Eternity: The Last Unicorn is an independently developed Action RPG from Brazilian team Void Studios, which brings together Norse mythology, RPG mechanics, a seemingly unimaginable world, and an unforgettable story. Here are our thoughts.
+An absolutely beautiful art style that is ultimately let down by static camera angles
+Uniquely designed characters and settings
+A story that is rather unexpectedly enjoyable
+Main story quest items need to be crafted, adding a layer of depth to progression
-Horrific camera angles
-Combat is unenjoyable and plagued by hit detection issues
-Can be rather hard to enjoy due to small bugs that can prevent progression
-Controls feel rather clunky for a game of this type
Years upon years ago, during the PlayStation 2 era, I loved a good RPG wherever I could get it. I spent countless hours busting my way through Drakengard with reckless abandon, enjoying its endless spirals between action, RPG elements, and its good-ol cinematic experiences. Much to the same, I would enjoy action titles such as Devil May Cry, Genji: Dawn of the Samurai, and Onimusha with a sense of content when they came to an end.
Back then, however, I didn’t notice something about those games at that time that was actually quite horrific due to hardware limitations at the time: Static camera angles. For their time, the games were great. We loved the characters, the stories, and the sense of accomplishment when we bashed our way through a boss that seemed almost impossible to beat the first four times through.
However, fast forward two-almost-three console generations later and here we are with Eternity: The Last Unicorn from Void Studio. It’s a clever game with a clever idea building upon the Norse mythology hype that’s been going around as of recent. I can’t blame them, who doesn’t want to dig deep into a territory rarely used in games? Everyone is doing it, might as well do it also and see if you can do it better.
Except, there’s a problem with this game right out of the gate. Static cameras. Those damn static cameras made an ungrateful return. Except, we’ll talk more about those later. First up, we gotta talk about the gameplay.
Fixed camera angles are a problem in this game and they are done absolutely wrong
Look, this sounds harsh, but I gotta tell you how it is. Fixed camera angles are a problem in this game. Whether it’s the beautiful story that Void Studios wants to tell us is great or not, isn’t a problem, but the camera angles are. The history behind them was rather simple: Games in the PS1 and PS2 generations couldn’t do the level of detail they wanted without them.
They were a way for developers to reel us in, to create highly detailed worlds without putting a taxing workload on the hardware at the time. In turn, this resulted in fixed camera angles, which cut the need for a rotating camera and allowed for better graphics alongside animations for an overall more detailed experience.
However, this changed when we went further into hardware iterations, making it so we didn’t need them, and even eliminated the need for fixed camera angles as seen in most Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 titles. The issue here is rather clear: Eternity: The Last Unicorn suffers because of it.
Fights that shouldn’t be like hitting your head against a brick wall is a thing and it’s quite annoying. I could actually forgive this approach to game design if the game actually had current-gen graphics and problems, not PlayStation 2 graphics and PlayStation 1 camera angles.
It doesn’t stop with camera angles though. Combat is an issue and it sucks that it is.
My next issue isn’t cameras, but the combat. Look, I love “B” and “C” rated games. They’re fun and some of them are really fun to play. Just look at Strange Brigade. It’s dumb, it’s fun, and it’s totally a b-rate game, but I enjoy it. I’ve spent a lot of time in the game itself. The issues here are how combat actually feels.
Dodges, attacks (light or heavy), and even clearing out enemies with your special, doesn’t feel satisfying. There’s no change of pace due to how combat flows. It’s a simple mindless hack ‘n’ slash experience without any real depth to what it offers. I wouldn’t mind it if it actually had something to offer. But the attacks regardless of light or heavy feel sluggish, baring no weight or true impact to them, and it seems that you don’t have any sense of accomplishment from it.
Even the enemy lock-on is not as useful as it sounds. Honestly, it’s just a mess, and sadly, as much as I know there was a lot of passion put into a game like this – it’s not a great experience. I’ve even encountered times where it seemed that nothing I was doing mattered, that every attack, every dodge, and even every movement didn’t matter. Especially during boss fights where it all comes crashing down like an avalanche and all of the problems one could face become reality.
I just hope this gets fixed in a future version or a future patch. I really wanted to like the game, I wanted to enjoy what the game had to offer. I just couldn’t look past the problems I encountered and think that – “hey it gets better” – when my attacks wouldn’t count against the boss or my dodges were “too slow” to avoid what was coming my direction. It’s just a massive mess and I really had wished it wouldn’t be a thing as this game was one that had been on my watch list since I first heard about it months before its release.
The artistic design choices are actually rather charming
You’d be right to think that this game isn’t beyond saving. If you’re one that can look past the god awful bugs I encountered, the few crashes here and there; Eternity: The Last Unicorn actually has a bit of charm to it. Most of it comes from both the score and the art choices made.
I can’t help but applaud them. There was more than one incident where I found myself drawn into the game, ignoring the flaws it had, just so I could hear more and see more of what it had to offer. Many times, I’d just sit there, listening and enjoying what I heard – a momentary escape from the flaws of the game itself and a way to appreciate some of it as a piece of art.
Unfortunately, the enjoyment is short lived as your immersion from both the art styles, the settings, and the score is quickly chipped away by the god awful bugs, taking away any little sense of appreciation you had left and slowly draining it away. At least for me anyways.
But there is one thing, I want to mention. Music aside, there is one artistic tidbit about the game I have to appreciate more than the rest. To move through the story, crafting is a big part of the experience, forcing you to craft the items you will need in order to continue forward. These items often come in various types, each one requiring different ingredients you’ll discover through your adventures.
I can’t say much more, spoilers my friends, and we know we don’t want the spoilers.
The Conclusion – Someone, help me across the Bifröst
Now, it does seem like I went hard on this game, which I did. I’m actually a bit curious at the design choices made by 1C Entertainment before the release of their game. Was it the fact they wanted this game to feel like a classic PS2 title or was it simply due to budget and the lack of access to perhaps, a more powerful engine, and the time needed to create something truly memorable?
Whatever it was, I really wish they had taken more time with their game; to truly get a feel for what people enjoyed about games like God of War, Dark Souls, and even Jade Empire. Unfortunately, until the game’s shortcomings are taken care of, I just can’t recommend this one and believe me, in the 15 hours I spent playing it, I really wanted to like it, but just couldn’t do so.
Eternity: The Last Unicorn
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Developer: Void Studios
Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Release Date: Available Now
However, if you can tolerate a game with this many shortcomings, then more power to you and I truly hope you enjoy it!
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.