Developer: Makee, Forever Entertainment S. A.
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Platformer, Shooter, Side Scroller
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One)
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 13/05/2021
A code was provided for review purposes.
Rise Eterna tells the story of Natheal who is basically muscle to a group of bandits. One night, the bandits attempt to invade and rob a city while Natheal keeps guard at their fire camp. The next day, our hero realizes that his pals have not returned. He heads for the village only to see it in shambles and finds a young woman hurt on the ground, somehow still alive. As he brings her back to the camp to heal her, he realizes that she killed his employers in defending her village. With nowhere else to go, the girl, Lua, tags along with Natheal as they head to discover Lua’s mysterious origins.
Rise Eterna is a turn-based strategy role-playing game, or SRPG, where players can move a few blocks in any direction to reach enemies on the map and engage in combat. While the levels are designed with a top-down view, when entering combat, it switches to a 2D view. This type of gameplay is a very double-edged sword; you can either be lucky and have all party members surround enemies or you can be the one in trouble and surrounded by enemies that will pound you into dust because you didn’t strategize properly. Think of it as virtual chess.
Let’s Level Up… Unevenly
Something that differentiates Rise Eterna from most types of RPGs is how you level up/improve your characters. While most RPG games reward players with experience points after battles, characters will earn a skill point that can be used to boost stats (Attack, Agility, etc…) or unlock special abilities (for example, Regeneration which gives back a small % of HP at the start of each turn) from the skill tree. It’s quite a fun and unique way to go about things as it feels like players have more freedom on how they develop their characters. As with most typical RPGs, your party will grow over time as you meet a total of 14 unique characters, protagonists aside, such as Rose, a fencer and Soty, with his powerful ranger, just to name a few.
A nice touch that adds an additional strategic layer to this SRPG is the fact that characters do not share a magic inventory. Each character has their own item inventory that they carry around so you’ll have to be mindful of that, especially if you consider the divide and conquer the best way to attack. If you split up your team and one of your team members runs out of health items, for example, they could be in for a bad time. But on the flip side, if you keep them next to each other, you can share items between them.
The game’s biggest problem is, unfortunately, its skill tree upgrade system. While it does give players a bit of freedom in character improvement, the leveling up process becomes stale, predictable, and dare I say, tedious. Additionally, players will sometimes face encounters with a high difficulty spike making your characters feel underpowered and also feeling like all that boosting was for naught.
Playing Chess with Tiny Humans
As a whole, Rise Eterna looks great. Whether it be the overhead level navigation or the combat, the game features a unique visual aspect. Some of the characters, mostly the protagonists, who probably feel at home, look-wise, in a 2D fighting game. The background during combat is highly detailed, and the overhead map. Given how big the screen covers, the levels are surprisingly detailed; some of them could be beautiful paintings. On the soundtrack side of things, it’s a typical orchestral score that you’d expect for an RPG. The game theme is beautiful but other than that, it’s downhill from there. The combat theme is enthralling but gets old fast.
Rise Eterna quite literally caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting much, but the game ended up being a surprisingly competent, albeit frustrating SRPG. Combat is simplistic, but somehow addictive, having to strategize before making moves on a map adds a layer of challenge to this. Unfortunately, to fully enjoy this game, you need to be prepared to take on nigh-impossible challenges because of the questionable leveling system which can cause abrupt difficulty spikes. A great game for fans of the genre, but those looking to try a different type of RPG might want to look elsewhere.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
Rise Eterna can be purchased on the Nintendo eShop.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.