07th May2018

Digital Shorts: ‘AeternoBlade’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at AeternoBlade, a new hack & slash game now available on the Nintendo Switch.

AeternoBlade-screen

Visually AeternoBlade looks like video games haven’t progressed since the days of the Playstation 2 – and its not surprisingly given that this is a port of the Nintendo 3DS version of the game which featured the very same, dated, visuals. Though is is really dated? Or was developer Corecell aiming for that retro-RPG aesthetic? Either way this game is one hell of a hack and slash adventure!

It’s not surprising that – in this era of retro-themed, pixel-art, 8-bit wannabe, gaming – a game that harkens back to the PS2 era wouldn’t really find an audience. After all, when this game debuted on the 3DS gamers weren’t that far removed from that era, especially considering the Nintendo Wii was, at its core, PS2 era gaming in a different skin. It would seem gamers want “80s retro” right now, not the 90s/early 2000s. Which is a shame, as skipping this title means skipping a fantastic hack & slash game that brings the best of the genre to current-gen console gaming.

Oh and AeternoBlade, despite what others may tell you, is NOT, a Metroidvania title. It’s more akin to Chaos Legion and Nanobreaker than Metroid or Castlevania… OK, I get that this is technically a side scrolling game but the core game mechanic is hack & slash, not platforming a la “Metroidvania” games. As someone who is not the biggest fan of the current Metroidvania trend I can certainly say I enjoyed this much more than the likes of Axiom Verge (though there’s nothing wrong with the game in the slightest – I just didn’t enjoy it as much).

The plot is pretty basic: the game revolves around Freyja, a warrior whose village was destroyed by the evil Beladim. Freyja, after being slain by Beladim in the opening of the game, is transported back in time seven days by the AeternoBlade to train and prepare to face Beladim again… And that idea of time-travel is put to VERY good use in the game itself, with a time-turning ability making a pretty cool addition to the more linear hack & slash gameplay.

Unfortunately the hack and slash gameplay is slowed down by a number of cutscenes and expostition sequences, all seemingly recreated in glorious “early PS2/late PS1″ 3D graphics, that detract from the action. But it’s a small price to pay for what is, essentially, a throwback to the PS2 era and games like Deadly Strike (an undiscovered gem from the “Simple 2000″ series if ever there was one). If you were a fan back then then you’re going to love AeternoBlade… I did.

AeternoBlade is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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