AeternoBlade II: Director’s Rewind – Review
Follow Genre: Hack and Slash, Action Platformer
Developer: Corecell Technology
Publisher: Corecell Technology
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

AeternoBlade II: Director’s Rewind – Review

Site Score
5.5
Good: Good combat and sountrack
Bad: Woeful voice acting and mediocre graphics
User Score
5.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.3/10 (3 votes cast)

AeternoBlade II: Director’s Rewind is a pretty special case of a game. Originally released in 2019 as AeternoBlade II for the Switch, the game received “not too favorable” reviews. This, addressed by the director in the intro video on the Steam page, prompted the developer to put out an improved version.

Story

AeternoBlade II’s story is a convoluted mess, to say the least, it is all over the place making little to no sense without a lot of guesswork. What is presented here is little more than a paraphrased summary of the earliest part. As the game starts, players are dumped in the middle of a battle in the forest as the main character, Freyja. After beating up the monsters, she wakes up her friend Zevil, to continue the search for his sister, Carol. This search leads them through the forest, where they meet an archer named Rosaline, who warns them about the dangers of the forest.

From here, the game’s focus shifts to Felix and Bernard. These two are exploring the Anan Fortress in order to stop the ongoing calamity, where they have to split and each finds an AeternoBlade. After a while they reunite only to encounter the evil sorcerer Asmud, working under Lord Demer, a corrupted god.

The game then proceeds to go back to Freyja, who has continued exploring the forest and found Carol; not before beating a corrupted monster with the help of Rosaline. The quartet then decides to progress to Anan Fortress to destroy the evil, but Freyja goes first to let the others rest. After progressing through the fortress and getting her own AeternoBlade, Freyja arrives in the nick of time to save Felix and Bernard from Asmund’s pet. Unluckily, Asmund unleashes a powerful attack, but everyone except Carol is saved by a mysterious voice.

Now in the pocket dimension of the gods, the gang is introduced to their savior, Chrono Lord, a god of time, and Lord Minnie, a goddess who protects the Timeflies. These Timeflies have been corrupted by the power of hatred and are corrupting more monsters. Here Freyja reveals she created the power of hatred in the first game, which has caused all these problems. After talking with the gods for a while, the gang departs to find Carol and fix the cavern where the Timeflies reside.

Despite how long this explanation may seem, it only covers the first bit of the game. The players are drip-fed information about what is going on through woeful dialogues. These may be due to a poor translation job, but it is nonetheless a mess that will leave everyone wondering what is going on.

Graphics

Graphics are awful, to say the least in AeternoBlade II: Director’s Rewind; everything looks plastic-like with random shines while the character’s faces are uncanny and unexpressive. This is especially bad since the first game has arguably better models and designs, most being at the very least less uncanny. At least the designs are unique, especially for monsters (although there is plenty of palette swapping nonetheless). The boss designs are particularly unique, with most being huge beasts that dwarf the player.

Sound

The game’s sound design is a VERY mixed bag. The soundtrack and SFX are alright, the first even good, but the voice acting is completely horrid. Most voice lines are read with no intonation or feeling, making everything sound flat and boring. All of the cutscenes break any sense of immersion thanks to said voice acting on top of the previously mentioned dialogues. At the very least the soundtrack somewhat compensates, being generally alright with a few very good tracks. Sadly it isn’t enough and the audio balancing does it no favors, but it’s still better than nothing.

Gameplay

The gameplay is the only salvageable part of AeternoBlade II: Director’s Rewind. The game plays as a 2D side-scrolling hack and slash with Metroidvania influences. It also includes a few “mind-bending” puzzles which usually fall flat and have their only difficulty coming from the enemies in the area. Despite usually being 2D, the game also includes certain 3D sections at times, which control exactly the same but with more space to move around.

As mentioned in the story, the player starts by controlling Freyja but also uses Bernard and Felix at times. Each of the three characters has a different move set, with Freyja being the only one who can unlock new movements. Bernard is an attacker with hard but slow attacks, Felix is the opposite with fast but weaker hits and Freyja is overall balanced but usually way better than both of the others. While this may seem subjective, it is very, very arguably so. The game’s main mechanic besides hacking and slashing is countering through timed dodges and parries, which makes Bernard with his slow hits a complete letdown. Although Felix doesn’t suffer this same fate he is outshined by Freyja’s way higher damage with still relatively fast attacks.

The reason for dodging and parrying being the game’s other main mechanic is simple; enemies start regenerating health when low on it. While Freyja and Felix can simply out-damage said regeneration, Bernard is completely unable. Dodging is often reliable to deal a single high damage hit, but parrying is required to reduce the regeneration and stun the enemy. To parry a hit, players need to attack as they are about to be damaged, this being way harder with slower attacks.

Another important mechanic in the game is the use of the AeternoBlades. Felix’ can create copies of himself which follow his movements, Freyja can rewind time and Bernard can stop it. The relatively low mana cost of the first two’s abilities is what allows them to out-damage enemy regeneration, while Bernard is again unable due to the gigantic cost of his. Later on, if anybody hadn’t guessed, Freyja is given all the AeternoBlades, with which she does a better job any of the other two could ever have done.

The game’s huge focus on getting your timing right gives room for player growth, allowing a skill ceiling to exist instead of being shallow. That said, it is an issue when certain attacks have the tendency of being hard to read, making dodging harder. This can especially become a problem when certain attacks straight up halve the player’s health upon connecting, which makes the learning progress quite unforgiving in harder difficulties.

Conclusion

Overall, AeternoBlade II: Director’s Rewind is a very underwhelming game that should only be played for its decent combat. The price tag is alright for the amount of playtime it offers, but the very sub-par overall impression makes it questionable nonetheless. The DLC is also somewhat of a waste of money, being mainly cosmetic with a pair of stat changes.

Personal Opinion

“I’ve always enjoyed a challenge and side scroller games, which made me think I might enjoy this one. Sadly I was wrong. While I did enjoy parts of the combat, there are SO many things wrong with the game as a whole. The voice acting makes serious situations laughable, such as when Carol is abducted and Zevil shouts “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” with a borderline sarcastic voice. It didn’t help that, as someone with a liking for good stories, I found this game’s to be a complete and utter mess. Nothing goes anywhere, the characters are there for “reasons” and the interactions between them are passionless. Oh yeah, SPOILER INCOMING if anyone cares: Felix and Rosaline are apparently family and they are getting married to keep “the blood pure” which is mentioned in a completely “yup, sure, not incest” moment. There is also another moment earlier on where Bernard and Felix are talking where Bernard says “I’ll use my power to protect the people” and Felix responds “I’ll use mine to protect Rosaline” to which Bernard answers “Haha, that’s my brother”. Sorry for digressing, but the story is really bad. Anyways, the reason I said I enjoyed PARTS of the combat is because the regeneration mechanic makes it miserable at times. This mechanic applies to bosses as well, making players choose to try to out-damage them or risk parrying one of their hits, which usually deal a quarter of the total health one may have. There is no worse feeling than having almost beaten a boss just to become walled by the absurd regeneration until a lucky parry or critical hit lands.”

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Rating: 5.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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AeternoBlade II: Director's Rewind - Review, 5.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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