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Missed Opportunity in Mythology With Eternity: The Last Unicorn

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Eternity: The Last Unicorn

Viking mythology has become a popular topic in creative media of late. From the recent God of War game to the Vikings TV series, Norse mythology is proving to be a deep well to draw from. Developer Void Studios seems to have likewise been inspired by this mythos when creating Eternity: The Last Unicorn.

Void Studios has leaned into the stories surrounding the Norse elves of Alfheim in the creation of Eternity: The Last Unicorn, setting the scene with a tale of four sacred unicorns, three of whom have mysteriously vanished. The last unicorn needs to be saved if the elves are to hope to keep their divine immortality.

As anyone who has sat through the extras in the Lord of the Rings boxsets will be aware, J. R. R. Tolkien drew heavily upon tales of the Norse elves when creating his own races of elves for Middle Earth and, as a result, much of Eternity: The Last Unicorn will feel familiar to fans of fantasy.

Games such as Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and the recent God of War draw upon similar sources of inspiration and weave the narrative through the game in an interesting and engaging way. The developers of those titles added in enough character development to make players care about these characters, as well as becoming invested in the lore. Sadly, Void Studios seems to lack this ability, as Eternity’s story is thin, and voice acting is almost absent outside of battle grunts, with all the cutscenes being depicted with subtitles. This shortcoming puts the game at a major disadvantage compared to other titles in terms of telling a cohesive and affecting story.

Microsoft Studios Ninja TheoryMuch Viking Mythology revolves around Ragnarök, the battle at the end of the world in which the gods die. This apocalyptic element has been the inspiration for many Norse-themed video games, including The Banner Saga and The Wrath of Loki.

Related to the end-of-all-things element is the focus on death—preferably a glorious and honourable one. Games such as Jotun and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice deal with women who are facing death and the forces beyond the grave. In Jotun, protagonist Thora is trying to impress the gods by killing giants and earn a place in Valhalla to make up for a somewhat unimpressive death. Hellblade, meanwhile, uses a descent into the Norse underworld of Hellheim as part of an extended metaphor for mental illness

Eternity: The Last Unicorn, however, sees the elves trying to avoid the issue of death altogether, with protagonist Aurehen given the task of trying to preserve the immortality of the elves by saving the last surviving unicorn. As a result, the game hamstrings itself by circumventing some of the richest and most interesting and well-known aspects of Norse mythology: the exploration of death and destruction and how to recover from such devastation.

An argument could be made that the nature of the Norse gods is as beings who can be defeated, and who are just as doomed to die as the rest of the squishy human race. This aspect makes them relatable when compared with other depictions of deities as all-powerful and untouchable.

Removing this relatable element and making the story of Eternity: The Last Unicorn about the ethereal, immortal elves and their quest to preserve something that players, as regular humans, can never have or fully understand does a disservice to the story as well as the Norse inspiration as a whole.

Void Studios drew upon a different source of inspiration for its combat and progression systems, using Dark Souls as a template. While, at first glance, this choice would seem like a good fit (as the brutal nature of Dark Souls combat and the violence of the Vikings should go together well), in reality the choice of using retro-styled fixed camera angles and tight, linear pathways makes properly judging distance often impossible. As a result, the gameplay flow familiar to Dark Souls players never quite comes together.

The modern gamer has many ways to appreciate Norse mythology, including God of War, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Vikings: Wolves of Midgard, Jotun, Munin, The Banner Saga and its sequel, and several others. These games all explore the depth and darkness of Viking tales, and touch upon some of its crazier and funnier aspects. Sadly, Eternity: The Last Unicorn falls far short of the mark in its attempt to join that illustrious line-up.

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E3 2019

The Winners of E3, According to OnlySP

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E3 2019

The OnlySP team has been rather negative about E3 2019 as a whole, sharing undisguised disappointment about Ninja Theory, Microsoft, and Ubisoft in particular. However, we are gamers first, and the show had plenty to excite, so we wanted to share at least a small ray of positivity by rounding up some of our winners from the past week.

Best AAA Trailer

Cyberpunk 2077

Two of the most anticipated games of 2020 topped the list, with Cyberpunk 2077 just pipping Final Fantasy VII Remake. The trailer was exactly what you want from a major production with the insane amount of hype that Cyberpunk 2077 is enjoying: mystery, emotional story moments, and heart-pounding action.

