Eternal Eyes - Review  

Quite Possibly the Worst Game Ever Made
by Nick "kweee" Ferris

20-25 hours


Rating definitions 

It took two years for SunSoft's Japanese RPG Koukroseatro to make it state-side via publisher Crave, a fact many gamers assumed was attributed to the time being spent giving the game a top-notch localization. Called Eternal Eyes in its North American incarnation, the game promised an enjoyable tactical RPG experience with monster-capturing gameplay reminiscent of Pokémon or Jade Cocoon. With a price tag of just $9.99, it attracted many budget-minded gamers while deterring others who heeded the age-old adage of "you get what you paid for."

RPGamer would like to take this time to remind everyone of a not-so-old adage: "You get what you paid for, especially if you pay ten bucks for a newly-released role-playing game when every other RPG ever worth playing cost at least thirty when it first came out."

Eternal Eyes starts off promisingly--it fits in the PlayStation CD tray, it spins when the console is activated, and it produces images on the screen after the PlayStation logo appears. Without fear of hyperbole, it can be said that these are the best features of the entire game. Sure, the flashy opening animation may seem alluring and indicative of good times ahead, but remember that this is supposed to be an RPG, not a two-minute anime-style opening followed by a bonus game. The real "game" starts with a plot line that comes screaming from the big list of RPG plot clichés: some bad guy with nothing better to do is reviving an even badder guy to destroy the world. The protagonist, a young boy named Luke who can control magical puppets, is obviously the only person puppet-magically oriented enough to stop this evil plot. The player takes control of Luke as he is accompanied on his adventure by three other characters whose only role in the game seems to be giving Luke someone to talk to other than himself and the magical puppets. Don't expect to grow any attachment to any of the characters either since none of them are really likeable. In fact, some players may even root for the destruction of this sorry game world. Without giving away the ending, which anyone can guess anyway by igniting two brain cells, the remainder of the plot plays out as generically as it possibly can and only serves to glue together the battle system.

Read this review. Hopefully it will convince you to avoid this game. Read this review. Hopefully it will convince you to avoid this game.

These magical puppets, referred to as "Mappemon," make up the heart and soul of the battle system. Unfortunately, as lifeless and boring as the Mappemon are, the battle system lacks anything resembling heart or soul. Battles consist of painfully straightforward and tedious tactical fights across massive fields whose immense sizes only serve to make the already lengthy battles last even longer. Each destination in the player's journey features a long string of these battles that ultimately culminate in more battles. Of course, tactical RPGs rely very heavily on their battle systems for gameplay, but there is virtually nothing else to do in Eternal Eyes except battle. This wouldn't be so bad if the battles posed any sort of challenge or required at least a shred of strategy. Instead, practically every battle in the game consists of Luke and his Mappemon meeting the enemies around mid-field, a few rounds of fighting, and an easy victory. All efforts to break this sad gameplay cycle fail as Eternal Eyes possesses only a small library of worthless magic spells, an elementary Mappemon evolution structure, and the most basic of RPG equipment systems.

The graphics for Eternal Eyes, a late-generation PlayStation game, don't even hold a candle to those of Final Fantasy Tactics released three years prior. All designs are simple and tremendously pixelated. Character movement is choppy at best given that no character has more than three or four frames of animation. The animators of the opening movie and the cutscene stills are probably ashamed to see their decent work holding together an otherwise ugly game.

There's still time to get away! Quick, run! There's still time to get away! Quick, run!

Eternal Eyes is nicely complemented by a remote control's mute button and a CD player. Just pop in any good RPG soundtrack while trudging through the game. Should anyone fail to heed this advice, the most monotonous soundtrack of any PlayStation RPG awaits. One can only assume that this is the kind of music they use to treat people who have trouble sleeping. To add insult to injury, the quality of the music sounds like it was recorded off the radio. Sound effects will take the player back to 8-bit days when every attack sounded alike and that sound was "pfft." To augment the game's sound effects, keep a supply of pots, pans, and kitchen utensils close by and bang on them in varying combinations to produce sounds much more analogous to sword strikes and weird living puppet bites.

Remember that "refined" localization that took two years to complete? Apparently the translators ditched their elementary school English classes to play games better than this one because the text in Eternal Eyes is rife with spelling and grammar errors that any 10-year-old could catch; when the script makes syntactic sense, it is simple enough for a 6-year-old to read. The equipment and battle menus are just as simple and easy to use, but with so few options to choose from, there really was no way to ruin them. Controlling characters on the isometric tactical battlefields can be tricky at first due to confusing movement directions, but that's about all that acts as a challenge in this game.

Players will get to enjoy all the fun and excitement that Eternal Eyes has to offer for roughly 20 hours, though most players will shelve this title after four or five. The ending to the sorry excuse for a story is as predictable as the beginning and middle. While an appropriate award for any player completing this game would be his or her weight in gold, all Eternal Eyes offers is another playthrough at Luke's finishing level and one extra playable, though terribly buggy character.

Do not buy Eternal Eyes. Do not rent Eternal Eyes. Do not borrow it from a friend, and question any friendships with a person who attempts to recommend this game in the first place. Eternal Eyes is not worth ten cents, let alone its original ten-dollar price tag. There is no fun to be had playing Eternal Eyes, no story worth hearing, no battles worth playing. It is for horrid, horrid games like this that humanity invented the number 1.0.

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