(3DS eShop)

AeternoBlade (3DS eShop)

Game Review

AeternoBlade Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Dave Letcavage


It may have taken a bit longer than anyone expected, but AeternoBlade has finally ventured beyond Japan and to reach both North American and European markets. The game was nearing completion back in June of last year, but developer Corecell Technology didn’t have the necessary funding to move along with the localization process, leaving it to rely on a crowdfunding campaign to raise the needed cash. Now that this action platformer has arrived on the 3DS eShop, we’ve done the usual slice and dice to decide whether or not it was worth the wait.

In a shake-up of sorts, the story begins with the main character, Freyja, dying at the hands of Beladim, a powerful devil-like immortal. Harnessing the ability of the mysterious AeternoBlade, Freyja is sent back in time seven days for a second chance to slay her killer. The game then takes place in stages, equal to the days leading up to the opening events. Offering up intrigue in small doses, the plot does keep things moving forward, though it's most certainly not what we'd consider a selling point.

Structurally and visually, one might compare AeternoBlade to Castlevania: Mirror of Fate, but with a dash of JRPG-style to round things out. Like any 'Metroidvania' experience, you’re going to battle through a network of corridors and tunnels until you find what you’re looking for – this could be relics that enhance character attributes or a boss obstructing the path between you and progression; acquiring new abilities (double jump, time travel, etc.) will allow Freyja to access areas she couldn’t previously go. This doesn’t play as major a role as it would in, say, a Metroid title; instead the focus is shifted more towards combat.

Upon starting out, Freyja’s repertoire of moves is extremely limited, deceptively leading you to believe you’re in for some mundane hack-and-slash swordplay. While things are quite stagnant for the first couple stages, once you’ve begun collecting yellow orbs you can upgrade and learn new skills, spicing things up substantially. Unfortunately you’ll likely be about halfway through the game before this depth becomes apparent. At that point the swift, combo-driven combat begins to shine, made all the more satisfying by a fluid framerate.

When the unique powers of the AeternoBlade come into the fray, time can be manipulated as long as there’s juice in your power meter. This mechanic is at times integral to progression: it's needed to move platforms, open doors, and even reverse enemy attacks. Many of the environmental puzzles were a little awkward and clumsy to platform through, but there were quality exceptions. Finding ways to capitalize on the time reverse function in unscripted scenarios, instead of areas specifically designed around it, was when we found it the most rewarding and enticing.

A good Metroidvania offers locales ripe for exploration, begging to be traversed to the utmost, but AeternoBlade isn’t quite decorated enough for this. Most environments are bland and generic in appearance, lacking enough memorable scenery to keep you from regularly referring to the map for direction. If upgrades and items aren’t on the agenda, constantly heading to the right usually places you where you need to be; that's in the grips of the boss standing between you and the next stage. Thankfully, these mostly large, pattern-based monsters can be a nice reward for enduring any monotonous exploration before it.

There are other annoyances that will intermittently surface throughout the adventure. For instance, the game likes to take control of the camera to provide a preview of the tricky platforming ahead. This is, of course, beneficial, but these sequences can't be sped up or skipped and the camera moves so sluggishly, spelling things out for you as if you're not capable of figuring them out on your own. Other moments are devoid of music or sound effects, which diminishes the impact of the dialogue or encounter, while frequent load times also work towards interfering with immersion. These occurrences would be very minor on their own, but in tandem they can be enough to noticeably degrade your level of enjoyment.

When the momentum was consistent and we were busy slashing away at enemies, AeternoBlade made for a fairly pleasurable experience. Even dabbling with the skill tree and upgrades between each stage was engrossing, allowing us to focus on complimenting our personal style of play. At times we wondered whether this would've worked better as a straightforward hack-and-slash affair — doing away with the platforming altogether — or if things just needed another dose of balancing. What we do feel is that this is a blade that's not as sharp as it could've been.


AeternoBlade isn't a bad game, it's just bland and occasionally frustrating. The combat and RPG elements are undoubtedly a highlight, giving you something to look forward to on the other side of any uninteresting moments, but they aren't quite redeeming enough to make this an easy recommendation. We have no doubt that there's an audience of die-hard Metroidvania fans that wouldn't mind spending a weekend dicing up demons and monsters with Freyja, though we feel the shortcomings and missteps present keep this one from the greater things it eludes to. Wait for a sale or price cut if you're on the fence about making the purchase.

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User Comments (57)



Blast said:

Wow... I really liked the demo... Its sad it got a low score but I still want the game. I'm just waiting for that inevitable price cut!



sinalefa said:

I got the demo for this, Nano Assault and Bravely Default and I haven't tried any of them. Need to get on that.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

Still getting it at full-price, just to support Corecell.
It's kinda sad that the game doesn't seem to live up to some expectations, but as long as the combat is decent, I can still have fun.



unrandomsam said:

I don't like RPG elements in these sorts of games because I never know whether I have progressed because of grinding or because of getting better.



SirQuincealot said:

its seems like this guys second game might be something to take seriously, but for now i'll pass



noctowl said:

i thought the demo was decent. one of those games you can play with your brain turned off. 15 seems pricey though, so i'll wait for a sale.



XCWarrior said:

@Blast I liked the demo a lot too. But I guess we are in the minority. Price drop wait I guess it is. I liked the combat, thought it was fun... that matters to me more than the story.



Obito_Sigma said:

Not all developers could be resourceful or creative. It is very rare, especially when almost everything has been done already in this stage of technology.



CanisWolfred said:

A Metroidvania that's not very good??? That's the first I've seen that...no, seriously. Usually people don't even attempt this unless they think they can provide a game that can stand up with the big boys in the genre. The genre's too niche and has too many games proving how to do it all right to really expect people to flock to a sub-par game.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@unrandomsam It really depends on the Metroidvania game. Order of Occlesia is one of the ones where level grinding really doesn't help much except against normal enemies. Especially with the boss battles, if you don't know what you're doing, you're as good as dead no matter how much you grinded. Circle of the Moon is also a good one as the regular enemies are pretty strong and healing doesn't come by very often (unless you're exploiting a bug). Leveling doesn't really heal you in either game.



ricklongo said:

Wait for a price cut I shall, especially because I just have way too much on my gaming plate right now.



LucinaSmash said:

It's coincidence that a Metroidvania game release on the same week as DKC Tropical Freeze



soma said:

The demo crashed my 3DS twice! I kinda like the game though. But $15 seems too much.



Ralizah said:

Didn't even bother with the demo. Looked boring. Glad my instincts on this one were right.



accc said:

Like everyone else has already said, the game seems way too expensive for what it offers. 15 bucks is premium pricing for a download-only game, and I'll only spend that amount on a downloadable game if it's something that's sure to blow me away. While I enjoyed the Aeternoblade demo, the game doesn't appear to have the polish necessary to justify its premium cost. I think the developers are really hurting themselves by not pricing it lower.



deffinjr said:

When price cut comes (and it will), I will think about getting this. The video was fantastic!



Prof_Clayton said:

I didn't even finish the demo it was so boring. And the graphics are too soft, as well as some strange lighting, it all just rubbed me the wrong way.



DracioKoi said:

Yeah, I've played the demo. Not only was the story not even interesting, the combat is sluggish and boring.



unrandomsam said:

@Ernest_The_Crab Are the bosses on Order of Occlesia easier or harder than on say Rondo of Blood. I suppose ideally I would want slightly harder. I have only played one of the DS ones and it is the one where you can switch between two characters.



RR529 said:

Demo seemed fun enough to me, but yeah, not at $15.

A 5 seems about right (which if some of you knew NL's rating policy, is actually "average" instead of "bad").



Tasuki said:

Yeah I just picked up Strider on the PS4 for my metroidvania fix for now, there is no way I would pay the same amount for this game that I payed for Strider. I will wait till this goes on sale or I get some Eshop cards for a present.



CazTheGamerGuy said:

@retro_player_22 Basing the entire game's offerings off a demo which contains only a fraction of its content is not a good judgement of its quality. I've played through the entire game and can safely say that for $15, you're better off buying all the Guild01 games on sale or the Mighty! series. This title is electronic trash at its finest... or.. worst.



AJWolfTill said:

I found the demo an absolute chore to play through. Besides the Rayman Rabbids demo it's the only one I've immediately gone out of my way to delete after playing it. Everything was mediocre.



Nictendo64 said:

I thought it was OK. It was definitely bland. I might pick this up because it's only $15 and I'm starving for a Castlevania game.



Vincent294 said:

Shame. Demo was decent, but glitchy. And while graphics aren't everything, they seemed to indicate they weren't too interested in getting much out of the 3DS. The gameplay concepts were good, and the protagonist had good lines, but the game predictably was a bit botched. Maybe these guys can get things right next time.



LoveSugoi said:

I liked the demo and as long as the combat is decent then I can have some fun with this game but not for $15. I'll be waiting for a sale then.



hopesfall said:

The demo only show a small portion of the game, their is so much more to the game than what the demo showed you,



Dragonquester said:

The demo wasn't available here in Australia so I never got to try it out. From what I've seen I quite like the look of this game. Is it really that average?



theblackdragon said:

@GamerFromJump: haha, Seven Days — i haven't thought about that show in a long time! :3

as for the game at hand... what a shame. guess it's more Bravely Default for me, and then that Weapon Shop game :3



Platinumhobo said:

I would really have put this at a 6. The backgrounds are quite bland, but the game is good. Maybe I'm just a Metroidvania fanatic but I'm happy I got this instead of caving and buying crappy Mirror of Fate.



WeskJago said:

It's only an eshop release? Ah dammit. I was looking forward to buying this especially to support the game, but I don't support full-length games on eshop (because i'd rather have a hard copy that doesn't take up sd card space and can never get lost or screw up as a cartridge). I guess I'll just get the 3DS castlvania instead.



SonicTheBluBlur said:

@DarrelltheJ You seriously regret buying Mirror of Fate? That game's amazing. I wish I could still play it, but my mother took the 3DS XL I have there and I'm having to re-download the same games because my mother thinks I stole her credit card to buy games when I actually have no idea what happened with that. I should be used to things like that since she never appreciated how hard I worked in high school to get the full MIT scholarship that she wouldn't let me use because she thinks I hacked my grades and cheated on my tests. Half the time I think she is Satan's answer to Jesus.



WinterWarm said:

Still buying, because who gives a crap about loading times? It's the GAME you're playing.

This review is full of donkeycrap. Sorry.



KnightRider666 said:

Looks like this game is getting a 50% price cut in EU this week. I hope NA gets that as well. I've been waiting for this to go on sale.



ashlyquin said:

I bought this game over the X-mas holiday sale and for a 50% off game, I am not disappointed in the least. With all the choices for combat games, this one could fall thru the cracks and become "hidden" in the sea of similar games but when it gets "discovered" by someone looking, the game will deliver. I'm liking it.



DrDaisy said:

I saw it on sale at the Nintendo eShop for half-price just before I came here. I played the demo on Vita at a department store and thought it was okay, but I don't have a Vita and have been considering a 3DS for a while now.
What are the controls for the 3DS version? I prefer using the bottom button for jumping and the left button for attacking so I hope B is jump and Y is attack, but I know a lot of DS games use the AB method even though the BY method worked so well on Super Nintendo.

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