Eternal Radiance - Switch Review

Eternal Radiance by developer and publisher VisualnovelerNintendo Switch review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes 

Over the years we've gone from very singular genres over into hybrids creating experiences that would otherwise not be possible. While visual novels for me are still novel as I've only sat down to a handful, I was interested when I heard that Visualnoveler’s Eternal Radiance was both a visual novel as well as an action adventure RPG and I’ve come away with some thoughts but mostly good ones.

First and foremost, Eternal Radiance nails the visual novel portion of its experience. Starting off with our protagonist Celeste who’s been a knight in training, we quickly learn about the world from the elite knight’s point of view in which there are magical artifacts out in the world and that they don’t look favorably on those that would raise their own militaries as why would they? They have the knights.

So it’s from here that Celeste sets out to find one of these magical items and be granted her knighthood that she’s trained so hard for. Obviously as we all know, things are never that easy which sets us off on an adventure of self growth and redemption when Celeste fails to bring back the magical item, not get promoted to knighthood and basically sidelined as the command structure of the knights thinks of its next move. Sneaking back out from the knight’s headquarters, the journey starts for real.

While the above may gloss over some of the beginning hours of Eternal Radiance, it was a good introduction as to what you’re really in for as visual novels are often not short and if the premise is not one of interest, then why would you stay to finish it? What I started to enjoy of Eternal Radiance from the beginning is that while you get the sense that there’s some “darkness” to come, there’s a cheery air to it with Celeste’s can-do attitude. It’s well written in the sense that the dialog flows well from one internal monolog to another as well as between the various characters and the peoples that you’ll meet while in town stocking up for the journey forward.

Within all of these moments are chances to get to know the people that are there. Casual conversations, important ones with choices to be made in which you’ll get to decide what kind of person Celeste really is and finally conversations that will lead to quests. Some of these are short and to the point, others are goofy while others are much more serious and the background music will shift to settle the mood. If there was perhaps one note on the background music is that if you listen to it long enough you’ll hear the “cut” of where the track ends and then restarts. It may not be noticeable for some but for others it could take them a bit out of the experience.

From all of these conversations and plans to move forward came the portion that I was interested in seeing how well it could blend in with something much more relaxed like a Visual Novel. Once you leave town, you’ll be brought to a world map with nodes that you can be moved to. As time goes on, these nodes will expand to other locations that you have been moved to and even allow you to drop in at various points through these spaces as long as you’ve uncovered them first.

Upfront, while this part of Eternal Radiance isn’t bad… It's not great either. From a basic perspective, it works. Either solo or eventually with team members, you can move Celeste around the map by walking, running, jumping, dodge rolling, swinging her sword, blocking with her sword or slinging magic. This works and there are tons of enemies to make it work on but it feels shallow as there’s almost no sound to it. There are some sound effects here and there for special moves being performed, but there’s no real hit sounds, sounds of ugh, hiya, or anything really. It’s just quiet other than the background music.

The combat depending on the foes can range from ok to ugh as there are some enemy types that are just not fun to go up against as they never really leave you openings and they hit like freight trains. Thankfully you do have other party members but you need to make sure that they aren’t busy with all of the other enemies that happen to be between you and your goals.

For the exploration, it’s simple enough that anything that can be picked up is either shiny or a breakable item so there’s no need to wonder if you’ve really missed anything. This I enjoyed as some of the latest titles in their “realism” have basically made collectible items invisible as unless you’re staring right at them, good luck, you won’t find them. Treasure chests are about the same thing, they can be found littered about and play host to better items than those you could find on the ground.

While I appreciated the mechanical input of being able to play the journey between the narratives, I think a bit more work should have gone into this portion even if the idea of sound effects sounds silly to be missing, it adds volumes to the overall experience. I know it’s also the developers first time adding in something like this to one of their titles as Eternal Radiance is their third, but I hope if they continue on the Visual Novel / Action RPG style that these little things get added in or even get patched into this current experience sometime down the line. It would add a few layers of polish to that section of gameplay.


Overall though, Eternal Radiance was enjoyable. Being able to take the Switch from its dock and read through the visual novel portions before settling back into the TV for the action adventure RPG segments to have more visual real-estate, it was fun even if it wasn’t perfect. While still having some room for improvement from the hands-on gameplay side, I’m looking forward to sitting down to Visualnoveler’s previous Visual Novel work as both their visual art style and their writing for Eternal Radiance was easy to sit down and I enjoyed the time spent with Celeste on her journey of knighthood.

Score: 6.5 / 10



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