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- Time and Eternity
At least NIS America isn't making us wait that long.
When I first saw Time and Eternity in action, I admit that I first thought, "These devs played Dragon's Lair and finally figured out how to bring good animation to a full environment." The idea of using traditional styles of animation in games has been around for years now, but up until now those games have only ended up cel-shaded experiences… until now.
Not much information was given for the story, but here's what we know so far. The marriage of a knight and his would-be princess is interrupted by some kind of assassin squad, where the knight is mortally wounded. His princess, Toki, soon thereafter finds herself with two distinct personalities: her normal red-headed self and a blonde alter-ego, Towa. Each of them has a unique set of skills at her disposal, with Toki preferring a long-range battle strategy with a rifle and Towa becoming the classic hand-to-hand berzerker-type. Together—'cuz hey, they're sharing a body already—they set out to do… something. Maybe save the hubby. I dunno, it wasn't clear.
TaE is a fully-animated RPG, and when I say "fully animated" I genuinely mean that every cel of character animation is done by hand. The landscapes are in 3D, but everyone from Toki/Towa to the baddies littered throughout are everything expected from a medieval-looking animé. It's a unique choice of presentation I admit, with characters looking like cutouts taped to the screen instead of involved in the game itself. It's a striking visual style, unlike anything I've seen (since Don Bluth's masterpieces in the 1980s).
Battles are almost traditional JRPG fare. Gone are the standard menu systems, since these are active battles instead of passive fare. The left stick can charge an enemy, jump back to avoid close-range attacks, or jump to either side to avoid incoming fire. SP/Magic Points are charged up throughout a battle so special attacks can be unleashed, which gives every fight a mix of strategic RPG and traditional fighting game vibe. It's a mix with one additional twist: Every time your princess levels up, she turns into the other personality. Without one item called the "Pepper" (bringing to mind Launch, the alternating sweetheart/gun-toting lunatic from the Dragonball universe), a character can't swap between Toki and Towa, but beyond the name we don't know how that works yet.
The last bit of info we do know is when to expect Time and Eternity to see store shelves, and that's this summer in both a physical and digital release. Then we just might find out if a fiery redhead's gun is best, or if blondes do indeed have more fun (with knives, of course).