Review – AeternoBlade

The first time I saw footage for AeternoBlade, my initial thought was, “is Square Enix re-releasing any of its early 2000s games on the Switch?” The in-game footage, the overall aesthetics, the incredibly Nomura-esque FMV intro, everything just looked like something that would have been perfectly acceptable on the early days of the PS2. Sadly, we’re in 2018, and that’s what we got.

Fearsome fights

AeternoBlade is a 2.5D hack-n-slash you’ve probably seen a dozen times before in better installments. It originally came out for the 3DS and the Vita, and it clearly shows, as this Switch port barely looks better than those versions, which weren’t even considered lookers back then. The game retains one interesting core mechanic and several other bland gameplay elements present in tons of other games.

Let’s start off with the good stuff: the game features a nice time rewinding mechanic. If you fall off a cliff (and you will, considering how far from precise the jump button is), you can use the gimmick to go back in time. You can avoid enemy attacks, solve puzzles, you know the drill. That opens up a few possibilities for the combat and level progression, which is something I have to admit is an interesting feature for an otherwise severely forgettable game. Now, for what’s wrong in the game.

The Great Deku Tree’s long lost stepbrother

I’m not going to talk about the extremely dated visuals and sound effects that much. You can see the pictures for yourself, but I will add that the animations are as early-PS2-ish as a game can boast. The sound effects are incredibly compressed and, at times, sound like they’re lo-fi mono sound samples.

The combat is easy to learn but pretty shallow and not interesting at all. You’ll end up constantly resorting to button mashing. There are lots of item management and character progression menus as well, something you’ve already seen before in any game released after Symphony of the Night. It’s just not wow-inducing in any way.

The biggest problem here, though, is the story. AeternoBlade puts a lot of effort in trying to tell a story just like Square would do back in the day, but I never managed to care about it during my entire playthrough. It’s boring. It’s generic. Characters are simply not interesting at all. The plot revolves around your typical “save the land from the evil demon,” “you are the chosen one,” yadda yadda yadda. I wouldn’t care that much about this issue if the game didn’t force you to pay attention to the plot with so many dialogue sessions and bizarre in-game “cutscenes” in which my character freezes for 15 seconds just to take a look at something right in front of her.

Generic-looking devil boss #666

While AeternoBlade is far from being an offensively bad game (it’s no Sword of Fortress the Onomuzim), but it’s like a game from nearly two decades ago that doesn’t provide people with a sense of nostalgia. It’s not exactly an expensive game, but if you’re seriously desperate for something that resembles an early PS2 or Dreamcast title, in both qualities and flaws, then wait for a price drop and then grab this one.

Graphics: 4.0

AeternoBlade would look passable for the Dreamcast, not for the Switch.

Gameplay: 6.0

The combat is far from engaging but it’s easy to learn and somewhat responsive. Jumping can sometimes be faulty.

Sound: 4.0

Very forgettable soundtrack. You won’t remember any of the tunes and the very compressed sound effects aren’t pleasant to hear.

Fun Factor: 4.5

AeternoBlade tries to blend in an excessive amount of ideas and genres without ever fully executing any of them. It’s just borderline okay at best.

Final Verdict: 4.5

Reviewed on Switch.
Also available on: PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One,