"O, oblivious have HumanityÃ¢â‚¬Â¦How ignorant we truly are - safe only in our blind view of the world. We are merely caretakers, for when The Ancients return, we shall be swept aside like driftwood on the tide of destructionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦"
To weave a story
Eternal Darkness didn't win the award for best story last year for no reason, this games story is absolutely stunning, if you give it the time of day.
The game begins with a pre-menu intro movie, then an actual game intro that tells some of the games story, it is told by a dead man, who in the course of the game you will control, he tells that the human race has been on the brink of destruction since the dawn of time but we just don't know it, and that his family, the Roivas have crossed the paths of the creatures who intend to enslave man kind, little to say the game is very epic.
The games story takes a while to fully get kicking along, about the 4th chapter, but most people may give up at the 2nd or 3rd because they cannot get into it, but if you persevere it is exceptionally wonderful, this story is very mature and shouldn't be played by children, it delves in occult style activities and ritual sacrifice.
Slicing dicing, with a little bit of magic
The game plays over different time periods, you will control over 6 different characters over the course of the game, the game is only set in 3 places, but with the changes in time periods the areas become drastically different, so you will never get the been there done that feeling.
The characters are also superbly done, at one stage you control a rather fat man, and as a fat man his speed is much less than some of the thinner and fitter characters you control, all of this leads to a great sense of care within the game.
Puzzles range from easy to sometimes damn confusing, unlike other games that highlight objects you can pick up, Eternal Darkness doesn't, so with some puzzles that require getting something tiny you may miss it because you don't notice it lying on the ground, this may be annoying for some gamers, but it also adds to the games overall feel.
The magick system in Eternal Darkness is also extremely well done, each character at one time or another will find the Tome of Eternal Darkness, with which they will be given access to the games spells, the spells are created using Rune stones in combination, you will find Rune Stones as the game progresses and you can mix and match them to create different spells to unleash hell on the evil denizens of the game. You can also map spells to the Y and D pad for easy access.
The only down side to the game play is that towards the second half of the game the chances of you dieing become extremely slim unless it is a boss battle because the strength of the magic you command is so strong.
The combat system is extremely well done, with you locking onto the enemy with the R button, and then using the analogue stick you can selected a body part to attack, the head, either arms or the torso, sadly you cannot attack the legs. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, the bad thing is, in most situations you will just find yourself running around the room decapitating the enemy, then work you way back threw them slicing and dicing the rest of their body till they are dead.
Ahhh! Get it off, get it off!
The main feature of this game is the Insanity feature, this has been its most talked about feature, most people wrote it off as a gimmick or a way to get cheap scares, but it is far from both.
The Insanity bar is along side the Health and Magick bars and it quite possibly the most important one, when ever you run into a monster they will lower your sanity level, to regain it you must kill the enemy and then do a finishing blow to their body, this will help you regain your sanity, don't ask me how mutilating your enemy makes you more sane, but it does.
Insanity affects can range from your characters arms and head falling off, to a blue screen similar to when Windows crashes, some of these may seem gimmicky, but some are extremely subtle at my be looked over, like a statues head following you as you run past it.
What's wrong with your...face?
Many people will remember this game was in development when the N64 was on its last legs, and was brought over to the GCN just as the game was been finished, this can be seen in the games design, which could seem very archaic to some, but that game has been polished up but still cannot contend with some of the other titles available. When you see what Rare did with StarFox that was also brought over from the N64 you will wonder where Silicon Knights spent the extra development time.
The character models all move with grace and look like you could actually move the way they do, as the animations are extremely fluid, the only let down that could be said is that they are not the prettiest models close up, from a distance or medium distance they look fine, but close up as in the small in-game cinematics the characters skin is blotchy and doesn't flow together well.
Screams in the dark
Another stand out point of Eternal Darkness is the voices and over all game sounds, they are extremely well done. From the voice of Edward Roivas to the Ancients, all the voices are extremely well done and set the standard for how in game voices should be done, all the voices fit the characters and speak as if they person is actually in the situation. In one scene on of the characters is locked in a mental hospital, and is ranting, his ranting is so convincing you may think that the SK team went to a mental hospital and recorded a lunatic.
The music is very well done, as soon as the game starts a haunting melody plays as you walk around the house, unlike Resident Evil the music isn't there to scare you, it actually slowly eats away at your sanity (and not the in game version of sanity) and is very disturbing.
The weapon sounds are all perfectly done, from elephant rifles to axes the sound effects are as good as the voices, lets hope the men at SK didn't axe the lunatic they used to the voices to record the sound.