Eternal Senia is a single-player, ARPG that is free to play; developed and published by Holy Priest, available on PC through Steam. Holy Priest states that the inspiration for the game came from Ragnarok Online and also the belief that gaming should be an enjoyable and relaxing experience. Now, I personally have never played Ragnarok Online but I loved the art style and feel of the game. I will say right off the bat that the effort put into the game was definitely felt and greatly appreciated.
You play as the heroine, Senia, who was saved and adopted by Magaleta, a priestess, at a young age after her village was attacked by demons. Senia wishes to one day be able to fight alongside and eventually be able to protect Magaleta, but of course Magaleta opposes against this for safety concerns. One day, Magaleta says her goodbye before heading out only to not return for several nights. Senia eventually learns that Magaleta had gone to the Tower of Eternity, which is rumored to be able to grant a person’s wish – should they prove worthy. Despite Magaleta’s warnings, Senia had been practicing swordsmanship in secrecy and heads to the Tower of Eternity to bring her sister back.
The game’s controls are very simplistic, using arrows to both move and attack by walking into enemies to initiate an auto-attack and later on gaining skills which can be activated via hotkeys Q,W,E, or R. There is a type of currency that is obtained through monster kills that is used to level up your skills, which are separate from character levels so you have a level of customization to your play-style. Additionally, some attacks are even used cleverly to assist in solving puzzles or uncovering secrets (hint hint) and it is rather satisfying in later levels. I did try to play with a controller but found it to be much more responsive on keyboard.
The gameplay is very smooth, screen-by-screen progression. Simple controls allows the player to strategize on the fly and go at the pace they want. There is optional mini-bosses and bonus objectives which yields some great rewards that really helps speed up the progression. If you want a challenge (or just plain lazy), you can skip these bonuses for some harder fights. There are also appropriately named “bonus rooms” where it’s basically a grinding area for leveling and collecting crafting materials. I ended up doing all these until I crafted the best set of equipment possible for each area because why not?
Additionally, you are also given the choice before each boss fight to select the difficulty. Now, one complaint I have is that once you beat a level, you cannot go back. There were several places I wish to revisit but am unable to do so since I never created multiple save files and don’t really have the time to play through it again…so the lesson here is to make multiple saves if you really enjoy a particular area unless you don’t mind replaying from the start.
The music is absolutely fantastically charming. It immediately got my attention at the title screen and only continued to impress me throughout. Soundtracks are one of the biggest things I look for in games because I find it really helps with immersion. ****SLIGHT SPOILER AHEAD****
At the final area of the game, you are greeted once again by the same music that played on the title screen. You will notice there is a piano in the corner and your path is blocked unless you obtain puzzle pieces to unlock it – the puzzle pieces being sheets of music. This did two things:
- I knew this was the final stage and it was about to go down.
- Got hit with a bad case of the feels when the title is revealed as “The Other Side of Sorrow”.
Gah. Goosebumps every time. You know you did something right when you get goosebumps from hearing a song. ****END SPOILER****
Now, sense of progression and character development is also pretty important. Overall, the game definitely does a great job at progression, giving you an option of difficulty in various ways (grinding “bonus rooms” and choosing boss difficulty) and the pace of the story assists with the character development as well. You are definitely overpowered in the tutorial (for obvious reasons) but then start from square one once you arrive at the first stage. I’m not ashamed to say that I actually died my first time through in this room, only to come back later and slaughter everything in one hit while I searched for hidden treasures (I still have no idea how to get that treasure chest that’s separated by water).
Admittedly, it felt really drawn out towards the end. There is a stage where the perspective and art-style changes which was quite a nice surprise, until I found out you were supposed to collect all these different orbs and just figure out which one goes on which pedestal to continue. This repeats quite a few times where I think honestly just twice would have been enough. Artistically, this section was great; mechanically, too drawn out and unnecessary. I did not get any sense of accomplishment by figuring out the “puzzle” not only once, but (I think) four times. Too much filler without any pay out. Then immediately after that you proceed through long corridors filled with enemies that just eventually turns into a slaughterhouse if you completed all the crafting.
The story is cliche, but was told in such a way that kept me engaged and gave me serious feels at the end. Gameplay and controls were very simple, making it very smooth and natural to progress through the game (completed in about 5 hours) and visually pleasing with great music! The boss fights were very satisfying, each one bringing something new to the table. The mini-bosses gave great rewards that didn’t make you overpowered for the next area and the optional bonus bosses actually made me feel good about figuring out their mechanics after a few deaths and then being able to consistently farm them for the next few minutes. If you have some spare time for a quick game, you can easily clear this in 4-5 hours and enjoy the feels at the end.
- Difficulty: Easy/Medium (Even on hard, wasn’t terribly difficult…except the true final boss.)
- Gameplay Score: 4.8/5 (That puzzle stage and final corridor just felt really drawn out and detracted from the overall feel.)
- Graphics Score: 4/5 (Cute art in menus, great cut-scene pictures, and overall adorable feel.)
- Music: 5/5 (Did I mention how I loved the music?)
For those that care, there are actually three endings to this game. I actually found out later that I had skipped the normal (first/worst) ending and wound up with the second (good?) and third (best?) ending after replaying with different choices. Honestly, all three endings seemed to be pretty bad in terms of what the outcome actually was although the third one definitely gave me some goosebumps. This is definitely a game I wish I could forget about only to play it again.
See you next game. -DecoyEC has logged off.