Eternal Eden


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Eternal Eden

DoraCasual gaming means different things to different people. For me it encompasses both the hours of my life that mysteriously vanish whenever I load up IVAN, and phenomenal Solitaire skills(z) I have developed while on hold with the cable company. By contrast, an RPG is something that implies a required commitment; certainly, at over sixteen hours of gameplay Eternal Eden from one-man band Blossomsoft is a pretty hefty date. But is it worth your time?

Eternal EdenNoah lives in a land where nobody ever grows old, nobody ever gets sick, and certainly nobody ever dies. They are provided for by the Tower of Eden, which grants them everything they could ever want. All of this is thanks to their "Father", a mysterious figure who created the people of Noah's land in his image, and then left on a boat one day long ago. When Downey, Noah's best friend, decides to violate Eden's only rule by picking the forbidden fruit from the top of the tower in an attempt to win the Princess's favour, the world is forever altered.

The occasional awkward speech from Noah aside, Eternal Eden features a pretty darn likeable cast of characters. While most of them are archetypes you've probably seen before in fantasy RPGs, all of them have their own personalities, and well-rounded ones at that. The inter-party banter is fun to listen to, and while some friends may come and go, the three who stay with you throughout the game do grow on you quite a bit. A favourite of mine was Jean, who won me over early on by being surprisingly charming whenever he could tear himself away from a mirror or from belittling Downey.

On the surface, Eternal Eden is mechanically like every RPG ever to have graced a console. You travel around battling monsters with a turn-based system to collect experience to level up so you can fight bigger monsters, all while keeping an eye on your HP and MP. Sound familiar? Don't worry. Surprisingly, the game injects a few new concepts that keep the gameplay from feeling dated. Not the least of which being a complete lack of random encounters. Mmmmmm, yeah.

Battles have a little strategy injected by giving your enemies weaknesses beyond the standard rock-paper-scissors. Rats, for example, can be "drowned" with a water spell, and if your opponent is scaled, piercing weapons are your best bet. While adventuring in the field, investigate nooks and crannies to discover hidden passages and items. There's also a surprisingly addictive minigame involving turtle hunting. Yes, I spent an hour trying to hunt down all the moon turtles I could find, and I'm not ashamed to admit it! ...much!

Some people aren't going to like the old-school look of the game, but for me it brings the nostalgia home even more, and features some surprisingly good designs given the engine. Areas are thoughtful and well planned, easy on the eyes without being swarmed by too much decoration. The character design is bright and cheerful, and while my old friend palette-swapping makes a reappearance — "cave spider" becomes "moist spider" by virtue of a blue plaint job — the enemies look pretty good, too. So it's a bit unfortunate that, by contrast, the music is "just okay".

Analysis: So, let's see. People living in eternal paradise thanks to Eden. Frequent references to a Father who made them in his image before he left. Forbidden fruit... mmmnnnnnope, doesn't ring a bell. It's actually very easy to cross a line from trying to impart a message into actually hectoring a player, and Eternal Eden is usually solidly in the former's court. The downside is that whatever that message is actually comes across a bit muddled — after a certain point, the game's story slips into a much more traditional RPG mold, complete with Mystical MacGuffin. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it means that the game ends up feeling much more like, say, Secret of Mana. Still extremely enjoyable, but candy instead of food-for-thought.

Eternal EdenThere are a few things that hold the game back from reaching it's full potential. One of them is that a large chunk of the game is exploring the many dungeons, and all of them are fairly large, some of them placed nearly back to back. By contrast, most villages and areas where you can interact with other characters are very small and spaced far apart, which is a shame, because I really looked forward to the in-party dialogues. A mini-map of some sort also would not have gone unappreciated, since most dungeons feature a fair amount of to-and-fro-ing as you solve puzzles to unlock new areas. Why hello, Gray Corridor, have we met before? I'm sure we're going to get to know each other very well. In some cases, it winds up feeling like padding rather than an actual integral part of gameplay.

Another mechanics quirk is that the game doesn't prompt you to confirm your choices. Any of them. While it makes rapidly clicking through your inventory to sell off your accumulated treasure a snap, it also means I accidentally sold a rare item once or twice with no way to get it back. Be careful when running multiple saves as well, since the game won't ask if you're overwriting one, either.

Eternal Eden also features a lot of puzzles, some of which are quite clever, but you rarely encounter more than any one variety in a dungeon. After the first two puzzles I completed involving rolling rocks to clear pathways, I was going to make some snarky comment about big rocks and homeowner protection. After the fourth and fifth, I simply wanted to set something on fire. I understand that using rocks to depress switches in dungeons is a time-honoured RPG tradition — Lufia being a prime example — but all I wanted to do was get on with the story and find out what happened next.

