“Review”: Eternal Darkness

I’ve noticed, as I’ve written, that some of my reviews have been a bit unfocused and fell into what my history teacher used to call the “fact trap”. I’ll try to solve this by focusing on about three things, probably features of some sort, and quickly get to my opinion and arguements why I think that.

So, Eternal Darkness. Google it up for some general info, this review will focus on three things: The sanity system, the magic system and how you heal.

The sanity system, to start with, is a clever idea. As monsters see you, your sanity decreases. As you finishes monsters off, it goes back up. When your sanity is low, you start to get hallucinations of different sorts. If the meter is empty, you get damaged if monsters see you. This is a cool idea – the hallucinations can make you doubt if what you see before you is actually happening or not, making you suspicious to every action while playing. But it has a lot of oddities: Firstly, it decreases if the monsters see you, not the opposite (if I see monsters). Secondly, it takes on the health-bar if there’s no sanity meter (how can I get damaged by being seen by monsters?). Thirdly, it regains by killing monsters in a fatility-move fashion. This hardly sounds any sanity-giving to me, but I guess it’s because the devs want you to kill the monsters and not just run away. So the sanity gives a cool effect, but the way you gain and lose it is a bit wiered.

The magical system is the next thing I want to mention: While you play, you collect runes which you combine to create spells. Each spell needs a power-item (of 3, 5 and 7 points), an alignment (to one of the three major “gods” of the game) and runes to fill the power-items’ slots up. Now, this could be awesome, and I got really “oh, this is so cool” – until the downsides started falling down. You might think you can combine the runes however you want and be really creative with making spells up, which you can’t. You might think that the 5 and 7 pointers allow you to mix runes and make up even cooler spells, which you can’t – you just fill the other slots up with “paragon (power)” runes. And as you start to think the three alignments, which works like rock-paper-scissors, are a really cool way to get efficient spells, a fourth alignments turns up which beats them all. So this could be made really cool, which it now is not.

The third thing was healing. This kind of ties in with the magic system (one of the things that is cool about it). You can heal in two ways – one is using the “recover”-spell, the other is by being teleported by a monster into some place where you can heal. Now, the cool thing is that: One, your recover spell can, depending on alignment, heal health, sanity or mana (the last giving as much mana as it takes, though). And Two, at the place where you heal, you can only heal one of said three metes before you leave – and it tends to fill with monsters the more times you visit it. So this might be the thing I like the most in this game. ^^

Before I end this “review”, I must give this game some thumbs-up for the story: Not the intriuge itself (which I didn’t bother to play through), but how different cultures and civilizations are portraited and returned to. For instance: In one of the earlier missions, you play some French guy in the 8th century or so in a french church. In a later mission, you play as a monk in the 15th century in a cathedral – which turns out to be an expansion of the church we just visited. And towards the later missions of the game, you return to the same cathedral, but now It’s used as a war-hospitol during the first world war! Or, another example, one of the first missions takes you to Ankhor during the 11th century in a temple. About 7 or so missions later, you return to the tempel, but now it’s 1984 and the temple are barly ruins.

Sentance: A wanna-be-scary game which uses human history in a good way, but have a few features that could have been so much more.

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