I bought Edge of Eternity during its Early Access phase a few years ago. Unfortunately, at the time, my PC wasn’t strong enough to run it, and so it remained in my library as a means to get updates about its development. Over the years, Edge of Eternity expanded in ways I never had expected, becoming a truly impressive project developed by only a handful of people. Now that the game is on consoles, I finally have the opportunity to play it. After waiting so long, I feared that my expectations would be squandered and that it would be unable to live up to the hype. Fortunately, that was not the case, and Edge of Eternity proved itself to be a groundbreaking JRPG experience in every possible way.
“Edge of Eternity manages to seamlessly blend the best aesthetics from across its genre’s plethora of visual identities, all while adding its own distinctive mark.”
Of course, it goes without saying that one of Edge of Eternity’s greatest selling points is its phenomenally magnificent visuals. From its vast and varied landscapes to its detailed cities and colourful cast of compellingly charming characters, Edge of Eternity rarely fails to inspire a deeply engrossing and immersive sense of awe within the player.
Exploring its beautiful and intricately detailed environments is a captivating experience that never gets old. Whether its verdant valleys stretching as far as the eye can see or grungy futuristic cities, Edge of Eternity manages to seamlessly blend the best aesthetics from across its genre’s plethora of visual identities, all while adding its own distinctive mark.
“To further complement Edge of Eternity’s staggeringly striking visuals is one of the best JRPG soundtracks ever conceived.”
Cutscenes also benefit from the game’s insatiable visuals, with its more grandiose cinematics featuring fluid and action-packed animations that make each narrative-focused segment feel that much more engrossing. It helps too that the character designs are fantastic, being wonderfully unique in their own right, instantly iconic and fantastically integrated into the game’s enthralling world.
To further complement Edge of Eternity’s staggeringly striking visuals is one of the best JRPG soundtracks ever conceived. Featuring a mesmerisingly melodic, boisterously bold and just a genuinely great banger of a main theme and battle theme by the endlessly talented Yasunori Mitsuda as well as a phenomenally evocative and creative score by the masterful Cédric Menendez, Edge of Eternity’s soundtrack is beyond legendary.
“The game’s phenomenal voice acting makes the entire experience that much more immersive.”
Fortunately, Edge of Eternity maintains its excellent quality beyond the superficial. While its visual identity is a huge part of the overall experience, the game’s enthralling narrative somehow still manages to take centre stage. It is an almost entirely voiced extravaganza that simultaneously pulls on the heartstrings while offering a complex and mature story filled with interesting and multi-faceted characters.
Edge of Eternity rarely struggles with its lofty narrative ambitions, seamlessly weaving together an action-packed plot full of nuanced villains and world-ending diseases with the interpersonal struggles and relationships between each of the game’s core cast of characters. It’s an incredibly difficult balancing act that also requires a keen understanding of pacing, maintaining a sense of brevity even in the most solemn of moments, and ensuring each and every character is likeable, and the writing team at Midgar Studio perfectly pulled it off.
Additionally, the game’s phenomenal voice acting makes the entire experience that much more immersive. While the English voice acting is superb, the inclusion of Japanese voice acting elevates the experience to a whole other level and was my preferred way of playing. Nevertheless, both localisations manage to convey the intense emotional stakes, charming and witty party banter, and personal struggles that the game perfectly balances across its lengthy and impressive narrative.
“Edge of Eternity offers a genuinely satisfying and fulfilling gameplay experience that never tires or grows stale”
When you’re not engaging with the Edge of Eternity’s central narrative, you’ll be fighting monsters and completing side quests. Its turn-based combat system is as exciting as it is deep, offering an intricate and tactical alternative to the generic mechanics found in old-school JRPGs. You’ll have to consider the placement of your party members, the time in between attacks, and the various elemental weaknesses of each enemy in order to net the best result.
While some combat encounters can be a little simplistic, especially if you’re up against a single weak enemy, for the most part, Edge of Eternity offers a genuinely satisfying and fulfilling gameplay experience that never tires or grows stale. With dynamic environments that can be interacted with during combat and the many tactical elements, combat in Edge of Eternity is wonderfully innovative, exhilarating and thrilling.
Fortunately, the same can be said about its plethora of side content. There were multiple questlines that offered genuinely engaging and at times emotional narratives that impacted me quite considerably. They offer tidbits about the world and characters, delving deep into its imaginative mythos and cultures, while also ensuring to build upon the established relationships between the cast of characters. While not every quest offers these lengthy and meaningful stories, for the most part, each side quest offers a fun distraction and an interesting way of earning experience points.
“It is a fearlessly brilliant experience from start to finish that is full of both innovation and admiration for the genre it is so inspired by.”
Of course, having been developed by such a small team, there is an expected level of inconsistency when it comes to quality. Some visuals look marginally worse than others and certain cutscenes feel a little stilted. However, all of this is easily forgivable when confronted with not only the size of the developing team but the sheer scale of ambition and ingenuity that went into the creation of this game. Suffice to say, what has been accomplished with Edge of Eternity is nothing short of groundbreaking.
Edge of Eternity is an engrossing, compelling, phenomenally ambitious game with exhilarating combat, a genuinely enthralling narrative and an inspirational amount of ingenious creativity behind it. It is an incredibly audacious and exciting accomplishment that speaks volumes about the state of indie games and how far they have grown. It is a fearlessly brilliant experience from start to finish that is full of both innovation and admiration for the genre it is so inspired by. I simply cannot recommend it enough.
You can pick up Edge of Eternity on Steam, PlayStation, Xbox and the Nintendo Switch (Cloud Version) now.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on Xbox Series S, code was provided by the Publisher.