Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Eternights, Studio Sai’s 3D brawler with Persona-esque time management elements.
Eternights Review Transcript
Eternights is a 3D Brawler with time management elements by Studio Sai, in which you fight to save humanity from an evil god who has turned everyone but your small group of teenagers into monsters.
Each time your train arrives in an area, you’re given a set number of days within which you must complete the dungeon. Each day you can spend time with a confidant to increase your bond level with them, or go outside to progress through the linear dungeons.
Bonding sessions play out like a simple visual novel, albeit with 3D models, camera angles, and voice acting in most scenes. You watch a very anime-inspired conversation, and choose from a few dialogue options. If you choose right, you’ll increase your relationship points and personality stats, but regardless, you’ll increase your confidant rank, and unlock new skills to spend your skill points on.
Dungeon crawling, on the other hand, is a well-tuned 3D brawler with RPG elements. You enter an area, which then closes off your exits and spawns enemies. You have a basic attack combo alongside heavy strikes. If you dodge or parry at just the right time, you’ll be invincible for a moment, and gain a massive amount of charge on your elemental fist, a powerful attack that can break the guards of otherwise undamageable enemies. You can activate your confidant’s abilities, which pause time and do damage to enemies or heal you, or use your sword abilities to extend your combos. Once you beat all the enemies, you can explore before finding the next arena.
Most of these mechanics are slowly unveiled by unlocking skills, meaning the game has a satisfying ramp up from a spammy battle system with sharp dodges to a moderately complex brawler where chaining your abilities rewards you with more damage and survivability.
If you run out of SP that your healer can use, it becomes essentially impossible to continue since there are no healing items, and you’ll have to use a checkpoint to return home and try again another day. Parts of the game feel like a battle of attrition, especially in the sections where your healer isn’t around and there’s no way to restore health at all.
The writing is good overall, though it certainly has some rough edges. Anyone who dislikes anime due to its over the top characters won’t enjoy Eternights, and the game also suffers from tonal whiplash. There are some pretty grim scenes, implying mass death, showing a character’s limb being cut off, dealing with intense grief, and more, and then the game goes back to being a wacky anime comedy with some weirdly sexual references.
The balance of gameplay and story works almost as well here as in Persona games, despite your limited options of 5 confidants. In the evenings, you can train or scavenge with a confidant, which both involve minigames, and both give skill points for your confidants and other benefits, but outside of that, it’s just fighting and hanging out.
The romance in this game is essentially the same as friendship – just keep going and you’ll get there. In the end, you’ll need to pick one character whose ending you want, but there doesn’t seem to be any punishment for dating as many people as you can manage with your limited days.
The character art is generally great, with charming animations and beautiful 2D splash art during important scenes. The sound effects and music are uniformly good, but not great, and the voice acting is solid.
Eternights is basically a 10 hour Persona game where the combat system is replaced with a 3D Brawler and there’s a more horror bent to the game. If that sounds good to you, I can recommend Eternights.
Eternights Releases September 12 on PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 for $29.99.