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Time and Eternity Review (PS3)

Time and eternity slider

Time travel, two women in the same body, and a dragon wrapped in an anime shell.

Toki.

Towa.

To which is my heart tied? For one woman containing two souls, thus two personalities, this is certainly a hard decision. I could aim for both, but that wouldn’t be fair to anyone involved. Not only does it create a significant moral dilemma, but it offers a logical quandary as well. With every quest, battle, and conversation, I’m inevitably floating towards spending the rest of my life with one of them, leaving the other dormant within the body of this two-sided princess. Which will I choose? Thankfully, I have six months to figure it out while we track down the group that kills me at our wedding. Wait, what? I’m dead? Then why am I talking? Hold on a second, something doesn’t feel right.

Looks in a mirror. Tries to reel in his panic.

I’ve apparently inhabited the body of a small dragon in Time and Eternity.

Time and Eternity, NIS, NIS America, anime, RPG, simple, story, 2D, combat, drake, towa, toki

In this fantasy universe, I’ve managed to convince a princess to marry me. The only problem is that Toki neglected to tell me something important about our wedding day. A fortune teller in the forest told her that someone was going to die on our wedding day. I mean, why not tell me something like that, considering I’m the one that dies? Instead, Towa takes it upon herself to travel back in time (as her family is able to do) and drag me along for the ride. I guess it’s better than dying, but at least ask first. During our quest in Time and Eternity we hang out with friends, kill creatures, investigate assassins, find berries that can make people understand my dragon emotes, and take almost every conversation in far too sexual a direction.

What makes Time and Eternity different from most role-playing adventures (or RPGs if you prefer), is that it takes a very interesting step in how the game looks. The characters in the game are actually animated, not some 3D model or rotoscope hack job. No, Toki and Towa’s every action is animated by real people. It does look a little odd against a 3D backdrop, but it is an amazing look, especially for that handsome dragon Time and Eternity features.

Strikes a pose. Winks to himself.

Time and Eternity, NIS, NIS America, anime, RPG, simple, story, 2D, combat, drake, towa, toki

With the slick animation in Time and Eternity come the same types of problems you might see in on a typical animated television or anime. You do run into some instances of clipping, or delayed actions, in what the character’s do. Plus, there are the constantly recycled movements and expressions during dialogue portions and cut scenes. While the clipping can be a tad annoying to see, it doesn’t break the flow of the adventure. Toki’s one-dimensional friends making the same movements over and over again, though, does. I really wish that one would stop trying to feed me bugs all the time.

Customization is important when it comes to picking a fight in Time and Eternity. Both Toki and Towa can be led down different advancement paths to specialize in close quarters combat, rifle specialization, or even different types of magic. This is important to create a sort of diversity as different monsters and combat situations will require use of different skill sets. I mean sure, I can smack them around a little and heal my dual soul fiancé when she needs it, but they have the real power. Potions will be used a lot, as it is possible for me to get knocked out of combat. Tragic, I know. They will also trade out weapon types fairly often, as many are tied to elemental damage that is either effective or cannot do damage to some monsters. If all else fails, we’ve found out that items like this chili pepper can cause Toki to change to Towa or vise versa. Talk about a weird thing to watch. Their hair changes color while they speak in a different voice in a cut scene!

Time and Eternity, NIS, NIS America, anime, RPG, simple, story, 2D, combat, drake, towa, toki

The absolute worst part of trying to find my future killers is having to watch Towa — I mean Toki — fight. Whenever she charges into combat, the true pitfall of Time and Eternity comes into play. Her fights consist of jumping forward, dodging attacks when a little exclamation point appears in the sky, attacking or casting a spell in one of four ways, or maybe blocking if she feels like it. It looks like part dance, part hokey pokey with guns and swords. It is so insanely simple that it doesn’t take much effort to win. It is like there is some unseen meter building up power over time that Towa can use to make overpowering attacks that just obliterate her opponents. Good thing Time and Eternity’s quest line is short, otherwise this rather boring display would drive everyone away.

Time and Eternity is better than people give it credit for, even with its shortcomings and one-dimensional story. When trying to pick out its faults, it is easy to point to its boring battle system and sex-laden story. Both of those points are valid, but you have to think for a second of what you are getting into with Time and Eternity; it is basically an anime you can play. The interactive adventure parts are merely there to fill the gaps between moments of storytelling. Plus, you know, you have to play. Someone has to get me back to my body!

Runs around in a panicked flail.

Time and Eternity, NIS, NIS America, anime, RPG, simple, story, 2D, combat, drake, towa, toki

Certainly, the characters could have been rounded out to make a story that anyone could enjoy, but there is no mistaking that this game was made for male anime fans as it stands. I think that perhaps is the biggest failure of Time and Eternity, considering both Toki and Towa have the framework to be strong female leads instead of a trophy signifying conquest or a tired trope. Either way, Time and Eternity makes a strong effort to change the way we look at gaming, from its raw animation style characters to its interactive storytelling. Don’t take my word for it though – I’m a man trapped in a dragon’s body, after all.

Batman '66

Game provided by developer for review.

If you don’t like what this sexy dragon says about Time and Eternity, perhaps you should check out Ni No Kuni instead. They got a weird thing in a lantern in its nose. You get me here. *blows a kiss*

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