Eternights review

by on September 11, 2023
Reviewed On
Release Date

September 12, 2023


I don’t think I’d cause much of an outrage by saying “The Persona games are great”, but they do have a key problem. They’re far too long. Regarding Persona 5 specifically – I can’t think of another game that so many people started, loved, and still didn’t finish, and with more and more sensational video games releasing every year that issue is only going to get worse. Eternights is a game that understands that time is precious, and is happy to let you into that Persona social scene in a more bite size chunk.

Our protagonist in this game is just an average high schooler, who alongside his best friend Chani is obsessed with getting a girlfriend and doing some smooching. Chani has a new dating app to recommend, and after filling out a questionnaire you match with a mysterious girl. It seems like it’s going to be a good day for our hero when they agree to meet up, but fate has other plans.

As the protagonist heads into town two huge otherworldly walls appear, slicing through the metropolis and causing a whole lot of damage. Alongside this people have started mutating and attacking each other, which leads to you and Chani retreating to the safety of an underground bunker until help arrives. It turns out that you’re the only one who can save the day though, thanks to an amputation that replaces your hand with a glowing sword. It’s fairly standard video game storytelling, but the writing is fun and light enough that it got me invested.

A screenshot of Eternights

Where Eternights differs from something like Persona is the combat, because this is a pure hack and slash action game. You start Eternights with a fairly basic combo attack, which ends in a big slash that helps fill your elemental attack meter. Once you’ve filled the elemental attack meter you can unleash a more powerful attack (complete with quick time events) that breaks through enemy barriers, and that’s pretty much how you deal with most of the enemies you encounter.

Even better than hitting combos to fill the metre though, is timing the perfect dodge roll and slowing down time for a while. Every enemy emits a red glow that shows you when you need to dodge, and when you manage it perfectly you’ll become immune to damage, gain a big boost to the meter, and most importantly will feel like a badass.

As you progress the story and meet more and more characters you’ll gain new abilities to use in battle. Your starting elemental attack is only one of four, and there are also deathblows, ranged attacks and AoE attacks to use against the hordes standing in your way of getting the world back to normal.

A screenshot of Eternights

Now as much as this sounds like a lot of combat variety, because dodge rolls and elemental attacks are so crucial they end up being pretty much all you use. Almost every encounter in Eternights boils down to rolling until you can trigger a special attack and then repeating until everything is dead. Because the tells are obvious glowing lights it also means that all the enemies feel basically the same, right up to the final boss. It’s a fun enough loop for a while, but eventually you just wish there was a bit more to it.

Outside of combat, life in Eternights is broken up into days. There’s usually a date that you need to accomplish a specific (combat themed) task before, but outside of that you’re free to spend time with any of your allies or level up your personality stats. Choosing the right options in conversations will help characters bond with you quicker, and might also raise your courage or expression alongside that. If you’ve played a Persona game before you’ll feel right at home, although admittedly with slightly more perverse themes running alongside the conversations.

The closer you get with your comrades the more you’ll be able to upgrade your abilities in combat. Each of the game’s characters has a special attack that gets stronger as you bond, and boost a few stats alongside that. I chose to couple up with the famous Idol Yuna, mainly because her skills are all about healing and I like staying alive, but there are a few other options if she doesn’t appeal to you.

A screenshot of Eternights

When you aren’t out on dates there are plenty of other side activities to indulge in. Scavenging for items is a great way to earn a few bonus stats if you can remember where the item you’re looking for is placed. Or maybe you’d prefer to indulge in some breathing exercises that oddly enough are represented by quick fire maths. Sometimes these minigames spill out into the main storyline too, but the less said about the terrible rhythm game dance segments the better.

Eternights is so close to being a great game, but it’s held back by a handful of pretty significant issues. It feels like all the environments you explore are basically the same, dark repetitive cityscapes that are easy to get lost in. Perhaps the biggest issue I had involved the very last section of the game though, where (for narrative reasons) I lost access to my friend I’d leveled up the most. This also happened to be the only person who could heal me in battle, leading to some miserable encounters that felt incredibly unfair just because I chose a certain person to spend the most time with.

Eternights is an entertaining hack and slash game with a lovely helping of Persona style social elements, that with a few tweaks would be an instant classic. The combat is just a little one note once you get the hang of dodge rolling, and exploring dark corridors gets old fast. The social aspects of the game are great though, and as long as you don’t mind the slightly saucy elements the story is pretty delightful.


Adds Persona social elements to a hack and slash
The writing is great and the characters are endearing
Dodging an attack always feels badass


The combat is pretty one note
Environments are dull
The dance minigame is horrendous
The pervy elements will put some off

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Eternights combines hack and slash action with Persona social links, but has a few too many issues to recommend to everybody.