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Time and Eternity
Score: 78%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: imageepoch
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG

Graphics & Sound:
Time and Eternity is a new RPG that does things just a bit differently from your standard RPG. Some of these differences I like, but others I find deter from game enjoyment.

Time and Eternity is a mostly 3D world where you can explore if you want to but all the characters and enemies are 2D. Things are pretty, but theyíre nothing special. The graphics remind me of games that would run just find on the last generation consoles. The reason I said it is mostly 3D is that when you are in the town (Kamza) or in between the different areas that you have to go, the places that you can go are simply connected by a line and a character icon just moves on that line to go from area to area. There is no exploration in the town or between areas.

I do like that the majority of the time, your characters do speak out loud. You can even choose to have the voices in English or Japanese. You can choose to also have the text on-screen or not. Toki and Towa have different voices, which I find interesting since they are two souls in one body. Since the body is same, the voice should be the same too. But I guess that since they have different hair color as well (Toki is a redhead and Towa is blonde), then their voices can be different. The cutscenes are slightly different wording depending on if you are doing them as Toki or Towa, but I havenít found that it has changed the story yet. The voice acting is all very well done. The voices just seem to fit the characterís appearances and attitudes.

I really quite enjoy the background music. Itís very light-hearted and sounds more fitting for a love story than a traditional RPG, but given that Time and Eternity is a love story in the form of an RPG, it fits.


Gameplay:
When you first start up Time and Eternity, you are going to have to sit through a short time of mostly cutscenes that introduce you to the characters and set up the story. You can turn on Skip Cutscenes in the Options Menu, but that will only let you skip them if youíve already seen them once. The character whose name you get to choose is called Zack, unless you change it. Zack is supposed to marry Toki tomorrow. Since Toki is the princess of the kingdom, this is a big wedding! Toki has three best friends, Reijo, Enda, and Wedi. Reijo is super rich and acts spoiled. Enda is two years younger than Toki and is sweet and naÔve. Wedi is the wedding planner who talks to fairies, even though no one else believes in the fairies. Toki also has a pet dragon named Drake. While they are discussing the wedding, we learn that a psychic named Makimona predicted someone would die at the wedding. The group just decides to ignore this and plan for a happy wedding. On the day of the wedding, everything goes just fine, until the priest says "You may kiss the bride." Just before the kiss, a group of assassins burst in and attack Zack, killing him. When she goes to fight the assassins, Tokiís hair turns blonde.

You might think that this would be the end of Tokiís happiness, and it would be, except for the fact that being part of the royal family, Toki and her blonde half Towa can manipulate time. They decide to go back in time 6 months to when Makimona predicted the attack to see if they can save their wedding. I say they because it turns out that Toki and Towa are dual souls sharing the same body. They have their own thoughts and dreams, but only one can be manifested at once. When they go back into the past, somehow Zackís soul goes too, but he finds that he has inhabited the body of the pet dragon, Drake. He also canít speak except as a dragon so he canít tell Toki/Towa who he is. Until they went into the past, he had no clue that Toki had Towa hidden inside. Zack is a bit wary as to who he is really marrying.

To figure out how to save the wedding, you will have to go on quests. Some will involve helping people and others will be to find items. You will always be on one main quest, but you also have the option of taking on as many side quests at a time as you can find. If you just play the main quest, I have a feeling that Time and Eternity is a very short game. I canít do that though as I feel compelled to complete all side quests, so the game is turning out to be quite long. It took about 10 hours just to save the wedding the first time. Unfortunately, youíre going to have to keep going back into the past to save your wedding over and over until you get to the true bottom of things.


Difficulty:
Time and Eternity is by far the easiest RPG I have ever played. It should really be called "My First RPG" as it feels meant for a true beginner. You can choose under the Options Menu to play either Easy or Normal when you first start the game. I have yet to try it on Easy, but Normal feels quite easy to me. If you die in battle, it will just let you restart from the beginning of that battle and I donít see that I lost anything for doing so, making it very easy, even on Normal! I have yet to run out of money to buy each new item as I find it in the shop. I love that you have a map, but since every single thing you need to do, including quest items that you need to find, are clearly marked on the map, there is no need to explore anywhere.

The magic spells that Toki and Towa can learn can make your life easier. Donít forget to spend your Gift Points to get them. Gift Points are in your Status Menu. Without buying more gifts, you wonít get any new spells or abilities. Be aware, when you buy a gift, even if you meet the requirements of the gift, it is not immediately available. Your characters will learn those skills when they next level up. There are active and passive skills, so make sure to customize them as you need. As you progress in the game, you will also get Time Spells, if you do the side quests to get them. Iím not sure if I was totally missing the point, but I didnít find the turning back time spell very useful. It was hard to fine tune to get to exactly where you wanted in battle. I did find that once I got the Time Surge spell, it was very useful! With it I could speed up Toki/Towa and kill the more difficult enemies much easier. While the enemies are overall very easy to beat, there are some that take time because you have to continually dodge until you get your opening. Time Surge helps the most with these enemies.


Game Mechanics:
The controls in Time and Eternity are very similar to the majority of the RPGs out there. The Left Stick moves your player; the Right Stick moves the camera. The odd thing I found was that if you try to walk backwards, itís like the character glides slowly instead of turning around or anything normal. (Triangle) is the Main Menu; (Square) is the Area Map. The Area Map will show you exactly where you need to go. You can save at the blue magic crystals. Green crystals are waypoints. Yellow crystals are exit points. Red crystals are warp points. In battle, (O) is standard attack. You will use your gun when youíre far away and your sword up close. While Toki and Towa use both weapons, Toki is better with the gun and Towa is better with a sword. (Triangle), (Square), and (X) are used in battle as skill attacks that use SP. You can configure what skill you want to be which button. When you unlock the ability to add more skills, you can switch between the skill sets with (R1). (R2) brings up the Items Menu while attacking. (L1) guards and (L2) uses your time spells. As you can see, pretty much every button has a task. You will automatically gain items after some battles. You have an item limit of 20 of any one item type. Overall, I found the controls easy to use.

Time and Eternity isnít my favorite RPG that I have played, but itís not one of the worst either. There are some things that I didnít like, but there are several things that I did like about it. I did not like that it was so easy such that there was no challenge involved. I didnít like that there really was no exploration. But I like the fact that instead of the normal RPG where a prince has to save the world, in Time and Eternity, you are the princess and you are simply trying to save your prince and marriage, not the world. I find it amusing that as you play, the balance of affection that Zack has for both Toki and Towa will shift. This whole love aspect (heavily peppered with sexual innuendo) probably will not appeal to a majority of gamers, but it is something different from the norm. I like that it is a light-hearted RPG. While I donít think the masses will appreciate the nuances, I personally found a lot to keep me playing. Itís not the highest quality production Iíve ever seen, but the starting price is also lower than the majority of RPGs coming out.

If youíre looking for a slightly different RPG, consider picking up Time and Eternity for some light and easy fun!


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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