Developer: Imageepoch, Satelight
Publisher: NIS America
Released: July 16, 2013
Time and Eternity’s story centers around Princess Toki and her soon to be husband Zack, a questionable and cautious knight of the realm. On the day of their wedding, just before they seal the deal with a kiss, assassins burst into the ceremony fatally wounding Zack while he attempts to protect his beloved. This event unleashes a secret within Toki as she transforms into her other half, Towa, and proceeds to eliminate the attackers with a far greater power dwelling inside of her. As Zack’s time is quickly fading out, Toki and Towa reveal the royal family has the ability to travel through time and with it they vow to go back in the past stopping this disastrous day from happening – however they are unaware that Zack’s soul gets taken with them in the body of Toki’s pet dragon, Drake. There are a few interesting plot twists to keep it entertaining, but it does not wander too far from the path of what you have heard and seen before throughout the entirety of the game.
The game wastes no time in introducing you to the central cast that most will undoubtedly dislike within moments. To say the characters portray anime/manga stereotypes to the fullest would be an understatement. Although you never control him directly, you are tasked with assuming the role of the male “hero” Zack, who is so overly-perverse it is to point of embarrassing. Toki is the affectionate Princess that is nothing but kind while her other persona, Towa, is a straight-laced cannon ready to fight at the drop of a hat. Toki’s clique of friends consist of the wedding planner who is completely dumbfounded, the boy-centric lolita that fawns over any male that walks past, and the spoiled rich girl constantly reminding everyone that her social status outranks those of around her. The characters you encounter throughout the game do not tend to be any more likable either and none of this benefits from the irritating voice acting and dialogue you have to listen to over the course of 20+ hours.
Once you get around to obtaining quests to complete, you quickly realize to not expect anything more than your usual “fetch X, investigate Y, kill Z” formula with a few instances of a dating-sim sequence from the perspective of Zack that interrupts the direction of the story mostly. Granted there are plenty of side quests to complete during the story, but you will grow tired of how repetitive they become early on. As you explore the areas around Kamza, it will not take long before you notice nearly everything is recycled to cut down on development time spent. Visually, you are immediately invited into the world of Kamza’s kingdom by beautifully illustrated artwork and animated scenes complimented by roaring musical scores. Unfortunately, these do not last for long and draw no comparison to just how bland of an approach every other asset of the game has. NPCs, enemies, bosses, animations, and even the barren environments are merely varied by only switching color palettes never really giving you anything to look forward to which is utterly disappointing given the talent behind the teams responsible for it.
The combat is the highlight of the game and also its greatest drawback. At first glance it appears to be something truly innovative with tons of variety and depth, but upon execution it is made extremely too shallow. You have the ability to attack from afar or up close as Toki or Towa with your weapons or assigning spells gained through leveling up via face buttons and each time you level up, you transform into the other soul playing as her. The option to dodge and guard enemy attacks is available but not as optimal until you have learned that enemy’s attack pattern due to having to wait until your entire attack animation is finished to successfully evade an attack that you needed to several seconds ago. The randomly encountered battles you run into while exploring rarely ever play out differently, you are going to be doing the same thing over and over again… for a while. Underneath all that you receive Gift Points from battles that you can use to buy into skill trees for each persona that will enable them to learn new spells when they level up, but that is about as deep as it gets.
On paper, Time and Eternity resonated in the hearts of otaku gamers everywhere. Here we were getting a game localized from the collaboration of Developer Imageepoch (Luminous Arc series, Fate/Extra series), animation studio Satelight (Fairy Tail, Noein, Heat Guy J), Japanese artist Vofan(Monogatari series), and composer Yuzo Koshiro (Ys series, ActRaiser series, Etrian Odyssey series) in what could only be described as a dream come true written off as a “playable” anime. Well that dream did come true and I would like to go back to sleep, sadly. The plot is rather lackluster, the cast vastly unlikable, and the mechanics end up being a shadow of what they truly could have been. I continue to have all the respect for the people involved with the ambitions for such an innovative game, but they just missed the mark by a larger margin than one would like to admit.