Though the series itself has evolved beyond its turn-based origins, the Final Fantasy franchise continues to influence developers and gather fans. Playing like a long-lost game in the FF series, Edge of Eternity comes from a French developer Midgar that has captured the essence of what made those early JRPGs entertaining: great music, a heroic story, and engaging, turn-based combat.
With a “hero and his party save the world” tale straight out of JRPG storytelling 101, Edge of Eternity places the player in control of young Daryon, who together with his sister begins a quest to find a cure for The Corrosion, a mysterious alien disease that has ravaged his country and stricken his mother. Of course this is just a premise for a much longer, epic story that takes Daryon and his growing party of companions across all manner of landscapes and into dark and foreboding dungeons filled with monsters and mayhem. The developer promises a continuing saga with new content being released on a regular basis once the game is launched.
For a small studio of less than a dozen people, production values are much higher than expected, though of course they don’t quite match those of the houses with mega-million dollar budgets. In particular, some of the facial animations are little odd and the English voice acting and writing varies widely in quality. One area in which Edge of Eternity deserves major kudos is the music, which was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, most famous for the splendid Chrono Trigger score. Mitsuda’s underscore adds an authentic JRPG vibe throughout.
When it comes to game systems and combat, Edge of Eternity doesn’t stray very far from its JRPG models. Anyone who has played an early Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest game probably can predict how turn-based combat, crafting, and upgrades will function. Though there are some small changes, sticking to a template is sort of welcome in an age where developers are always trying to reinvent systems. It allows experienced players to jump right in and focus on the characters and story. The turn-based combat is passable, if unspectacular and just a little slow.
Like early Final Fantasy games that balanced dire, apocalyptic stories with lighthearted banter and a sense of joy and fun, Edge of Eternity is also laced with humor and an overall feeling of optimism. There are some glitches, bugs and crashes to fix before release, but unlike most JRPGs, the connection to the Steam workshop means that fans will be able to add their own creativity to the mix.
With colorful visuals and excellent music, Edge of Eternity successfully channels the spirit and mechanics of classic JRPGs, and interestingly goes for a niche that few indie developers have explored. Fans of Final Fantasy should check this one out, as well as anyone looking for an easy to pick up and engaging turn-based fantasy game.