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Eclipse: Edge of Light Review

eclipse-edge-of-light-review

Most PSVR games don’t push the platform with incredible stories or gameplay. Instead what we’re limited to is usually more of a VR concept piece, something that demonstrates the uses of the technology, without offering much to actually experience. Thankfully, Eclipse: Edge of Light offers more.

Eclipse Edge of Light
Developer: White Elk LLC
Publisher: White Elk LLC
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PSVR (Reviewed), Android
Release Date: December 6th, 2019
Players: 1
Price: $14.99

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You begin Eclipse: Edge of Light by falling from the sky in an escape pod. You’re never given a reason as to why you had to use the escape facilities of what must have been a much larger ship, nor do you even vaguely know why you crashed.

The level of mystery to the game’s story doesn’t ever get clearer than this. You explore the seemingly desolate world over the course of the next three hours or so, and only come out with one answer. The story doesn’t ever end.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a satisfying conclusion, it’s just that the conclusion is, well, inconclusive. There’s still plenty to keep you intrigued along the journey though.

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Upon your arrival you pick up an artifact. This artifact allows you to interact with the world as you move through it, and learn more about the catastrophe that unfolded there. Initially you’re restricted to just being able to throw the object and scan others, but more abilities unlock over time.

These interactions are how the story of the planet is told. Much like how In Other Waters requires you to scan literally everything before it makes sense, you’re basically an uneducated Indiana Jones until you start scanning in Eclipse: Edge of Light. Not all games can get this type of storytelling right.

By the end of the game, it does feel as though you’re reading the same thing, just written in a different way. But even this plays into the world that has been created, with certain people having a different view on events due to their separation from the rest of the population.

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When it comes to gameplay, Eclipse: Edge of Light doesn’t disappoint. It can be played both in PSVR and normally on the PlayStation 4, but I’d recommend the PSVR option if you have the choice. It doesn’t require Move Controllers, and you can play it while sitting on your ass. Perfect.

The protagonist moves in the direction that you’re facing, which means that you need to turn and look at where you want to go before pushing forward on the joystick. You can change your position with snap movements of varying degrees, I used 90 myself but it can be configured to how you prefer it.

The harsh turns did ruin my immersion a bit at first, but once you’re into the game you’ll either barely use them, or you won’t notice them at all. I genuinely found myself looking over my shoulder, the same move you do when reversing a car, when I wanted to walk backwards.

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Most of the interactions you’ll be making in the game require you to throw the artifact. This feels accurate and satisfying after a short learning curve. You can throw the artifact at any point, and it moves quite realistically. Trust me, I tested it a lot.

You smash various objects with the artifact and throw it into vessels to activate doors or larger mechanical contraptions. The artifact is later upgraded so that it can move blocks or pillars for puzzles with two buttons instead of one.

Finally, the artifact also lets you know when there are hidden objects nearby. You can find these using it as a sort of viewfinder, and they help you progress through the story, both physically and by explaining the wider story that’s unfolding.

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The protagonist is equipped with a jetpack. Outside of moving forward, this is the only other form of movement in the game. It means that most of the puzzles are easy to understand, and solve. The only exception is where puzzles are extremely hard, to the point of being almost impossible.

The only tough puzzle I encountered was solved by cheesing the mechanics outlined up until that point in the game. It felt cheap, but it forced me to figure things out on my own. Considering how rare that is in the game, I think it would be a detriment if it wasn’t included.

VR games are notorious for causing motion sickness, or just generally making you feel uncomfortable. Eclipse: Edge of Light did neither to me. In fact, when I was flying or falling, my body reacted just like if I was on a rollercoaster.

The game might not be the deepest experience you can get in VR. It’s also not going to win any prizes for innovation. However, I’d argue that this is one of the best VR games for getting the VR part right. It was so good that I even got my wife to try it, who agreed on the accuracy as her stomach turned over when I dropped her off a cliff.

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The one thing that I found myself getting really annoyed about with the game, was the lack of trophies. That’s not to say that I want this game to be an automatic platinum, far from it. I simply think that more could have been done with what’s there.

For example, there are objects to smash in the world, many of which are hidden away off the beaten path. I went out of my way to find these objects and smash them. It took me about ten attempts to navigate one river section in particular, because it felt like the level hadn’t been designed for me to access them.

Taking a quick look at the trophy list shows you why. There are only five trophies, one for completing each Act. As a completionist, I was gutted to see that my extra efforts were completely wasted. The only reason I can think for these smashable objects to exist is for some sort of health restoration.

Since there are no enemies in the game, I can only assume that the design changed, and these objects just became part of the background. A missed opportunity that would greatly enhance what’s already there.

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The visuals are a bit hit and miss with Eclipse: Edge of Light. The skybox is made up of a few 2D panoramic space pictures that have been stuck together. The 2D moon images look as though they were then plonked on top of that.

It’s not to say that the visuals are unconvincing, they’re just not fantastic when you look too close. The game looks at its best when you’re in tight corridors, exploring a labyrinth, and reading scorched text on walls near dead bodies.

Once again, while the visuals aren’t the best, it didn’t impact my VR experience. Yes, I could tell that I was looking at 2D images, and see text floating off the wall.

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It was also possible for me to look so closely at some objects that I went inside of them. But I never lost that feeling of immersion that only VR can bring.

The caveat to these poor visuals are the sounds of the game. The soundtrack is filled with underrated pieces that create the atmosphere you should be seeing. That soundtrack builds to each crescendo the game has to offer, and they’re all the better for it.

The sound design’s quality also extends to the noise of the artifact bouncing off the wall, your jetpack, and the huge blocks falling from above your head. Sometimes the game plays them at the wrong moment, but it never detracts from the overall experience.

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It’s impossible not to ruin the game’s story when trying to explain it. What I will say is that it’s unsurprising, but you don’t really care by the end. VR is the highlight of Eclipse: Edge of Light.

Feeling like you’re in an alien world, uncovering an ancient society, all while being a super cool space man. If you can’t play the game in VR, then the experience just won’t be as powerful, or enjoyable. Using VR though, this is one of the few shorter games for the platform that gets everything that matters right.

Eclipse: Edge of Light isn’t going to win any awards for its individual parts. Put together though, these parts make for an entertaining story, and an experience that’s essential for any PSVR user. It’s also a fantastic jumping in point for VR gaming in general, being uncomplicated, and straight up fun to play.

Eclipse: Edge of Light was reviewed on PSVR using a review copy provided by White Elk LLC. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

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The Verdict: 6

The Good

  • Excellent VR experience all around
  • Sound design is fantastic, much better than you’d expect
  • Easy to understand
  • Rich world to learn about as you progress

The Bad

  • 2D images used for backgrounds make fakes look real
  • Would be nicer without the snap-turning
  • Underwhelming story
  • No point to smashing objects, making your efforts feel pointless
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