As if all that is not enough, one of the hottest stars of the moment, Keanu Reeves, was revealed as a cast member.

Doubters were all but silenced, and everyone else was gratified. Even better, we got a release date: April 16, 2020. Could anyone possibly lust for more?

Best Indie Trailer

Tie: Spiritfarer and Way to the Woods

As usual, Microsoft brought the ID@Xbox goods to its E3 stage, and we just could not pick between these two.

On the one hand, the team at Thunder Lotus Games finally unveiled its new project, Spiritfarer. The game brings back the glorious hand-drawn art style that had us falling in love with Jotun and Sundered, marrying to a unique take on the Charon myth. Furthermore, Spiritfarer’s low-key charm and gorgeous watercolour was a perfect counterpoint to Cyberpunk 2077, which preceded it.

On the other hand, Way to the Woods got a sparkling new trailer. The two deer are simply gorgeous, and the bright colours and mellifluous music make the game seems a journey befitting the glory days of thatgamecompany. Simple puzzles, a moving story, an entrancing atmosphere… We just want Way to the Woods on its way to our homes.

Favourite New Game Announcement

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel

E3 2019 had no shortage of enticing new announcements, but nothing was quite so enticing as Nintendo’s “one more thing.” After Breath of the Wild set the world on fire in 2017, a sequel was basically a foregone conclusion. Even so, that brief tease set our hopes alight.

In truth, we know next to nothing about this new project—other than that it is set in the same version of Hyrule as its predecessor and Zelda is rocking a slick new hairstyle—but its mere existence is enough.

Biggest Surprise

Keanu Reeves is in Cyberpunk 2077

I may have already mentioned this, but Keanu Reeves is going to be in Cyberpunk 2077.

If we need to explain more, the world of gaming is familiar with seeing TV and film stars cross over—Kit Harington in Call of Duty, Emma Stone in Sleeping Dogs—but Reeves is a particularly hot property right now.

Moreover, the word is that this is more than just a brief cameo. Reeve’s character, Johnny Silverhand, has been a big part of Cyberpunk lore, and CD Projekt RED reportedly spent 15 days capturing his performance.

Even Watch Dogs: Legion looking as though it is finally going to deliver on the promises of the first game is not enough to beat Keanu.

Favourite Stage Personality

Ikumi Nakamura

Full disclosure: the team picked Keanu, but Keanu can’t win everything, damn it!

Therefore, this award goes to Ikumi Nakamura, protégé of Shinji Mikami, who took the stage during Bethesda’s press conference to reveal Ghostwire: Tokyo. Where most presenters—even developers—are reserved, sharing the soundbites that make the games sound appealing, Nakamura radiated enthusiasm for her project.

Put simply, Nakamura was a ray of sunshine to remind us all that game development is not always about cynicism and monetisation; sometimes, it is about genuine love and passion.

Biggest Winners

Nintendo

With “gamers” one of the options on the list, I thought this category would be a foregone conclusion. However, the outcome proved that adage about what happens when we assume things…

The team voted for Nintendo, and the why is easy enough to understand. A new Legend of Zelda game will always be an event. The addition of Banjo-Kazooie to Super Smash Bros. is a long-overdue coup. Luigi’s Mansion 3 looks better than it has any right to. Meanwhile, Daemon X Machina, Astral Chain, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order all got great new showings, and we officially learned of the arrival of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (among other, slightly less exciting titles) on the Switch.


These winners were all decided by those of us who stayed at home. However, you may have noticed that we had Mike Cripe and Dimitric Edwards on the show floor, so they went hands-on with a bunch of games the rest of us could only gawp at.

Over the coming days and weeks, Mike and Dimitric will be delivering previews of Final Fantasy VII Remake, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and Biomutant, as well as a few interesting interviews, so we’ll have plenty of fresh details for you all to pore over.

First, though, coming tomorrow will be Mike’s hands-off preview of one of the show’s most contentious games: Marvel’s Avengers.

For all those previews and much more from the world of single-player gaming, be sure to bookmark OnlySP and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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