AeternoBlade II (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 16.10.2019 4

Review for AeternoBlade II on PlayStation 4

Nobody remembers AeternoBlade. It was a very amateurish attempt at making a two-dimensional metroidvania with Prince of Persia-style time manipulation mechanics. Even for its day it had ugly visuals and stiff controls that made for an obnoxious experience. Somehow AeternoBlade II got a successful crowdfunding campaign and the cruel devils who smithed this terrible abomination have come to unleash its wrath upon us. Cubed3 counts the ways how AeternoBlade II on PlayStation 4 fails to impress.

Typically in iterative works, creators have the chance to refine the best parts of the original. This is why video games usually produce better sequels than any other media. Then again, there is AeternoBlade II... a sequel to a profoundly vanilla metroidvania that gets lost in the ever growing ocean of indie developed homogeneity. How could such an ordinary action platformer fail to expand on such a simple concept and end up worse?

AeternoBlade II immediately shows how much more competent the designers got with 3D rendering and it could be easily assumed that players will be in good hands. Hilariously bad acting that invokes memories of gaming in the 1990s and really generic character designs start to deflate a small amount of hope that things are gona be great. Maybe this could be some so-bad-it's-good kind of ironic fun? Faces are designed in a way that makes it feel like its an interpretation of anime in 3D by somebody who has never watched anime before. Its a kind of hallow imitation that can only be pulled off by a Western developer who is desperately trying to ape what is popular with the kids. A tone deafness that could have been avoided if the artists stuck to their strengths and attempted something original. Uninspired enemy designs that feel like a first attempt by a character designer ultimately waste all the admittedly beautiful effects and texture work in the environments.

At least the stages are passable for a low budget crowd funded project that was made by amateurs. At the best of times some areas resemble Demon's Souls aesthetics. AeternoBlade II has a flavour that feels very 2009 with its locations thanks to the use of bloom and subdued pallet some areas and outrageous saturation in others. It ends up working well enough, but it also ends up being unmemorable and stock.

Screenshot for AeternoBlade II on PlayStation 4

The moment anyone takes control of the action things get worse. The original AeternoBlade was very basic yet functional, but the sequel manages to over complicate matters and have less polished mechanics. Hit boxes are illogical and frequently much larger than they have any reason to be. The dodge/parry mechanic is totally unreliable since the window to actually use it is so small, landing it comes down to the exact moment any of the protagonists make contact with an enemy strike. Even after executed a perfect dodge, the counterattack rarely follows through. A lot of the combat was designed around the ebb and flow of constantly wailing on an enemy or boss with really complex combos and landing successful counterattacks but it rarely ever works in its current state. This is all made worse by the fact that all enemies have enormous HP pools that take forever to whittle down and this is compounded by the game forcing people into locked arenas and fighting waves of guys until enough have died.

All three playable heroes have attacks lack appropriate feedback and enemy strikes don't have an effective audible cue to react to. The upgrading system falls into the trap where the balancing was centred around an idealized and fun set of characters to play as and the developers working backwards by breaking them. In order to get any of the protagonist at an enjoyable state to play as them, upgrading is more of an act of restoring decent playability... not upgrading. The combat system is already frustrating to play, but AeternoBlade II thinks it is being innovative by having a few full 3D arenas sprinkled in areas. The game's combat system was just not designed for this kind of play and what was cracks in its armour, become gaping holes. Characters can only move at one speed, attacks that should hit multiple enemies don't and a lock-on system that is put to shame by Nintendo 64 games. Movement is so stiff and awkward during these moments and it boggles the mind that somebody thought it was a good idea to leave this in.

AeternoBlade II is a mess. It is full of questionable gimmicks that are frustrating and sloppily implemented. Instead of focusing on getting one thing right, the game gets so many things wrong. From nonsensical puzzle design that has no logic in the world to instant failure stealth sequences. Enemies with absurd amounts of health pad out the game to a point where fighting becomes so boring. Basic mooks barely pose a threat and exist solely to be brutalized until the artificial barrier goes away. Even when playing on easy mode, the grunts still have health levels that still feel excessive. These punching bag bogeys were likely balanced this way to facilitate long combos and the long string of inputs. None of it works because everything within AeternoBlade II is just too sloppy and unrefined.

Screenshot for AeternoBlade II on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

It takes a special kind of talent to make a really boring action platformer. AeternoBlade II can almost be the cure for insomnia if it weren't for its embarrassing voice acted cutscenes. Outside of a few striking vistas, there is so little of value to enjoy here. There are so many better similar kinds of titles out there like Blasphemous or Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and that is not even counting 2D action games from before 2019. With so little going for AeternoBlade II, there is no reason to ever play it.

Developer

Corecell

Publisher

PQube

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

Comments

That's a shame I thought it looked quite good in the trailers!

Maybe I'll pick it up on sale!

there are so many better options.

Dang, thought this looked cool.  Whats some better games?

Blasphemous
hallow knight
bloodstained
time spinner
iconoclasts
owlboy

throw a stone and you'll hit a better 2D action game than aeternoblade 2

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