Eternal Blade  
Eternal is going to be a common adjective for Ps2 games...

ReiThis is another case of a game, which should have been be released on Summer 2001, on which indeed little is known. This lack of detailed news is caused both by the intention of the publisher to keep some suspense (EB should represent the feather in Mattel Interactive's cap) and by the fact that the game is still in development and many elements are going to be modified. The tradition of RPGs made in U.S. is far away from being an example of success.

These games were mostly minor productions incapable to compete with the Japanese titles, much more complex and original. U.S. clones of Japanese RPGs have become a reality, always with awful, annoying results.

This time, according to the developers of Stormfront, that in the past have worked on Dungeons&Dragons games and on one of the first online RPGs, Neverwinter Nights, and also according to the producer (Mattel Interactive), it seems that things will go better.

To tell the truth, from what was possible to see in a first and not definitive demo shown at the E3 last year, it looks as if the game, while showing many interesting ideas, doesn't shine for its originality, quoting other RPGs here and there. Referring to the plot, we only know that it will be very simple and linear, with one possible ending, achievable without many possibilities to choose for the player; anyway there will be a lot of side quests, as it is usual in certain types of RPG (as, for example among the new titles, in Summoner): in this way the rhythm of the game should never decrease during the adventure.

News about characters are not detailed too; it is known that besides the human race there will be also other races, for example lizards, amazons, swamp creatures and so on. The enemies will be also various and different. But is not known who the main characters will be, nor to what races they will belong to. From some images spread by Stormfront, the typologies and the classes among which the principal characters will be selected don't seem to be particularly original: at first sight they seem rather typical of role-playing games. The setting will probably be, even if there are not available screenshots at the moment, the usual ones of all the classical RPGs, with caverns, Middle Ages villages and castles.

The most attractive aspect of Eternal Blade at the moment seems to be the Gameplay which, while not being totally innovative, nevertheless results interesting. The team will be composed of four characters, selected among the available classes (you can choose to play in multiplayer mode with a maximum of three other friends or decide to leave some characters to the computer), that will be able to attack enemies or move themselves simultaneously and in real time, and learn skills unavailable at the beginning. The characters at level beginner have some limits, but they will be able during the game to evolve themselves and improve their own characteristics and their own weapons. Besides, the player will be able within certain limits to improve his character in different directions.

Speaking of Graphics it seems that developers have a lot of interesting ideas: most of all, as usual in many games, there won't be discrepancy between movies and real game: everything is rendered in 3D, using the graphic engine of the game. The environments will be extremely realistic, with attention pointed at details (for example the natural world well defined and characterized by pleasant animations: the caverns or other settings having ceilings and other details in sight). Also spectacular special effects, like light effects, have been announced, both to create atmospheres with fantastic elements and to underline battles.

Probably these news will leave many of you uncertain: Eternal Blade will be a good RPG or maybe a new ambitious try, then failed, set in the imprudent and pretentious attempt to be in rivalry with the Japanese RPG tradition? I believe that Eternal Blade hides pleasant surprises, also without shining for innovation and invention. On the other hand often the affirmed formulas are much more valid, because they are the ones that have survived the passing of times and technologies. In brief, the old recipes are often those that we like tasting again and again. I hope that Eternal Blade will represent this type of game and not another and useless banal clone of Final Fantasy.

- Rei (October 15th, 2001)