Rise Eterna Review – Turn-Based Nostalgia

    Title: Rise Eterna
    Developer: Makee
    Release Date: May 13, 2021
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Forever Entertainment
    Genre: SRPG

Rise Eterna is an Indie Turn-Based Strategy RPG aiming to be a throwback to a lot of old-school and classic titles in the SRPG genre. While it does succeed on some fronts, there are some caveats to be aware of during this experience that dials back to how it wears its influences on its shoulder.

In Rise Eterna, players take the role of Lua, a young girl who has just had her home village razed and ransacked by bandits. This sets her off on a journey to the capital of Gaiacus with a former bandit named Natheal to see a man known as Seevan as the villagers told her to do so if she was ever in danger. From there, she is tasked to find her four sisters and uncover the mysteries surrounding her origins, which leads her to meet a host of characters along the way.

The story isn’t anything groundbreaking, but it is serviceable and fitting enough for a throwback to old-school titles in the genre. In some regards, the dialogue can be a bit cliche and hit or miss due to a lack of unique character interaction.

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Rise Eterna nails its presentation utilizing the old-school 2D aesthetic well with beautiful sprite work for the characters, especially their battle animations and illustrations for the characters. The various battlefield environments also have a good amount of details and vary in themes.

Although the music is well-composed but can be somewhat repetitive. This especially applies during missions where you have the same battle tracks playing over and over. A variety of different tracks would have been appreciated to break the repetition. Still, when it comes to performance, Rise Eterna runs and performs great on the Switch with no significant FPS dips or hiccups to speak of.

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The gameplay has players go through various missions that range from defeating every enemy on the map, defeating the enemy general, or making sure one of the characters reaches an escape point. The turn-based gameplay is easy to learn and play around with in terms of strategy, but it also lacks aspects, like the enemy AI not being proactive enough until the player moves their characters to a spot near them. This can prolong some of the missions if the player looks for various materials and chests they can find during their turn while being out of sight from the enemy.

The party also doesn’t level up but instead gains skill points after the mission is cleared that they can use to learn various abilities, most of which are passives that enhance the character’s stats or trigger under certain conditions. There are also gems that the characters can equip to improve their stats, but depending on the quality of the gem, these can also lower or buff another stat in addition to the stat the gem usually buffs.

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However, you can’t equip new weapons for your characters. Instead, the player gets different weapons that work as one-time use items that either damage the enemy or debuff them with a status attack like bleeding or poison. These can be found in chests during missions, or they can be created through the crafting system, which is easy to figure out and use for those who like to plan for the missions ahead of them. Menuing around the various menus can also be a bit difficult, with the analog sticks being used to select items and gems and the D-Pad used to select the characters for those menus.

My biggest issue with all of this is that it’s just so average it hurts. We’ve seen these games before, and if you’re not entirely new to retro SRPGs, then it’ll probably feel like Deja Vu. It’s not a bad thing because there’s plenty of decent moments of gameplay, but nothing that will stick with you after the missions. As much as I have a great time going down memory lane with a game like this, I can’t help but feel like I’ve already played it.

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Rise Eterna is a decent throwback to the various classic and old-school titles in the SRPG genre that shows passion and potential. But along the way, the game also inherited some of the issues that have since been ironed out in modern titles or at least redefined. I couldn’t help but wish that the influences weren’t so prominent in the adventure because this game deserves to stand out a little more. Still, fans of SRPGs who are nostalgic for the more old-school and classic gameplay systems will find exactly what they’re looking for here.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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