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Eternights Review for PlayStation 5

Last summer, I had the pleasure of discovering “Eternights” during a PlayStation State of Play event. Developed by Studio Sai, this game immediately caught my attention with its striking Persona-esque visual and gaming style. As someone who’s a fan of both action role playing games and have played a few dating sims, I was very eager to dive into this intriguing hybrid. Having not heard much of the game since its initial announcement, I was worried this was not going to live up to my expectations and was just being dusted under the rug, luckily that wasn’t the case, and this little studio managed to pull off something I haven’t really seen before, that of a full JRPG, similar to a Persona game, but compact it into a much shorter and digestible package. With how crazy 2023 is with new games, I was relieved I didn’t need to dump fifty to a hundred hours into a JRPG to get the full experience.

The game’s premise centers around a drug called Eternights, initially designed to combat aging but instead triggering a nightmarish transformation in those who consume it, turning them into horrifying creatures. Simultaneously, the city becomes a stage for bizarre supernatural events, including the sudden appearance of an imposing, imprisoning wall. As the protagonist, you play as an 18-year-old male character whom you make the decision to name whatever you want, you’ll find yourself navigating this chaos as a college student, with your loyal friend Chani by your side. Quickly the story takes an even stranger turn when I was ambushed by Delia, a mysterious woman who cut my freaking arm off! Rude! As a college student you are of course no stranger to dating apps and you meet a woman with magical abilities who bestowed upon me a luminous, enchanted arm capable of transforming into a formidable sword. This newfound power equipped me to confront the menacing monsters that threatened the city.

Eternights Review for PlayStation 5

While “Eternights” offers an engaging narrative, I must admit that the writing occasionally ventures into cringe-worthy territory, especially with its abundance of juvenile humor and overused dick jokes. Nevertheless, the game manages to explain its intricate storyline with brevity and efficiency, avoiding lengthy exposition which is something I appreciate and can be a difficult thing to write. This approach to storytelling made the experience a much nicer and well-paced one. What impressed me the most were the dialogue choices, where even some subtle responses could be called back upon later in the game. Interactions with characters typically involve chat boxes at the bottom of the screen, often accompanied by character images or social media texting screens. Occasionally, we’re treated to animated moments during conversations, which also include voice over work.

Much like the Persona series, “Eternights” follows a familiar gameplay loop, with each calendar day in the month offering opportunities to enhance social stats such as acceptance, expression, confidence, and courage. These choices impact your relationships with friends and grant access to new abilities for more efficient monster-slaying. Spending time talking, playing mini-games, and even dating characters enriches the gameplay experience. While it’s possible to explore additional relationship dynamics and be a cheating punk, I remained loyal to the love interest I chose.

As mentioned before, in contrast to Persona, “Eternights” is a relatively short game, with just over ten hours of the main storyline. Throughout the game, you’ll traverse maze-like dungeons and engage in a ton of enemy battles. The labyrinthine layouts can be frustrating but evoke memories of the Persona series. Combat, although basic, features fast and kinetic movement, heavily emphasizing dodging and parrying. A special attack meter fills up, providing a valuable edge in battles against tougher foes and bosses. Your party members, wielding magical powers, can assist by destroying enemies’ elemental shields, exposing them to your sword arm’s deadly strikes.

Ultimately, your enjoyment of “Eternights” hinges on your connection with the characters and their narratives. The anime designs are exceptionally beautiful to watch, and the overall premise is pretty weird, but a lot more digestible than many other games in this genre. Some friendships and relationships within the game touched me deeply, and the game’s final act was particularly impactful. The developers put a lot of love and care into telling this particular story, and it really shows how much this game can hold its heart on its sleeve.  If you’re unsure whether this game is your cup of tea, a demo is available to give it a try. While the journey of this game coming out seemed to have a lot of uncertainty behind it from me, upon coming out the other side I was thoroughly pleased with this little product.


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Related: Reviews by Nick Navarro

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Gaming since I was given an original Nintendo as a kid. I love great storytelling and unique ingenuity. When both collide in a single game, I'm a happy gamer. Twitter/IG @NickNavarro87