Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Imageepoch, Satelight
Medium: Blu-ray Disc/Digital
Time and Eternity is apparently a fresh new take on the RPG genre from the team that brought us the Luminous Arc games on Nintendo DS and Arc Rise Fantasia on the Wii. The game is literally full of anime fan service and then some. But is that all it is? The short answer is… not even that!
Time and Eternity opens the day before the wedding between the princess of Kamza, Toki, and her fiancé Zack. They are at home when some of Toki’s friends start showing up to give the bride to be and her fiancée advice. (Anime fan service ahead.) Most of her friends are pretty scantily clad, and many sexually charged jokes and innuendos are thought and spoken aloud. Zack at one point wishes he was the pet dragon as he gets to take baths with Toki, and yes I’m going somewhere with this. The day of the wedding comes and right before they kiss, bandits break into the church and attack the happy couple. The heroic Zack jumps into the fray, sword drawn and takes a fatal wound defending his bride. While he lays there dying, instead of thinking of the life he is going to miss with Toki, he thinks of how cool he is and that all the girls want him for defending the love of his life. Suddenly Toki charges into the fray, however she doesn’t look exactly like herself. We find out in about 10 minutes that another soul named Towa lives in Toki’s body and the two souls combined have the power to travel in time. The knight then falls unconscious, when he comes to he is in the past and Toki is talking to a fortune teller who is speaking of the disaster at the wedding. When Zack looks at himself he discovers that he is the pet dragon and can take baths with Toki. (Yes there are many jokes about this)
From the opening moments of being able to control Toki/Towa players are introduced to a whole new control style as compared to other JRPGs. The camera location is almost directly behind Toki (We’ll just call her that from now on) as she moves around and she controls like a character in a 3rd person shooter. Once a fight begins, like most JRPGs, a battle screen comes up with the view from behind Toki. When Toki levels up, she switches to Towa, both of which have different abilities. Items are found later in the game to allow players to switch to the other character.
If there is anything more boring and hair pullingly frustrating than the dialog of Time and Eternity, it’s the combat. There is no timer bar, Toki doesn’t run out of endurance to require players to back off and recharge. There are 3 different planes that Toki and the enemy can be on and If they are both on their ends of the field of battle, Toki can use her gun to shoot the enemy. If they are closer, Toki uses her sword. Here is where it gets really boring and frustrating at the same time ; All players need to do to attack is pound on the circle button to either shoot their rifle or swing their sword. That’s it. Sure you can unleash different abilities by pressing the other buttons as the attack bar fills, but there is really no need. When attacks come in players can dodge by pressing left or right on the thumbstick or hit L1 to block. The most annoying part of combat is that by the time a player sees that an attack is incoming it’s already too late to dodge or block. The reason behind this is the animation for attacking is so long that players don’t have time to just dodge, they have to guess when the enemy is going to attack so they can stop attacking long enough to wait for a dodge opportunity. Most battles come down to just smashing the circle button till the enemy is defeated and then healing with the items they dropped.
Perhaps the only redeeming quality of Time and Eternity is the hand drawn characters. The characters themselves are well done artistically speaking. Unfortunately that is where it ends. The animation of these well drawn characters are extremely bad with missing frames, and movement seems generally very jerky when they move around. The music just doesn’t fit the mood of the scene a lot of the time either and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the opening dungeon of the game. In the beginning is a spooky looking forest, where we hear very happy, very bubbly music instead of a cool, haunting oh-my-gosh-something-is-going-to-pop-out-of-the-bush-and-eat-me type of music that players would expect.
I wish that I could say that Time and Eternity was a valiant attempt at a good, genre changing game. The combat system could have been so much better, and the dialog needed quite a lot of help. NISA has published some great titles in the past including the Atelier series and the Disgaea series, but this leaves a horrible taste in your mouth. If you see this game on the shelf, don’t touch it, don’t even look at it. You would have much more fun spending your money on a dentist appointment.