on Jul 04 by Mr Random
When I first heard about Time and Eternity, I thought it sounded pretty cool. A JRPG with HD anime style sprites and an interesting premise could have been great, but unfortunately it all falls apart when you actually start playing. Time and Eternity manages to fail spectacularly at everything it does, and any enthusiasm I once had for it has been lost.
Time and Eternity’s story revolves around the wedding of main character Toki and her fiancee, Zack. The wedding is quickly interrupted by assassins, who attack the wedding and kill Zack. This awakens Toki’s other self, Towa, who quickly dispatches the assailants. Realising that it’s too late to save Zack, she travels back in time to try and prevent the attack. After returning to the past, Zack finds himself stuck in Towa’s (badly drawn) pet dragon Drake.
This opening would have been a good start to the game, if it weren’t for one thing – the main cast are some of the most unlikable characters i’ve ever had to put up with. Zack is constantly fawning over most girls he sees, with Toki and Towa seemingly accepting this behaviour as normal. Other characters don’t fare much better, usually only defined by one annoying personality trait that they have. It’s hard to be engaged with the plot when the characters are spouting the same sort of nonsense over and over again.
The voice acting in Time and Eternity is decent – both English and Japanese voice overs are included – but it’s definitely the best i’ve heard for the voice actors. To be fair, I wouldn’t be too enthusiastic either considering some of the lines the characters come out with. As it is, it’s serviceable and nothing more.
Further adding to the horrible story, there are many ridiculous plot twists and inconsistencies. Without spoiling anything, the reason behind the attack on the wedding is almost insultingly bad. There are many times where you think ‘this can’t get any worse’… but it always does.
Time and Eternity doesn’t improve when it comes to gameplay either. Most areas in the game look similar to each other, with only minor changes. Also, even though some areas can be quite expansive, there is not reason to actually try and explore thanks to one feature – the map shows everything the area contains, including chests and items. Then again, something that reducing the time spent with this game can only be a good thing.
Movement is also really clunky. Toki and Towa control not unlike early Resident Evil characters, where pressing left or right makes them rotate in the corresponding direction instead of moving that way. While this isn’t much of a problem in most of the time since areas are generally wide open, but it can be annoying when you get stuck on an ankle high hill and need to get around it.
Character movement also brings up another problem – character animations. While the sprites do look nice in 3D, animations look really jerky thanks to there only being a small amount of frames used. Furthermore, certain animations look strange, like the running and attack animations. The default camera angle hides Toki and Towa’s feet so you don’t notice it, but if you move the camera you can see that it looks like they’re sliding along the floor unnaturally.
The regular attack animations also make it look like your character isn’t even facing the enemy, though that’s the least of the problems combat has (we’ll come to those problems later). Battles take place in real time, and players can attack with either their rifle or knife. Attacks are mapped to the face buttons, and specials need SP to be used which is gained by using regular attacks.
Combat pretty much boils down to watching the enemies movements, and attacking when the opportunity arises. Like Black Rock Shooter: The Game – also developed by Imageepoch – it is a decent system at first. However, not enough is done to keep battles interesting, which is annoying considering the frequency of encounters.
Repetition also rears its ugly head again. There’s only a limited amount of enemy types, which is reused constantly as you progress, only having different colours and names to differentiate themselves. While this is a problem many JRPGs have, it’s taken to the extreme here. Prepare to face many golems and random goons during your journey.
You can unlock new attacks and passive abilities using the ‘gift’ system. As you beat enemies and finish quests, you gain GP which is used to unlock different gifts. These bestow different abilities when you’re at the right level. The gifts branch out as you unlock more, allowing you to choose what skill you’d like. Unfortunately, there is little variety between each character’s gifts for the most part – usually just a different elemental spell or their respective weapon attack – and many times you’ll unlock skills that are worthless by the time you have them.
Gifts are made more annoying by another annoying mechanic the game throws at you – you switch between Toki and Towa when you level up. This, combined with the fact that you don’t unlock skill given from gifts until after you level up, means that unlocks are held back until you level up again. It’s unnecessary, and makes an otherwise decent system overly complicated.
As you’ve guessed by now, I did not enjoy my time with Time and Eternity (pun 100% intended), though there were a few highlights in an otherwise dire game. Like with many of Imageepoch’s earlier games, menus and HUD are nice to look at and navigate. For all the complications and annoyances that the rest of the game is full of, it’s nice that something works well.
The soundtrack is also decent occasionally, with composer Yuzo Koshiro providing some stellar battle themes. It’s just a shame that the soundtrack as a whole doesn’t match up to the quality of his work on series like Etrian Odyssey and 7th Dragon.
I’m not going to lie, Time and Eternity is not a game worth your hard earned money. It may have had some good ideas, but none of them are executed well. Imageepoch are capable of making great games, so i’ll give them the benefit of the doubt this time. However, this is one game that is best left forgotten.