If Void Studios executed its premise with even a moderate level of polish and character, Eternity: The Last Unicorn could have had the potential to be something special. However, nearly every aspect of the game is clunky and frustrating, taking away from what could have been a fun throwback to a now distant era of gaming.
Eternity: The Last Unicorn is a third-person, fixed camera action-RPG based around Norse mythology. The story is quite hard to follow, and that occasionally adds to the frustration. Often times I found myself questioning what it was even about and what my actions were accomplishing. Among other issues, there just seems to be this lingering meaninglessness to Eternity, and the whole thing felt like a slog because of it.
Overall, I understand what Void Studios was trying to achieve. In fact, they achieved exactly what they set out to do, which was to make a game that played like an old-school Nintendo 64 or original Playstation title. The whole thing feels like a Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time/Resident Evil 2 hybrid. And that’s why it just doesn’t work.
There’s a reason why we don’t see games like this anymore. The industry has innovated and left the poorly-executed fixed camera in its dust. It was interesting at first, but it’s just not intuitive enough. When you enter a new camera angle, sometimes the directional controls will change with it, and that can be a little jarring and hard to get used to. This same problem exists in combat. Occasionally you’ll enter a new angle in the middle of a fight, and you’ll be thrown off for a split-second. It’s enough to take you out of the experience and adds another level of frustration.
For the most part, developers today have found workarounds to games that are inherently button-mashy, but in Eternity’s case, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of care put into this area. I used an Xbox One controller for my time with the game, and it’s possible that my X button is broken. I’m not sure. To be fair, there is a dodge mechanic that is crucial to your survival, but it doesn’t make combat or the controls any more fun.
The animation and sound design are also awkward throughout. Jumps and jabs never really flow. Music cuts in and out when you cross imaginary lines into new areas. The grunts your character makes when she swings her sword sound like takes were used from multiple different actors. These little quirks often added a bit of comic relief to the experience, though, so there is that.
Eternity: The Last Unicorn does bring back a promising idea from the past that tickled my nostalgia bone a little bit. The game really pushes its player to explore the environment, however bland it might be, in a way that I haven’t seen in games in some time. Occasionally, you’ll come across an obstacle or character that requires you to use an item you don’t have in order to pass. It forces you to backtrack and use newly-acquired items to find other items that help you find other items and eventually get you the one item you need to get past your obstacle. Confusing, I know.
I get why we don’t see this in games anymore. It can be frustrating to search for a solution only to find that the item you required or action you needed to execute was right in front of you the whole time. That, or the solution was so obvious you didn’t even think about it. However, this is an old-school mechanic that did bring back memories of playing games like Metal Gear Solid and The Legend of Zelda. Frustrating memories, but it was part of the fun, right?
Eternity: The Last Unicorn’s one redeeming quality doesn’t do much redeeming, though. The game still has some major issues, first of which is simple—it’s not fun to play. Nostalgia is a feeling video games and entertainment have been profiting off increasingly within the last few years, which is great when the end products are well-executed. But instead of pulling inspiration from the Nintendo 64 era of gaming, Void Studios just made a game that belongs in it.
[Reviewed on PC]