Time and Eternity (PS3) Review
Coming fresh from the catalog of NIS America role-playing games comes a new title by the way of ImageEpoch (creators of the Black Rock Shooter RPG for PlayStation Portable). Time and Eternity aims to edge itself as the first fully animated role playing game on the market (not even Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch gets that honor). With its unique art style and leading female protagonist, will Time and Eternity prove that video games can be art, or is it little more than a rough draft?
Let’s check out what’s HOT and what’s NOT in our review of Time and Eternity.
Time and Eternity boasts the first role playing game to be complete with hand drawn animations for every single character and that style definitely shows a unique personality. The lead artist on the project is a Taiwanese artist known by VOfan, famous for his works on the -gatari anime series (Bakemonogatari, Katanagatari, and Nisemonogatari to name a few). VOfan’s unique art style definitely shines through with the design of each story character.
Each frame of animation in Time and Eternity is drawn by hand. This gives the game a special flair separating itself from the other role playing games on the market. While the animation can get rough around the edges from time to time, that certain flavor makes up for it. Even the most mundane animations, such as Toki glancing over her shoulder while walking backwards or Towa swiftly evading an enemy attack, just seem to sparkle and give Time and Eternity that cute touch modern JRPG’s are known for.
A tale spanning across time
Time and Eternity opens its curtain with what’s typically one of the happier days in gaming: the wedding day. Aside from serving as the game’s tutorial to quest taking and an introduction to the supporting cast members, it introduces the players to Toki, the protagonist’s pink-haired fiance. In the midst of exchanging vows, a group of soldiers ambush the royal wedding, slaying the main character and drawing the ire of Toki’s alter ego, Towa. Through the magic of time travel, both characters are sent back in time six months in an attempt to stop the assassination and change the flow of history. The main character is reborn as a blue dragon that serves as Toki’s faithful pet that follows her anywhere, even into steam bath scenes. His lecherous personality shines through every time he opens his lips, but thankfully his words are unheard during the opening acts of the game until a certain plot point shows up early on.
Truly active combat
Fights in Time and Eternity play out in simple one-vs-one duels with extra combatants waiting their turn instead of randomly joining the fray. Once engaged, fights can either play out at ranged with a rifle or up close with a knife in hand. When engaged at a distance, attacks like rifle volleys or the usual assortment of elemental spells might be better suited whereas close encounters work best with an emphasis on dodging and counterattacking. With just a flick of the analog stick, Toki or Towa can deftly evade an enemy attack and negate all damage, or for those that might not have the timing down, there is also a block button to mitigate some of the damage as well. Combat in Time and Eternity flows at a perfect pace where a skilled player could easily sail through most encounter without taking a single hit. While it’s not possible to dodge out of an attack in midswing, learning the timing and typical patterns of an enemy add a nice strategic touch to combat, similar to the flow of battle in Black Rock Shooter sans the overheating mechanic. Attacking with either weapon accumulates SP which can usually be spent on the aforementioned spells or weapon based skills.
A simple tactic I tend to follow in Time and Eternity is saving enough SP for two casts of the highest elemental spell I’ve unlocked, dropping one on an enemy to take it out then immediately casting a second time on the next enemy combatant before they even have a chance to move. One thing to note is elements play a strong focus on the flow of combat. While the typical elements that counter each other (fire and ice, lightning and earth) deal extra damage, using the same element as an enemy will result in dealing zero damage. For this reason, sometimes it’s better to play it self and use the void (no element) attacks early on until you can carry an assortment of elemental spells.