“Meh.” That’s about the best word to describe Rise Eterna. Initially, I thought that Rise Eterna might turn out to be a sleeper hit in the works. It copied Fire Emblem, but the core FE mechanics are so good that Rise Eterna had some promise. Unfortunately, none of that potential was ever realized. It’s a FE clone that doesn’t capture what made FE great.
What you have instead is an easy, uninspired SRPG that is clearable within 5 hours, has no replay value, no new game+, no postgame, no side missions, or anything. The gameplay of Rise Eterna starts off well enough, but as you play it more, its problems quickly become apparent. Units are poorly balanced; Natheal and Sothy are by far the best units in the game and can clear the vast majority of content without any help. Characters are either boring or outright poorly written. Lua is the worst example of this.
The thing I hated most about Rise Eterna though is, without question, the spike traps. Spike traps will end your character’s turn if s/he has the misfortune of stepping on one of them. This is extremely problematic because the game gives you no clue as to where the traps are located. Needless to say, this creates countless situations where you’ll lose a unit, lose a battle, or lose your patience due to unexpected bullshit happening to you. Playing Rise Eterna can sometimes feel like playing Minesweeper while blindfolded. Which I don’t recommend doing, by the way.
Map hazards aren’t actually a bad idea in theory. Some of the Fire Emblem games found out ways to make them work. For instance, look at how FE6 clearly marked which tiles would shoot lava at you in Chapter 8x. The presence of clear visual indicators allowed players to strategize around them and sometimes use them to their advantage. Meanwhile, FE7 used Kishuna as something of a mobile magic nullifier. Neat stuff. Rise Eterna obviously took a lot of influence from Fire Emblem. It’s disappointing that Rise Eterna didn’t take cues from FE where it mattered though.
And on the subject of Rise Eterna’s influences, Valhollian is perhaps the most poignant comparison. Both games lack a weapon triangle, both games lack weapon durability, and both games throw extremely large maps at you. However, unlike Valhollian, Rise Eterna is difficult in the wrong ways, has a tedious and weirdly implemented crafting system, and feels needlessly tedious in its map design. Valhollian’s large maps worked in the game’s favor because they forced players to manage a limited pool of resources (action points). Rise Eterna, by comparison, is just tedious and boring. Maps aren’t challenging at all. They’re not a test of strategy or wit; they’re a test of your patience.
Ultimately, Rise Eterna is a SRPG you should skip. The following picture is the best visual representation I have for Rise Eterna. Just imagine that the “STOP” sign isn’t there, and the spikes are deliberately colored white so as to blend in with the floor.
Console: Switch, Steam
Developers: Makee, Forever Entertainment
Steam link in case you want to try Rise Eterna for some reason: https://store.steampowered.com/app/995070/Rise_Eterna/