the beaten track.
Quantity over quality
However, the number of things to do doesn’t quite balance out the tremendous number of niggly issues that really take over the experience. Chief amongst these are the writing issues. The story is a bit bland and generic, not helped by holes in the narrative. Even early on there are big inconsistencies that made it harder to stay engaged. Coupled with segments that can take several reads to understand, it’s messy. It reads a bit like a bad translation of a first-draft script – which is poor, given the genre.
Fighting is very hit-and-miss too. Too often I’d dodge, return for a counterattack, and take a hit from an already-finished attack animation. The weapons lack variety as they handle the same way, and shields break frequently without a way of tracking their durability. I got really frustrated by my shield breaking after just one quest. Luckily, equipment drops are plentiful so it’s not a game-breaking issue, but an irritation all the same.
The level quests, while interesting, also can catch you out. There are no warnings or indicators to show what you’re up against – or recommended level requirements. You only find this out when you enter the area and enemies spawn – at which point, you can’t escape. This was my number one cause of death. It feels cheap. Sure, as an RPG player I saved regularly anyway. But save points (campfires) aren’t all that regular, and you can’t find them on the map or minimap easily. It leaves you asking whether to bother trying or not. I ended up avoiding them – knowing that I could follow a blue point-of-light on the horizon to find them in the future – but I still won’t know if I’m ready later.
While these were prominent problems for me, they’re not the only issues. Crafting is shallow. Progression (in terms of levelling and the Eternal Essence stat boosters) is uneven and only makes half as much difference as good equipment. There are issues with what materials you can find in decent quantities. The map is unusable – and the minimap isn’t great either… Most of these problems are quality-of-life rather than anything else, but they all add up. There’s just too much stuffed into the game without enough refinement.
Where it belongs
Overall, then, Eternal Edge+ has the potential to be a decent game – and I shouldn’t take away from how well a two-man team has done to produce something this large. There was a lot of polish needed for this to be a full release. I finished my first draft of this review (when it was a “finished” game) saying Early Access would’ve been a more sensible place for this. It’s good for them that they’ve been able to double-back somehow and re-release into Early Access. However, it does raises questions about the testing they’ve done before making the leap to release – and the future of the game going forward.
This is a game that tried to take little bits from a large number of beloved titles and mash them all together – without seemingly going back and thinking about how those parts worked in the first place. With a bit of refinement and work on the user-friendliness, there’s something here to enjoy. And the devs – to their credit – do seem committed to making amends for the issues and botched release.
Is it worth picking up? If you’re happy to understand you’re on a journey with the developers here, then I’d say yes. There’s a lot of content here, and a lot of ideas – with a little shaping, there could be a properly enjoyable little title on the cards. But it will be a journey – and Eternal Edge+ has a long route to travel to live up to the games that clearly inspired it.