Ultimately, Eternal Eden is a game that feels like it was made by a fan — someone with a passion for the genre — and that's a wonderful thing. There are so many quirks and details put into the game that make exploring everything a real pleasure. It's a big world out there, and it's a bigger job to save it. Despite a few gameplay issues and minor grammatical errors, Eternal Eden sets a new benchmark in quality for other aspiring RPGs. Strap on your sword, young knight. Adventure is calling.

Attention ATI Graphics Card Owners: There is a compatibility issue that seems to affect Eternal Eden when playing fullscreen for some people. According to the game designer, about 5% of people have this issue. (Myself included.) Please try the demo and see if it works for you. Windowed mode (accessed by pressing [ALT+ENTER] during the game) runs fine.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

33 Comments

You say the game feels like Secret of Mana... and that's a negative? Secret of Mana is one of the greatest games ever made!

But all in all, nice sales pitch. I don't think I've ever actually bought a paid game with an ad review here, but I'm actually tempted to get this one, you make it sound awesome.

EULA:

You may not ... engage in any defamatory or slanderous conduct

Ummm I may not talk badly about this game? I mean serioooously people take to push their rights in EULAs further and further. Now it touches even behaviours outside the game or about the product itself...

So dare you if you tell your friend, this game was bad! They'll send their lawyers upon you!

It's just too bad the actual dialogue is terrible; the character's banter is like a schizophrenic having a serious moral discussion with a bipolar axe murderer. "I can't believe you made me steal the fruit, which caused all this to happen. You're a terrible person." "I feel bad about all this; I wish I hadn't done it." "Oh, it's not your fault."

Seriously. Paraphrased, that is an actual line of dialogue from the game. The main character alternately berates his comedic sidekick for being the cause of their woes and assures him he's not at fault. I couldn't distance myself from the storyline enough to keep playing past the turtle hunt segment, I just got too bored and too tired of the writing.

Could we please have an option on the top bar to view only the free web games? I'm fed up of having to scroll through 5 adverts for big fish games before I can get to a review for a game I can actually play.

Oh come on harpdevil, be nice! First of all, we only feature 2-3 downloadable reviews a week and they're always on the weekend. They're not adverts, they're good games just like the other games we feature. The only difference is affiliate titles help pay our operating costs. Without them, we can't exist. I, personally, like our site existing. :-)

played this early in the year. Liked it at first, but found several problems with the game. First, it was too linear. Second, the secrets were so abundantly placed, that it became a chore to check every single edge of the screen. Third, nothing ever respawns, so there's no way to ever have the insanely powerful party.

To the game, woha religious stuff in the works there! Well one could only tell from the whole story to see how far they took the genesis story, or if the author understood what was actually ment by "the fruit of knowledge".

TO the gameplay, seriously, why must I hold the shift-key all the time? This is tedious. Same the constant exploring of every corner for some items, it gets boring to walk a long round once around every new room along the wall.

I wanted to critize the game already for being a pipe-shooter. However once you get the ship it seems to get to be non-linear. However actually without any clue about the story-line. Might have directly started there the game just as well...

Yes I too quited when the turtle hunting came up... dunno, it was such a strange feeling after such a dense and heavy storyline to be left into such a shallow sport...

Dunno, seems after all there seems to be a game to like for people who likes these genres. I agree with the reviewer, the cities could have used a little more life and size...

Honestly I'm a bit confused about the religion part, well the "intro" seems very religion heavy on the one side, fruit of knowledge, "farther", down to character names like "noah". On the otherhand I don't seem to see any understanding what the "forbidden fruit" ment to be humankind to leave the "eden" of "primitive life" when developing a concisnousness, etc. there it seems to be very shallow.

About the story telling... I agree both sides have their attraction, I guess the linear thing becomes a real bad thing, it the story is pretty shallow too (what happens too easily in many games nowadays). Yet this game starts wit a thick story... and I kept with it, since I wanted to know it developing. (Yet normally I like the open RPGs better). But then suddendly there is this hugh break in this game. I mean seriously I played a 3-hour long intro! (well that what took me at least to get to the ship part), and then I don't even know where I am and what am I ought to do, just well we don't know what to do know, lets just explore the world? Seriously there IMHO something went terribly wrong there.

Hmmm, I got an idea on the interpretation. Starting with the very intro, of a dream "I think you are ready... No, I was wrong, you are by far not ready".

