The Island of Hula Girls and Wild Living
Cain Morgan, a member of the Royal Security Force, has been ordered by the King to investigate the Island of No Return. This island, long mired in mystery and secrecy, could very well hold a mysterious ring of great and eternal power. Perhaps the island also holds the key to Cain's own shrouded past.
"The Island of No Return." Maybe if the populace wanted more people to come back from the island, they'd name it something a mite more optimistic. How about, "The Island Where People Come Back Safe and Sound?" It's like the name "Tiny Tim" from Dickens' Christmas Carol. Did they want him to develop a complex or something?
Just goes to show you how important a name is. For example, I can think of many names for the game Eternal Ring, but most of them can't be published. So let's just call it...half-assed.
Eternal Ring is brought to us by the same people who made the excellent King's Field. Like its predecessor, Eternal Ring is a 3D first-person RPG. There are many similarities, but few improvements. Eternal Ring simply doesn't strike me as anything more than a high-resolution King's Field.
Movement and control is ploddingly slow. The environments are static and non-interactive. The story begins generically weak and doesn't go anywhere.
And that's the good stuff.
The main attack is with your sword. During the game you can pick up stronger and stronger swords. Now, in your mind, picture a sword. How would you fight with one? Lunges, sweeps, overhead chops, right? Nope. In Eternal Ring, you get to poke at people. The sword just moves forward and then moves back. Poke. Poke.
As a first-person game, you spend a lot of time strafing around poking things. While I'm not expecting the speed of Unreal Tournament, Cain's movements are just too slow. This, combined with the paltry range of attacks, just leaves the action repetitive and unfulfilling.
Cain has the power to equip magical rings. Some of the rings are used for attack and protection, while others enhance his different statistical attributes. At certain areas in the game, Cain can even build his own rings by combining empty bands with gems. It's much more interesting than poking....sadly.
Another game feature is the real-time progress of night and day. A nice touch, but what do we usually do during the night? Sleep! And what do we sleep on? Beds! Well in this game, you can't use a bed or sleep. You must be hopped up on some industrial strength No-Doze or something.
The inability to sleep through the night presents some gameplay problems. Some actions can only be done during the day - visiting people, picking up supplies, etc. If you're stuck at night, then you have to wait. Can you say bad game design?
The progress of real time throughout a day is not enough if you aren't going to duplicate other facets of life. There's a book on the shelf. Can I read it? Nope. Do the people converse outside the confines of basic scripting? Nope.
And these conversations" hoo boy. The voice acting is lousy. The voice actors' intonations are usually wrong. Strange pauses between words, emphasizing the wrong word ina sentence - it's just a mess.
The music is fairly decent; at times, even good. But there's a tendency to reuse the same main theme often, and as a whole, the music does tend to loop.
The graphics are high resolution and sharp, but nothing particularly impressive. The building design and bland environments still hearken back to ol' Playstation days. Everything is static and uninspired. The different areas are graphically repetitive. Each room looks just like the room before it, using the same familiar mappings.
Eternal Ring should be called Please Make it Stop Ring. There are so many parts to improve - better action, deeper story, interactive environments, decent voice acting - that you might as well hope for a whole new game. Let's just send Eternal Ring to the Island of No Return and move on, kay?