Aeternoblade review for PS Vita, 3DS

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: 3DS
Publisher: Corecell Technology
Developer: Corecell Technology
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

I want to love Aeternoblade. I certainly like the idea behind it: a hack & slash Metroidvania with an epic (if confusing) story and decent-sized levels to explore. There aren’t a lot of those, especially on the Vita, so to get one — even if it’s a port of a 3DS game from last year — is always welcome.

The thing is, I can’t say I like the execution of Aeternoblade. In fact, to be blunt, the best that could be said about it is that it’s profoundly mediocre. It’s not exactly terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t think there’s anything about the game that you could point to say and say, “Yes, that’s done really well.”


Take the graphics. There’s no denying that Aeternoblade looks better on the Vita than it did on the 3DS…but that hardly seems like a bragging point. I’m sure that the characters probably looked pretty cool when they were being dreamed up, but that didn’t translate into their in-game representations. Basically, imagine stereotypical Final Fantasy characters, only muddy and indistinct, and you have an idea of how everything, from the heroes to the monsters, looks here. Needless to say, the environments don’t fare much better.


The same goes for the combat. Again, in theory, it’s awesome. You have a badass-looking heroine, Freyja, clad in relatively functional armour (even if the butt openings seem kind of silly), fuelled by a sense of righteous vengeance against the demon that laid waste to her village and armed with the titular giant sword. In practice, though, it all feels off. Freyja swings her sword in the general direction of her enemies, but it never feels like she connects with them, even when she has. Not only that, combos — which are absolutely essential, since this game doesn’t have any one-hit kill enemies — are incredibly awkward. Any time you swing your sword more than once, it leads to a series of swings that can only go in one direction, which means that if your enemy has moved out of the way, you’re stuck flailing away at empty space. (Though that doesn’t always lead to bad results; I regularly had enemies walk into my blade right at the end of a combo, just as the swings were strongest, sending them across the screen. They may not have been satisfying hits, but at least they were powerful.)


The mediocrity even extends to the game’s performance. Aeternoblade works, and it never crashes…but that’s offset by the unending loading times between each section of each level. Considering that sections are incredibly small and levels are pretty big, that’s a lot of time just sitting and waiting for the game to continue.

Of course, considering how little you get in return for that waiting, it’s tough to argue that it’s worth toughing out those load screens. If you’re desperate for a little hack & slash action on your Vita, I guess you might want to think about Aeternoblade, but otherwise, you can safely miss it.

Grade: C+