Initially, I thought that Eternal Eyes would be a hidden gem. It starts with an intriguing murder and a promise of a gritty and serious story. That is soon dashed by the introduction of a bunch of interchangeable kids right after. Still, the story could be a fun adventurous romp.
Unfortunately, that doesn't turn out to be the case, as the story progresses at a snail's pace and lets go of most characters to make room for silent Pokemon-like monsters. Yet, it is not the poor story that sinks the game, but the absolutely slow and mediocre gameplay that should be its saving grace.
A73: Eternal Eyes:
Genre: Tactical RPG.
First things first, I am changing my rating system to a simpler 10 point system. Games that get above a 7 I fully recommend, and those that get below that are mostly a waste of time. That leaves the score of 7 to depend on your taste.
"If you two are reading this, it means that the world is about to be enveloped in the flames of war'"
The beginning of the game features a scene where obviously evil people kill a hero of a past war. This menagerie of villains threatens to be an interesting, if a little cartoony bunch. However, the game is not interested in developing its story, as is soon apparent by the main gameplay loop.
First, the main story is not alluded to in any way by the group of children who are the real stars of the game. Rather, just one of them, Luke who is from the tribe of the "Eternal Eyes" and can, therefore, control Magical Puppets. Here exits the supporting cast as the game replaces them with silent Pokemon.
Meet your discount Pokemon team
Unlike Pokemon, where the game's world provides the story in the absence of a central character, there is no story to speak of here. There are no towns, no microstories, and the main story advances slowly, only after going through five or six maps.
Maps which lack variety or personality, which is an issue that permeates throughout the game.
While the 2D sprites did not age much, they are some of the poorest sprites I have seen on the PS1, with a blocky texture that is somehow not even comparable to mid-tier SNES games. The poor sprites are not supported by the collection of poorly designed and forgettable collection of creatures.
On the other hand, the music is pretty good from what little I have heard. Also, perhaps for the better, there is no voice acting that could have made it worse. Although, it would have been fun to hear some VAs trying to make sense of the grammatically incorrect and mistake-filled text of the game.
"My little seeds of nightmare should soon start to germinate throughout the world"
If you are not in it for the story, then a monster-collection game can always attract with its gameplay. Unfortunately, there are three elements in which Eternal Eyes fail in its gameplay.
First, the game's mechanics are poorly explained regarding the evolution of monsters and improving their stats. Apparently, you earn a number of jewels through combat which you can then consume to evolve your monsters and/or upgrade their stats and teach them spells, but this is never explained well in the game.
This means that you will need to rely on an external source to navigate the evolution trees and the stat growth requirements. Even then, the system is set up in such a way that evolving a monster doesn't always give you a better monster. It is like the final evolution in Pokemon being a Magikarp instead of a Gyrados.
Ironically, the gameplay does feel like Magikarp flailing about
Second, even if the evolution system was properly explained and was fun to tinker with, the basic tactical gameplay is slow and boring. The gameplay is slower than a late-stage in Wargroove on the Genesis where you needed to move around 40 units. Here, moving four units around feels more cumbersome and boring.
Animations are boring, movement is slow, actions take much longer than they ever should, and the middle evolutions in the game are all low-movement idiots. To top that off, defeating enemies spawn chests in their place that may act as obstacles on your path unless you waste a turn to open them.
Third, even if the gameplay was fun and all systems made sense and were inviting for experimentation, the game is too damn easy, to begin with. Ironically, this becomes the game's saving grace as it spares you from trying to understand its system or repeat levels too often.
There is no single element that is at fault in sinking Eternal Eyes in my view. This is truly a case where the game is so mediocre in its many parts that it becomes less than the sum. However, I think I may have brought myself to finish the game if not for its painfully slow-gameplay.
Truly, you can ignore a game's lackluster gameplay, but you can never ignore shortcomings that affect 90% of your time with the game.
1-Press Triangle to see enemy movement range.
2-You can revisit previous levels to grind and look for "jewels"
3-Characters recover full HP and MP when you level-up.
4-Evolutions happen at Levels 3, 8, 15, 30.
So much for an interesting beginning
For those reading one of my PS1 review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:
I already reviewed both major Generation 4 consoles, and am now to review Generation 5 consoles. I already finished reviewing the Sega Saturn, so I am now reviewing the PS1. In these reviews, I take a top 100 games list and review the games that interest me in that list.
This time, my review series is based on this list from Retro Sanctuary along with other sources, since the PS1 can handle a list bigger than a top 100.
Also, note the following:
-If you have any suggestions for a game that is not in the Retro Sanctuary list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.
I wouldn't call grinding through similar-looking stages "acting" in any threatening way
First, I played Battle Hunter, which was such a weird game that I decided I can't be bothered to understand it. After watching videos of the game, I was glad since it looked to be such a slow slog to go through. It turned out that the Eternal Eyes wasn't much better.
The next game to be reviewed is Monkey Hero at #A72, which is a game that is reportedly similar to The Legend of Zelda series. Hopefully, this would be an upturn on the additional list which hadn't wowed me so far.
For Previous PS1 Game Reviews: