Back in 2015, developer Corecell Technology released the first AeternoBlade on the PlayStation 4 and other platforms. The game had some good ideas but just ultimately wasn’t very good. Now four years later they are ready to try their hand at this IP again as AeternoBlade II is now out. Have they improved enough to warrant this entry being worthy of your time? Well only if you can look past quite a few issues.
AeternoBlade II is a 2D action, puzzle platformer but it also at times shifts its perspective to become a 3D game. It also fits into that Metroidvania genre as you’ll be going through various areas that have closed off parts you can’t reach until you return with a new ability. Before we get into the gameplay though let’s talk a bit about the story. This is where one of the first problems in this game is that you may run into. The game pretty much picks up right where the first game left off which means if you never played it you’re going to be lost as they don’t explain any of what happened. The game once again follows female main character Freyja but also has you playing as two other characters named Bernard and Felix. Each of them has their own fighting style and abilities so you’ll have to learn about each of them so that you can adapt when switching between them.
On the gameplay front the hack n’ slash fighting system in this game does feel fine but got repetitive over time. Enemies take a lot of damage to bring down and sometimes I would be hitting them and they wouldn’t really react which let them attack me at the same time. It gets a lot worse when the game decides to shift from a 2D perspective to a 3D one. A lot of this is due to the poor camera which can make things difficult to see and the lock-on system that just didn’t seem to work right. Along with your standard weapons you can also attack using special time warp abilities. These let you do things like freeze time and record and playback time. These can be used to help make your fights against both standard enemies and bosses easier. Some enemies will even require you to use them in order to defeat them. You can’t just spam them though as each activation takes some of your mana from the bar on screen. Your bar will fill back up on its own over time but orbs can also be picked up to help it recharge faster. Those bosses I just mentioned come at you frequently too and each one presents a challenge so you’ll have to be on your game to beat them.
In addition to just combat the game mixes in platforming and puzzles as well. I liked that it did this as the combat system is just not the best and thus can’t carry this game alone. Some puzzles in the game are on the main path while others are optional. These can be worth doing though as you are rewarded with things that will make you stronger for completing them. The time abilities are also used in these other sections so that you can press buttons at the same time to open a way forward or to freeze platforms for you to traverse across.
The graphics in the game are OK at best but still underwhelming even for a budget priced title. Character models look off, their animations are bad, and environment textures are just ugly. On the audio side, AeternoBlade II features full voice acting but it’s so bad that you’ll likely wish it didn’t. It doesn’t help that the lines the actors had to read were poorly written as well. For those interested in the trophies the game has 35 in total including a Platinum. You’ll get a lot of them for finishing all the quests in the game, seeing the different endings, clearing all the trials, and for performing various feats in combat. It’s a very achievable Platinum provided you enjoy the game long enough to stick with it and earn it.
Sadly if you didn’t really enjoy the first AeternoBlade I’m not sure you’ll like this one much more. The story will be confusing to anyone who didn’t play the original and even to someone like me who did it still wasn’t very interesting. The bad writing and voice over work just further drags the story down. The combat works better when it’s happening in 2D but gets worse when in 3D which is something that shouldn’t have been added. The time warp abilities are fun though and it does have some nice puzzles that require you to use them to solve. If you’re at all interested in this one there is a demo you can try but I’d recommend waiting on a deep sale before picking it up.
AeternoBlade II is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
- Lenghty game with nice mix of exploration, puzzle solving, and combat
- Time warp abilities can be fun to use in combat and in puzzle solving
- Challenging boss fights
- Story is uninteresting and newcomers will be lost
- Writing and voice over work is just flat out bad
- 3D perspective feels really bad
- Enemies don't react to being hit right and take too long to defeat