15th Oct2019

‘AeternoBlade 2′ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

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A 2.5D hack and slash game with some really nice ideas, AeternoBlade 2 starts off relatively strong, if scrappy and flawed. Fast-forward a few hours, however and the bugs, odd design choices and glitches become harder to ignore, eventually reaching a point rendering the game unplayable.

Carrying on seemingly straight after the first game in the series (which I haven’t played) AeternoBlade 2 throws you straight into the action. You flick between multiple characters who have been mysteriously transported to a strange world and separated, the journey of each occasionally crossing over but always at different points in time.

The story had me baffled from the start, from the terms casually thrown around, it’s clear that the developers expect you to be aware of the events of the first game so it wouldn’t be fair to cut it down here but I will say that it could be an idea for newcomers to read up on the initial game to get a more full idea of what is happening in this sequel as very little background is given on prior events.

The main game play is very reminiscent of another lower-budget oddity called Evil Genome, which I played last year. it has the same traits seen here in that the visuals are very ‘PS2-esque’ (with the hair seemingly sculpted from frozen butter and then covered in gold spray-paint) and pretty weak voice-acting that adds nothing to the gameplay aside from the occasional chuckle at how bad it is, which is fine as these small oddities and quirks can work to the games’ benefit, as can sticking to a tried and tested formula as most of this game does.

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You move through the mostly linear levels with the occasional branching path leading to some goodies or a chamber inaccessible to the current hero but which will clearly be trodden through by one of the other protagonists later in the game. There are also some nice touches such as how the game occasionally turns a full 3D-arena during some boss fights and how the time-linked character-specific special powers are put to interesting use such as teleporting past obstacles and dual-versions of your character attacking enemies etc. all of this makes the combat more fun whilst the simple puzzles add flavour. I also enjoyed the sense of scope, the backgrounds give the sense of a full world and I got the sense that I was really making some serious leeway in my travels as I moved through the game with the different characters (which you play at pre-set points in the narrative).

There are parts of the game that are troubling however, sometimes my character would glitch through scenery and in a few cases, seemingly randomly die during a screen transition or boss fight. There is also an element of trial and error with some quick-time events that really feel thrown-in and more often than not result in instant death (although you always start from pretty nearby so progress isn’t really lost…it’s just irritating). There are other moments of strangeness in the upgrade and item system which is both dense and initially confusing but still fun as you can upgrade so many attacks, equip orbs etc. and the combat is repetitive but oddly gratifying.

Unfortunately all of this came to a halt for me around 3-4 hours into the game when, after a certain cut-scene my character simply refused to move. I tried a several times, assuming it was a one-time glitch but the scene ends and my character is completely unresponsive to the controller making this really tough to recommend in its current state.

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I thoroughly enjoy 2.5D platform games and love an underdog. I stayed with AeternoBlade 2 through its many flaws and bugs, the sad truth however is that, being unplayable in its current state is unacceptable and I would recommend anyone interested in the title wait for this game-breaking issue to be fixed and hopefully some of the other issues mentioned here.

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