I (as far I've seen it) interprete it as a story of adolescence, growing up. When we are a kid, we live in kind of a garden eden (at least in the developed countries of our world), we live in a dream world, everything we need there is, and we have almighty parent figures guiding over us. Here the fruit of knowledge symbolic even fits, then something happens in our live, we suddendly get forced to *know* about the world outside our little fantasy worlds.. it feels horrific, as little child you make yourself responsible for what happened out of the silliest reasons (like the 3 kids in the game), altough it wasn't any of your doing. [Maybe I go too far in interpretatoin, but it might be e.g. a divorce, the "father-figure" is gone (for which the kids go out to search) and the mother ("the princess") is not what she was before.]... Maybe another event, but which ever after this horrific trip in this cruel "real" world, you as kid retreat in your fantasy world. (coming back to eden in the game), and only slowly you get to get outside of this fantasy world again, bit by bit, to manage to get a balanced view of the world, not the garden eden, not the horror world, but a world with it ups and downs.
----
Yet I played only to the turtles, and are not planning to continue, so if the story after there develops in a strong breach to this interpretaton, too bad, at least until here it fits IMHO nicely.

hm never seen an rpg maker game on here before. rpg maker is a game creation program and a few of the problems with the game is because of limitations in the engine itself

Ah yes, didn't think about that aspect of SoM. Yes, I admit the storyline wasn't the deepest of RPG storylines. I think a game with the battle system of Secret of Mana combined with the sort of storylines found in the Final Fantasy series would be awesome... oh wait, they did that, it's called Kingdom Hearts. :-)

I don't think a filter to only see free games on the main page is necessary... however, I do wonder whether it might be wise to have a filter preventing the paid ones from appearing in the "top rated" panel to the side.

An RPG Maker VX game?
I recognise the textures from my game-making attempts.

It's kinda nice to see someone using it to it's full potential, but it does look pretty bland.
Also, unless they're on a world map, why are they bigger than the trees?
And what is that giant fountain that's bigger than a small forest doing there?

I also agree that people sometimes unnecessarily berate linearity as it's a VERY BAD THING. Know what? Half Life was linear. Far Cry was linear. Max Payne 2 was linear. Or if you want me to take you back to the past, Eyes of the Beholder were all linear. Alone in the Darks were linear. Lucas Arts point-and-clickers - linear, linear, linear. And know what? Those were GREAT games, each and every one of them.

With linear gameplay, sure, you are on rails, but if the ride is fun - where's the problem?

As for the game, I'm eager to try it out. Even though ma hate of JRPG's can rival mr. Yahtzee's from Zero Punctuation, the review kinda hooked me on "no random encounters". That, and the screenshots make the game look a bit like the first Zelda game. And few things in life are better then the first Zelda game.

Everyone's saying they quit at turtle island. Yes, it's a dumb game, but you only have to spend 5-10 minutes there. Don't quit just b/c of that.

After Turtle island, it's just another temple. I sensed some depth to the fairy arc, but I'm doubtful it has anything to do with the main story line. The screen hunting was OK when the story line was intense, but now that it's died down, it's become a nuisance. There's no way around it either, I spend all my money on tonics as it is.

It would be nice if I knew what order everyone was attacking in, but I guess that's just the gameplay.

On a minor note, this guy in the shadow world says he'll trade you stuff for onyx and iron ore, but if you've already sold it, there's no way to make the trade trade.

Also the rain just sounds like static. REALLY ANNOYING

RPG Maker game? Tell me what is the special of this one comparing to other rpg maker games?
How about the infamous A Blurred Lines? Tournament Hero? The Puppet? Iron gaia? I had forgot old rpg maker game titles that was praised by the communities, though I still remember theirs great storyline and gameplay.

There are a lot of rpg maker games that not even just taking the maker's basic menu, gameplay, and battle system, I think those more deserves to be looked upon. :)

baba44713, guess what Zelda was not linear? Also I say that eye of the beholder (2 what was I played) was not linear. Also to compare games out of a completly different genre like shooters is not fair. Especially in games about puzzles, like the adventures, you are really deciding to be ignorant, to compare it with linearity in RPGs.

If an so called "RPG" game is just battle after battle in a linear fashion, that its terrible. Especially if its some stupid dialog, battle, stupid dialog, battle, etc. (take sonny as example of the most terrible pipe-shooter there is). It doesn't help if games uncapable to make a deeper world try to simulate non-linearity, little rooms aside the pipe-shooter, or if you have to go backwards, just because a door opened elsewhere (Mr. Robot was terribly linear failing to try to simulate non-linearity).

For me, a Role Playing Game, means, yes that in some way I've some freedom of a *role* to move in that game. If its just one pathed way, you go into battle after battle, without much choiche, it does keep to get a thumbs down because of this.

Altough the discussion gone to a linear-celebrity trend here, I disagree, I want in RPGs a world to discover and interact with, not a pipe to be shot through.

I played this game quite some time ago. It is awesome. The music is great, the story is very nice, the puzzles are interesting, although annoying at times. All in all, this is a great game, although near the end, certain things start feeling compressed for some reason. the very end, however, was fantastic.

Gee, charging $20 for a bare-basics RPG Maker VX game. What a ripoff.

Gee, $20 for a RPG Maker VX game that barely changes around the default codes and graphics. What a ripoff.

