Those who have been following the development of Eternal Radiance will tell you just how determined developer Wraithseeker is to see this game released. After multiple failed crowdfunding projects and years of updates to the game’s systems and direction, we are finally nearing what could be the final product.
Still, the developer is eager to improve the game as much as possible through Steam Early Access. This will give players the chance to assist with the game’s development by providing feedback. After spending some time with the early access build, it’s easy to see the progress made in the charming adventure that proves it to be a labor of love.
Eternal Radiance introduces us to a squire named Celeste, who is eager and determined to become a knight, but must complete a task before being sworn in. It just so happens that a dangerous Artifact is causing the monsters of a forest to become hostile, and it’s Celeste’s mission to retrieve it and bring it back to her superiors. However, things don’t go as planned after the Artifact is stolen, which causes Celeste to go home empty-handed and forced to take matters into her own hands after she is denied knighthood. She then sets out alone to retrieve the stolen Artifact and prove herself as a true knight.
Celeste has an impulsive personality where she jumps into action without fully thinking things through. She has memorized rules and scenarios during knight training but fails to truly understand situations. Interactions with others show her optimistic side, but she is also quick to defend herself against anyone who talks down on her. I ended up enjoying her characteristics as they offer plenty of room for growth throughout the adventure in front of her.
The gameplay is split between visual novel story scenes and action RPG dungeon crawling. While in town, players can travel to different places and speak to NPCs or shop at various market places. Even though it’s possible to talk to everyone, I mostly just spoke to the characters with an exclamation point above their head, which signifies they have a quest to offer.
The issue I found was that you could never be too sure what the exclamation point was referring to. S0metimes, I would have to speak to a character multiple times as they addressed different quests. I would have preferred a separate menu that allows me to choose whether to just talk to them normally or update a questline. Also, there’s no sound indicator when moving to the next text in dialogue scenes.
During gameplay, there are quite a lot of side-quests that are each automatically accepted. However, things get a little messy after you find out that dungeons HUDs don’t clearly show your current active quest. This makes dungeon exploring fill messy, and I would have preferred an arrow or marker that leads me to the active quest or the general area where I can find a quest’s goal.
The battle system is action-based, where characters can attack enemies, shoot magic, or use a special skill, which uses mana. There is only one attack button, which made encounters get repetitive faster than it should have. Having the option of using a light or strong attack would probably help with this. Furthermore, magic and skills are linked to the same mana bar, so I found that I would generally conserve the mana instead of using my skills, which meant a lot of normal attack smashing.
Environments have different themes, but they are rather large, which makes them appear empty. I would have preferred multiple smaller areas as compared to the large open field design. Still, character designs are gorgeous, as well as their attack animations. The illustrations during the story scenes are beautiful, and the CGs only add to the overall quality of the story. The music also stands out as one of the best features of the game so far.
As it stands, I’m enjoying a lot about Eternal Radiance, and the opening moments of the story create an excellent foundation for a charming adventure. There’s plenty to fine-tune here as the game progresses in development, which makes me glad the team decided to make the game available to players to help make it the best that it can be. This project screams passion from the team that’s developing it, and I’m glad to see it coming to fruition.
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