Aeternoblade2 has a lot going on, and a lot going for it and against it. I think this game will be divisive, as the flaws can be a dealbreaker for some while others probably couldn’t care less about them. It’s a good game that’s experimental and rough around the edges, but that’s actually rather charming in itself to me. Playing this game gave me a vision of an alternate timeline, very similar to our own, in which Aeternoblade2 is an early PS2 sequel to a Cult Classic PS1 version of Aeternoblade.
Why does it remind me of that era? Partly it’s the voice acting. The voices in this game sound either hilarious or horrendous in some places. Depending of course on your tastes. But they definitely harken back to the age before pro videogame voice actors were a thing when anybody off the street could get dragged it to voice some lines. Partly it’s the combat, which is very combo dependent and rather tricky. You’ll launch an enemy into the air, leap to pursue, and float there as you repeatedly swing your weapon into the helplessly floating foe. If I had to peg an inspiration, I’d think the Aeternoblade2 combat could best be considered the conceptual offspring of Dynasty Warriors and Castlevania.
And it really works if you happen to like that odd pairing, and don’t mind some pretty high difficulty from the bosses.
By the way, the boss fights are definitely where this game gets good. Very memorable and well designed. I even enjoy the ones fought in 3D spaces…But most bosses will utterly destroy you at times and leave you feeling like a shattered and empty husk of yourself. My current “Favorite” is a pallet swap of the first boss actually. Best described as a demon-possessed Whispy Woods. Bring healing items!
Partly it’s the newly introduced 3D segments, which have the traditional wonky camera of early 2000’s third-person games. It feels like a perhaps overzealous experiment like the developer is playing around with a much stronger platform than they’ve ever used before and are showing off what it can do. Again kind of like an early PS2 game, where many series made the transition from 2D to 3D with those newfangled Dual Analog controllers.
What I find interesting is that the major outlier in my Alt Reality PS2 theory, the Temporal mechanics of Aeternoblade2, really feel like they could only be possible in the present, with current technology and our current level of understanding of possibilities within a videogame. The only things in this game that feel truly Current are the Time Travel mechanics. This would have seemed like magical future technology had this game been released as an otherwise pretty good but rather standard action-adventure early PS2 title.
Aeternoblade2 builds itself around puzzles involving Time manipulating mechanics, as well as a LOT of combat where weaponizing them genuinely is a lot of fun. You’ll be able to trap enemies into moving backward in time, forcing them to reenact the past few moments in Reverse. You’ll get to use the rather simple trick of placing a portal and poofing back to it from any distance by pushing a button. My favorite trick is used by a character named Felix, he can record a version of events for a few moments, then have that alternate timeline play out alongside the current one.
Confused? It’s easier than it sounds. And that is what makes Aeternoblade2 shine, its incorporation of such elaborate tools into an Action Game. It manages to make these tricks simple enough to actively use in battle while making them elaborate enough to feel like you’re really doing something special whenever you use them. The Blink ability, mapped by default to the right shoulder, is effectively a Dodge button and a very effective one at that. You will need to master that trick to get anywhere in combat against the bosses.
Many folks seem to prefer the puzzles to the combat, and I disagree. To me, it’s in a battle that these tricks show their real worth, be it turning back the clock to undo damage & mistakes, or sending your alternate self out to fight the big scary boss Centaur thing while you hide in safety.
Aeternoblade2 is very rough, at times very tough, and generally pretty good stuff.
It feels like a lot of things were experimented with here, and outside of the Time Travel, it’s all very reminiscent of games we’ve played before. Which isn’t a bad thing when you’ve got a really fun hook to work with, which this thankfully does.
Just look into it first, if you can forgive its lack of polish, the very rough edges, and kinda incomprehensible plot then you’re probably going to enjoy this. And of course you’ll enjoy this if you enjoyed the first game, plus you probably will have a much better grasp of the plot than I do.
Thank you for reading feel free to comment below. Follow me on Twitter and we can talk about gaming. You can also read about #Project181 here and donate to help raise money for Gamers Outreach. Join us in helping kids in hospitals getting to game.
Robert Kelly Ball
[Editors Note: Wade Lawson is a content contributor for 181GAMING. If you would like to have your content published on 181GAMING, click here. We are always looking for content creators and community moderators.]