Game: Eternal Radiance
Genre: RPG, Action, Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows) & PS4)
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US Teen
Price: US $19.99 | UK £15.29 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: January 13th, 2022
Review code provided with many thanks to Visualnoveler.
From PC to Console
Eternal Radiance could be best summed up as an action jRPG with a dash of visual novel thrown in. This feels like another successful journey of game development. Starting in Early Access on PC and working its way to a final release in late December 2020. Now the game reaches a new audience with its release to Nintendo Switch.
With a cute appearance that’s so charming, it might give you the video game version of diabetes. But it’s not just a happy looking game. The mix of action gameplay and story makes for a pretty good time both portably or on TV. But let’s not let this intro go on eternally, let’s venture forth.
A Knight’s Tale
Celeste is a young squire who has grand ambitions to become a true knight. She has the right values and goals to protect people and do the right thing. But to reach that prestigious rank she does have a lot to learn and experience in the real world first. After venturing on her first solo mission to obtain an artefact things don’t exactly go to plan and a thief makes off with the prize. Though a blow to Celeste’s confidence she decides to brush it off and set off in search of the thief.
You’re not alone, soon into the adventure Celeste teams up with a mercenary Valana and mage Ruby. The interactions between these characters are often quite humorous as they take in their surroundings and some of the predicaments they find themselves in.
The story of the game is presented in very detailed still anime images with text boxes. There is a lot of text to read. In fact, I think around thirty minutes went by before I actually got into the action gameplay. As is the case of jRPG a lot of the text at times feels overly bloated and unnecessary to the plot. Expect to stop and talk to many characters about thoughts and feels. But between the fluff is some interesting insights into the lore of the world and what it means to be a knight which I did like.
These story segments are when you also shop for items and gather side quests which are usually completed by exploring the action portions of the game or talking to other folks in town. Usually, I criticize when there’s too much plot but when playing this game at this stage of my life it worked out quite well. The reason being is I read the text boxes in funny voices to my 2-week old infant which seemed to send him off to sleep better than a white noise machine.
For the action segments, you control Celeste. The graphics here are full 3D with some very colourful and open environments to explore. There’s also a pretty nice soundtrack to accompany you when you’re hunting for the chests and side quests. The gameplay here feels more hack and slash with some added depth. It feels a little like the Warriors games. When you run about Celeste bursts into a sprint which is very convenient as the open levels are pretty large. Enemies tend to appear in groups and combat initiates immediately. You have quick and heavy sword attacks as well as the ability to use four spells via a quick bar.
As you level up you do have access to more magic so you can equip the ones that work best for your play style. These range from special attacks to ranged attacks and support spells. Using these consumes mana which can be regenerated by using heavy attacks on enemies or collecting orbs dropped by defeated enemies. You can also block enemy attacks, which, if timed right can stagger enemies and allow you to use a counter-attack. You can also use a dodge roll which is much easier to execute. Defeat enough baddies and you fill up a yellow meter to unleash a devastating attack on enemies by pressing the shoulder buttons together. There’s a lot of flexibility to the combat for you to tailor the game to your style.
As you level up you can make use of a skill tree but I found the increased stats made very minimal difference to gameplay until you had levelled up significantly. When you visit a town you can also purchase new weapons, armour, items and also enhance weapons by crafting special scrolls. Soon into the game, you have two companions following behind you who proved to be very useful in combat.
It feels like three girls going on a merry adventure. You certainly don’t feel lonely. You don’t have direct control of them, but you can get them to fire off a special attack when their yellow meter fills and sometimes unleash a pretty awesome team attack. You can also equip them with weapons, armour and rings to buff their stats.
Niggles and Length
If I had one critique of the combat in some areas the formula feels like it drags on a little too long. While there is a mini-map the game doesn’t do the best job of highlighting where you are supposed to go next. So fighting waves of enemies while trying to find where to go can get a bit tedious. Never thought I would be asking for more story segments than action but here we are. The game ran well in both handheld and TV modes but sometimes on the latter the graphical textures looked a touch janky. But this had no effect on gameplay.
Lengthwise you’re looking at around thirteen hours your first run through. The game has three difficulty settings to suit gamers of varying skill levels. The game saves at designated save spots in the action segments, but you are able to save anywhere during the story moments. I best enjoyed this game in thirty-minute bursts which usually had me enjoying a decent chunk of action gameplay with a dash of story.
Conclusion – Radiant Action jRPG
Overall, I liked Eternal Radiance. The mix of story and action gameplay will certainly appeal to the anime fans or those that are looking for a good old action jRPG. For me, it scores a positive recommendation mostly due to the variety available to the player during combat sections. If you want to treat this as a simple hack and slash you can. But it was enjoyable to experiment with various moves, spells and parrying.
What’s on offer is pretty solid but it doesn’t do anything groundbreaking or new. It feels quite formulaic with the approach of collecting side quests, then going out in the field and exploring until you find it. Then return to town, upgrade your equipment and repeat the process until the day is won. If that all sounds good to you then absolutely give Eternal Radiance a look in.
Final Verdict: I Like it