2013 has been a great year for JRPGs. With games like Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch behind us, and localizations like Tales of Xillia ahead, this is a wonderful time to be a JRPG fan. However, amongst such amazing JRPG experiences, Time and Eternity falls a little short and is easily overlooked – for good reason too.
The game starts off with a wedding between the lead character, Toki and her fiancee, Zack. During the event, Ninjas attacks and Zack is killed, bringing out Toki’s alter-ego, Towa. Towa is basically a mean, ill-mannered version of Toki. Soon after that, Toki and Towa are traveling through time along with Zack who’s now stuck in Toki’s pet Dragon Drake’s body, exploring new areas and fighting monsters – just your typical JRPG, or so you’d think.
The main problem with Time and Eternity is that it tries way too hard; it wants to be an action RPG, dating SIM and a romantic comedy but fails at all three. The story is mediocre at best with horrible pacing and continuity. The dialogue on the other hand is plain horrible, with the game trying to fit in as many lame sex jokes as possible. One would expect a fairly decent story from a JRPG at least, but Time and Eternity does not deliver. There’s also the horrible lip syncing where the characters would stop moving their lips between dialogues which is just lazy on the developers part. In various ways, the game feels unfinished. Even an update can’t fix half the things that are wrong with this game.
The backgrounds and character models in Time and Eternity are beautiful and look like they were taken straight out of an Anime, similar to Ni No Kuni but this is hampered due to the fact that there’s not a lot of exploration to be done in the game. You can’t freely navigate towns and dungeons have a generic design making exploration very unenjoyable, and did I mention that every single NPC and treasure chest is labelled on the map so you can’t have the satisfaction of finding things yourself? But that isn’t the only unsatisfactory thing here. You can’t even grind in the game because there are no random encounters which is troublesome since the difficulty spikes up towards the later half of the game, making it more annoying than it originally is. The quest system is no good either with most quests rewards being very easy to come by anyway and they mostly consist of fetch quests which are annoying. Just rinse and repeat. Unless you like doing chores in video games, avoid this.
The battle system is one of the worst I’ve ever used in a JRPG period. Both Toki and Towa have a Rifle and Knife which they can alternate depending on the range they’re fighting their enemies in. You also don’t get free roam in battles either, you can either move closer or farther from the enemies and dodge towards the right or left. There’s little to no strategy involved and has you mostly spamming the Circle button to attack your enemies. The attacks also have very similar animations and get boring to watch after a few hours. At times it feels like I have no control over the battle and the game feels like a complete drag.
And then there’s the Affection System which allows you to see who Zack prefers more, Toki or Towa based on their dialogue trees and performance in battle. Without spoiling a lot, the mechanic becomes completely useless by the end of the game.
Time and Eternity has a pretty decent soundtrack that suits the game but most of the tracks are way too short and quickly get annoying especially the one when you’re talking with friends in Toki’s house. The battle soundtrack though was pretty good and was one of the reasons I was able to continue playing the game. But it’s hard to keep going just because you like a battle theme while everything else in the game is an insult to video games.
Developers Imagepooch perhaps tried a projects too ambitious for them and failed badly. I would recommend staying away from this game and playing something else. Personally, I completely regret buying and playing this game when there are other better games available. This isn’t one of the worst games I’ve played, but it sure is a stain among other JRPGs.
With a load of disappointing elements around every corner, Time and Eternity isn’t worth your time, and definitely not worth spending an eternity on.