may be a different look from Atlus, but the underlying gameplay isn't much different than other strategy games. Battles take place on an isometric grid on which characters move around and perform various actions. Battles tend to be drawn-out affairs, which is one of the game's few missteps. Part of the problem comes from the long attack animations, though that problem can easily be taken care of after a trip to the Options screen. However, the rest of the problem is a result of the interface. It's ugly and not that useable. Nearly everything has to be accessed through the in-game menu, which is a tedious task.
Most of the battle revolves around figuring out enemy weaknesses and planning parties and strategies that exploit that weakness. Character turns are displayed at the bottom of the screen and you can check out weaknesses using the aforementioned in-game menu. Characters can perform melee or ranged attacks or even store attacks to build up multi-character combo attacks. With so much going on, it is sad to see that most battles eventually turn into simple wars of attrition.
Eternal Poison follows multiple story paths that slowly fill in the gaps towards the overarcing narrative. The "main" character is Thage, a witch in search of something called Eternal Poison. Along the way she comes across a city, Besek, which appears out of nowhere where she meets Retica, whom Thage turns into her unwilling slave. The entire first act is completely different from what players are used to seeing, and does a great job of setting up the game's dark tone. Other characters include Ashley, who travels to Besek at the behest of the Church and Olifen, who is doing the same, but in the name of the Kingdom.
From here, the story splits off into what appears to be a completely random story that somehow or another manages to make sense. In other words, if you aren't a fan of stories that remain a confusing mystery until the very end, you won't enjoy Eternal Poison's tale. On the plus side, each story takes only about 20 hours or so, and once you begin to see how the stories connect, you'll want to see what everything means.