In response to JohnB:

I get that they bring in revenue and that you need that for the site to exist. I'm not saying get rid of them, just that I would like the option to filter them the same as all the other filters you have in the top bar. If they're not adverts there's even more reason why that wouldn't be a problem.

Most people come to the site looking for a little something to play with on a lunch or study break, flash games are perfect for this. Games that you have to install can match that need, but installing at work is impossible, and few people would want to spend cash for a game that is meant only as a little 5 minute attention diverter.

But other than that, these games all seem to be very generic (granted with a few exceptions), the same find the object game with a different skin. Peter Molyneux said the same thing and actually cited Big Fish as an offender, among others.

Harpdevil - The fact that downloads must be installed is precisely the reason why we keep them to the weekends, when most people are not at work and therefore are more apt to be able to install a new game. We have been doing this for years now.

And with all due respect Peter Molyneux, he's not a casual game designer, he creates experiences that appeal to a more hardcore audience. That's like asking an architect for his opinion on boats.

This is a casual games website and we review casual games. A great many casual game players love hidden object games among others (myself included). The casual games we choose to review are the ones that offer a bit more or that are special in some way.

All that being said, we are working on new methods for organizing and presenting the huge volume of reviews we have amassed on the site over the years. New and improved filters are coming, rest assured.

I do appreciate your feedback. Please have patience with our present format until then.

I had found this game elsewhere so I was very excited to see JIG review it.

Regarding the so-called bipolar qualities of the hero and his best friend... to me, that was one of the most realistic parts of the game. He's really upset with his best friend (who has apparently ended the world and corrupted their beloved princess), but at the same time he needs his friend to keep it together so they can fight monsters and try to rescue her.

It's only natural for someone to blow up and say "I can't believe you got us into this!" But when his best friend shows signs of not being able to go on, then he has to cool it and realize that they need each other, that the friend is truly regretful, etc.

Real people don't get angry once, forgive once, and everybody gets over it and never speaks of it again. In real life, when it's a really serious offense, it's far more likely for the issue to get pulled up again and again, even if both parties WANT to get over it.

I haven't finished the game yet (I'm about 5 hours in) but I'm really liking it so far.

Partly because I freaking love turnbased combat.

hey how about starting an rpg maker section, i mean there are a ton of these games out there.

Oh my God.. I cannot believe that someone actually comments that the writing in this game is REALISTIC.

Five minutes in and I was already pulling my hair from frustration. The game forces me to read tons and tons of dialogue which sounds like it came straight from the kindergarten for kids who never shut up.

- My pie is the best.
- No my pie is better.
- When the princess tries my pie, I will get the looong wet kiss on the cheek.
- No you won't because my pie will be the best and I will get that kiss.
- I got the first kiss ever.
- My pie will be better.
- Not this year, loser
- Where are my pies?
- Oh no, I forgot to make a pie. How can I get a pie?
- You forgot a pie?
- Yes. Now I need a pie!

Aaaaaaaargh! Shut up shut up shut up shut up! Who wrote this stuff?

I apologize for every single letter of criticism I made for writing in Braid. I would rather reread all of Braid's text a hundred times then endure one more dialogue like this one.

Ugh.

Final thoughts: this game sucks.

I've played through the demo and it's more of a chore then a game. Finding things in the scenery is very close to pixel-hunting, but USING YOUR KEYBOARD. Dialogues are consistently bad and the characters never.. shut.. up.

The fact that there are no random encounters sounds cool at first because those more often then not are just filling to stretch the game as far as it can go. However this also means that there are finite resources in the game. The thing that sealed it was when I realized that all the knick-knacks I've been collecting - and selling because the game explicitly says they are useless and should be sold - are needed to EXCHANGE them for the more useful stuff. What? But I just sold them with no way of getting it back? Aaargh!

NOT a good game. I'd rather find an old copz of that raunchy "Knights of Xanthar" game. That one at least gave you an incentive to go further and the characters closed their mouths from time to time...

Game is meh.

If you like the JRPG then it is OK. But in addition to other criticisms made above, I will add that performance is subpar on an ATI card whether you run fullscreen or not.

I am in a section which is a timed puzzle where I have to avoid things to get some magic gew-gaw. But the keyboard response is not responsive. I hold the Shift key down, I dash a bit, I slow down, I dash again...then I get hit by whatever those fear-causing things are.

How can this game be so graphics-intensive? Or maybe the game SDK they used to make it is known for failing with ATI graphics. Regardless, someone didn't do their QA properly before releasing this.

The Bible, an Interactive RPG

Just No.

does this remind anyone else of

aveyond??

There is a walkthrough for this game If you didn't know...

Really? Where? I'm kinda stuck at

that one rock-moving puzzle in the room with 150 gold on the lower right. I got the loot, but I can't seem to make through to the exit on the other side of the room . . .

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