Legends of Ethernal

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Legends of Ethernal Game Poster Image
Nostalgic fantasy adventure offers a range of challenges.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game features themes of friendship, coping with loss, and overcoming obstacles while working towards a greater good. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Wilfred is a good character and a reluctant hero. What starts out as a personal mission to discover the fate of his parents turns into an epic odyssey with the fate of his entire world on his shoulders. But with the support of his sidekick Sao, Wilfred continues to fight on even in the face of overwhelming odds.

Ease of Play

The game's controls are relatively easy to pick up and play. Crafting new items on the fly is also pretty streamlined, with players using colored orbs collected while exploring and fighting instead being forced to seek out specific materials. The game's overall difficulty is left up to the player, with everything from a "Relaxed Mode" offering up regular assistance to players to a "Hardcore" mode that provides an extreme challenge.

Violence

Players hack and slash their way through different enemy creatures and bosses throughout their quest. There's no blood or graphic depictions of violence. Instead, players wear down an enemy's life bar and defeated foes simply disappear in a puff of smoke.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Legends of Ethernal is a side-scrolling action/adventure game available for download on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, as well as Windows and Mac based computers. Players take on the role of a young boy and his magical flying companion as they try to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of the boy's parents, and how it might tie into a larger conspiracy. The game has a deep and compelling story, though with most of that story unfolding over onscreen text, parents may need to help younger gamers understand what's going on. Combat happens regularly, though there's no blood shown onscreen. Finally, players are given a wide range of difficulty options, ranging from assisted play in "Relaxed" mode to an extremely challenging "Hardcore" difficulty.

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What's it about?

LEGENDS OF ETHERNAL is a fantasy tale about a young boy's loss and how it shapes him into the hero of his world. What starts out as a normal day fishing for dinner quickly turns Wilfred's life upside down. He returns home to find his mother and father have vanished without a trace. Without a clue as to what happened, Wilfred sets out to find his missing family, only to uncover a much darker conspiracy in the process. Joining up with a magical flying ally, Wilfred must make his way through the world of Arkanys, from its sprawling towns to the depths of its many dungeons. He'll also need to keep his wits about him, solving puzzles, crafting new items, and learning new skills, if he has any hopes of surviving long enough to discover the truth behind his parents' disappearance … and possibly save all of Arkanys from an impending doom.

Is it any good?

While many fantasy games today are sprawling odysseys, there's something charmingly refreshing about a dose of nostalgic adventure. With its simplified play and hand-drawn art style, Legends of Ethernal is reminiscent of classic adventure games of days past. Adding to the approachability of the game is a variable difficulty level that tailors its challenge to a player's skill level. On the high end of the spectrum is Hardcore, where enemies are harder to kill and death means starting the entire adventure over from scratch. Meanwhile, on the other end is Relaxed difficulty, which not only is more forgiving in the damage department, but will give extra help to players having trouble with the platforming elements of the game. Just be sure about your choice before you start, as the difficulty is set in stone once the adventure begins.

Having a flexible difficulty is a good thing too, because even on the Normal setting the game isn't exactly a cakewalk. It's not necessarily that players get overwhelmed by enemies, but usually it's more the placement and timing that's the challenge. It can be frustrating to keep missing a particular jump and falling into the abyss because of an inconveniently placed crow blocking your path. Or try climbing a vine, only to get hit by a ball of poison spit with frightening accuracy by an airborne jellyfish creature. Timing and reflexes are key in combat as well, with Wilfred's only available counter to enemy attacks being a dodge roll that takes time to recharge. Finally, the game isn't particularly epic in scale, running a bit on the shorter side from start to finish. But the time spent in the world of Arkanys is still a memorable experience and a breath of fresh air in an otherwise crowded genre.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about difficulty in video games. How important is challenge when playing a game? When does a game becomes too hard or too easy? How can difficulty options help to make games more enjoyable to a wider selection of gamers?

  • How can a game's art style help or hurt its storytelling? Can artistic style affect other parts of a game, such as the impact of violence, building a connection with characters, etc.?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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