Time and Eternity Review (PS3)
I remember having high hopes when I first caught a glimpse of Time and Eternity. The combat system looked fresh and different and the artwork looked downright sexy. Sadly, though, this first love was quickly demolished when I received the game and started to put in my hours, quickly fading from happiness to utter shock and frustration. What should have been a solid RPG with a fun cast turned into a nightmare of misstep after misstep. Read on below to find out just what went wrong exactly.
Time and Eternity kicks off with the wedding of main character Princess Toki and her fiance Zack. Of course things don’t go as planned and the two are attacked by a group of assassins, with Zack leaping to save Toki and dying in the process. This is a JRPG though, so Toki’s alternate personality Towa leaps to action, defeats the killers, and takes them back into time to try and stop this attack before it happens. Only one problem here, Zack’s soul has been transferred into their pet dragon Drake. From there you start your journey of panty shots, lots of girl chatter, and the inability for Zack to communicate other than by biting people.
The story itself is not particularly great, with so many anime cliches and way too much useless banter between characters. The jokes used in the game for the most part are completely unfunny and laced with sexual suggestions at every corner. In fact, the only good parts of the comedy comes from Zack trapped inside Drake’s body. No one realizes he is stuck in the body and there are more than a few great parts where his frustration at not being heard puts him past the breaking point and he snaps. Outside of this, though, the story is just a mess and really serves very little purpose other than to try and set a record for conversations centered around sex. There are a few interesting characters to be found in the game but they are drowned out by the air-headed and boring cast that is pushed at you the entire time.
Once you step past the story and into the combat, you start to realize that the lazy approach to the story transfers over to the combat as well. It is thoroughly boring and tedious, with no real break in its monotonous nature. In the combat you play as either Towa or Toki, with the characters changing every time you level up. The problem is, both of these two are carbon copies of each other, with the only difference being hair color. They both possess the same weapons and a lot of the same spells. Battles boil down to watching the enemy attack pattern, dodging when need be, and then attacking at first chance. One enemy at a time will appear on the screen and when you defeat him another will then pop up. Drake (Zack) can help out during battles with heals but this happening is extremely rare. Combos can also be chained together and characters can perform chemistry attacks with Drake.
The biggest problem with the combat is that there is really a limited depth to what can be done and how much you can truly level up your characters, with a small amount of abilities to actually learn. The game also features some extreme balance issues, as you can play through a level, completely destroying higher level enemies, only to be destroyed by the boss at the end. There is absolutely no consistency with the combat and while it starts out interesting, it fades extremely fast. One area, though, where the game does get it somewhat right are the skill trees. Toki and Towa earn gift points through winning battles or completing quests. These points can then be used to purchase active and passive skills that can be used when your character reaches a set level. It adds a bit to the gameplay but not enough to get overly excited about.
As mentioned above, Time and Eternity does feature side quests in the game. You can go through the town or levels picking up quests from random townsfolk. These are pretty standard, whether it’s killing a set amount of enemies or collecting samples of something. None of them are really fun and only further the grind and drag you through more of the combat, which is not a good thing. Exploration in the game is also severely limited, as you can only visit a few set points on each town map and run through bland and boring fields of battle.
If you are reading this and thinking things couldn’t get worse, I am sorry but they can and they do, sadly. Presentation had some serious potential as the characters and cut scenes look splendid, but are crushed by an overall dull world. Enemies are given very little in the way of polish and appear rather bland. The visual aspects really hit rock bottom with jagged edges everywhere and a limited amount of animations per character. To make matters even worse is the voice work, which has a few bright spots like Zack, but is mostly unimpressive. Characters sound extremely bored during their conversations and many of the enemies should really not talk at all. Not everything was bad however, as the music during combat was especially good and at times almost saved the repetitive fights.
It is so amazing to see a game fail so hard after looking in screenshots and videos like it might be a sleeper hit. There is very little in Time and Eternity to warrant paying full or even half price to try out. There are some great ideas hidden throughout the game but they are trapped under layers of flawed gameplay and sexual innuendos. The game could have really used a bit more time in the shop, where a few tweaks could have made a huge difference. Do yourself a favor and save your time and money for another day, because this is a 20+ hour trip that you don’t want to take.