|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Flight-Plan||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
The PlayStation 2 may be on its way out, but the system has no shortage of JRPGs to keep players entertained as the systems lifecycle draws to a close. Eternal Poison, which was originally released as Poison Pink earlier this year in Japan, is best described as an RPG with attitude. This title has a style all its own and features smart-yet-traditional gameplay and a killer narrative.
The story revolves around the mythic demon land of Besek, which has recently appeared in the land of Valdia. Besek not only has symbolic significance as a bad omen, but Beseks demons have been attacking people and have kidnapped the princess of Valadia. The story is told through several different perspectives, and you can select different characters to play through the entire story. Although core story elements remain the same for each character, it is interesting to see the different motivations for each character, and see how their individual actions contribute to the story as a whole.
The story is definitely one of the best aspects of this title, and the multi-faceted story is reminiscent of RPG classics like Suikoden 3. Although the core elements of the story in each characters journey remain the same, each time through seems to yield quite a few surprises. Although youll have to create a new game file with each character and start from the beginning, the new story elements for each character are definitely worth the repeat playthroughs.
One aspect of this title that definitely makes it stand out is its visual style. The characters in Eternal Poison have a very pungent gothic style complete with heavy makeup, fancy clothes, and a certain melancholy demeanor. While games like The World Ends With You have briefly touched on gothic culture, this title really revels in it. Everything, from the characters to the beasts, looks like it was ripped from an alternate version of Alice in Wonderland, and the games world is very easy to get swept up in.
The battle system in Eternal Poison is fairly standard as far as RPGs go, but it has a few unique tweaks that make it a little more memorable. As you might expect, the attack system is strictly turn-based, and each character will have a set of physical and special attacks they can use during each turn. The twist with the mechanic comes in the form of an overkill system, which is triggered when you hit an enemy with a power that exceeds the enemys remaining HP. When you initiate the overkill, you are then able to bind the enemy and can either summon these monsters in a future battle or grind them up in a giant monster cauldron and extract their abilities. While the latter is a tad gruesome, it fits the games overall aesthetic, and works well as an interesting way to level up.
Although the battle system in this title is not groundbreaking, it is a great vehicle for telling the games stellar story. It is important to note that if you are looking for a title that has a deep or evolving battle system, this title definitely isnt for you. As you progress in the game, the battle system doesnt really change, and there arent many customization options beyond choosing party formations and equipping different weapons. With Eternal Poison, it is all about nuanced storytelling, and if that is something that appeals to you as an RPG fan, then youll hit the jackpot with this title. But if not, then you may want to keep looking.