LifeisXbox’s Aeterna Noctis review | We have all heard the story about the King of Darkness. Some know him as Belial from the bible. Others know him as the Devil or Dracula. Set in a fantasy world, Aeterna Noctis tells the story of the King of Darkness. After the inhabitants of the kingdom turn on its creator, a supreme God named Chaos challenges the King of Darkness for his place on the throne. With this, he decides to take action setting you on a perilous journey across a wide range of locations filled with enemies and bosses that can sometimes rival Dark Souls.
Most Memorable Moment
Teleporting for the first time was actually pretty cool. Special effects-wise this game does implement a decent amount for a 2D-based game. The first time you teleport you are greeted by this huge black hole type creation with electricity and a mirror type orb that has lots of refraction. Essentially it shows a mirror image of your current location and it looks stunning. Your character then proceeds to walk into the abyss and have it close behind you. It’s really quite something to look at. Not only this, you are able to do this from any location later on once you unlock the potions to do so.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series S | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- The Audio | The audio in Aeterna Noctis is really good. It has the right meloncolic undertones during the exploration, and some energetic beats when the action kicks in. The boss fights have their own soundtrack as you can imagine that inspire you during your fights with their eccentric mess of orchestra and heavy drums. There is no spoken dialogue in Aeterna Noctis, instead you are greeted with made up dialogue that sounds like a made up language. It’s pretty effective. Abilities such as magic and your sword attacks have satisying clangs and sparks and enemies have their own attack noises which helps distinguish what is around the corner.
- The Options | I really have to applaud Aeterna Noctis for it’s accessibility options here and depth it’s gone into to allow players to have a solid gameplay experience. Aeterna Noctis has V Sync as an option, subtitles, colour correctiveness, performance modes and difficulties for you to choose from. If you arent familiar with some of these, V Sync allows you to sync each frame to your monitor or TV’s refresh rate which eliminates screen tearing. The performance mode allows you to choose between 4k 60 and 1080p 120 and the difficulty makes boss battles a lot easier. Word of warning here though. Turning on easy mode punishes you by locking all achievements. So be warned.
- The Mechanics | Mechanic wise it is fairly simple. X has your character slash his sword and holding up or down slashes in that direction. Pressing and holding down on the D-pad uses the blood vials you have stored up. Up uses the health potion and right allows you to summon a portal to transport to a new location using the map. There are various different abilities you can unlock using the thrones that you find scattered throughout the world. I’ll touch upon these more in the upgrades section below, but each mechanic is suited to the character that you play as in the game and doesn’t feel tacky.
- Boss Battles | With such a large open world to explore, you would be right in thinking that there are a load of bosses to fight. This is correct, and some are even optional. The game does suffer a bit with its side quests which I’ll touch on below, but it does lead you to some pretty epic boss fights. These are largely fairly difficult with no particular attack pattern that can be figured out from the first fight. Much like Dark Souls, these bosses will deal serious damage and most likely beat you into the ground demanding a second attempt. It’s fun!
- Upgrades | The upgrades can be unlocked through sitting at the various thrones scattered throughout the world. Unlocking more abilities is as simple as acquiring upgrade points from the enemies you encounter. The first ability I unlocked was dash, and this was very much needed. Dash essentially lets you dash quickly forwards even in the air to avoid obstacles and enemies. There are also additional weapons to unlock such as a charged sword and a great axe that do massive damage. The axe however does use up stored blood and will also drain health when you use it so you had better keep an eye on that and only use it when necessary.
- Repetitive | A lot of the quests in Aeterna are fetch quests. Even the main story quest is one giant fetch quest. You have to collect 7 pieces of a magic mirror in order to open up a gateway to another world and be able to challenge the God of Chaos.
- Back Tracking Quests | The bane of this game is all of the quests largely being similar. Need to open a crypt? Go and find this key. Need to open this shop? Go and find this key. There are numerous missions like this and the lack of variety coupled with the constant backtracking makes it a very dull experience. It’s a shame too as progressing through the main story if you wish to try and avoid these is a big no no. The game actively goes out of its way to ensure you do many of these tasks as you will need certain abilities to progress further in the game. It’s a shame as I find this tactic of padding out the game to be rather cheap and lazy. There are many examples of good side quests that could’ve been utilised here to ensure the player doesn’t feel drained from huting keys and running back to point A after going through point B and C.
- Performance Issues | Despite the choices you make in terms of fidelity and frame rate modes, there are some areas where the game will drop frames. This is largely due to the special effects being used such as the grave sites of key characters where there are hundreds of candles littered throughout the scene. Lights are one of the many aspects of a game where it can cause issues, so expect some slow down in the graveyard area when fighting enemies.
What we Disliked
- No Quick Resume | For whatever reason my quick resume never worked on this game despite it being optimised for Series X/S. Quite dissapointing because the game has a fairly long initial load time compared to most games.
- Length | I normally wouldn’t put this under disliked, but when you consider the level of backtracking that is required in Aeterna Noctis, especially so early on in the game as well, it becomes very tiresome. I’m sure there will be people out there quick to point out that the likes of Skyrim, Far Cry and other games with large worlds do the same, the difference here is that the quests are much more appealing and a lot more fun. This really drags out the length of the game and not only ruins the overall enjoyment factor of it, but can sometimes leave you feeling demotivated. The length of a game shouldn’t be measured by how much you can fit into it, but how enjoyable it is. I feel exactly the same way about short games too. If I complete a game in 2 or 3 hours but had a blast, I am happy. Aeterna Noctis could’ve benefitted from being a 12 hour game or shorter.
How long to beat the story | 50 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 90+ hours
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.