Eternity’s Child: The Wrong Platform

By John Walker on August 5th, 2008 at 12:06 pm.

Of course, the artwork when still is quite nice.

Yesterday Kieron linked to the rather unfortunate debacle that took place on Destructoid, as indie developer Luc Bernard had a bit of a drunken explosion in response to their negative reviews of Eternity’s Child. So I thought I’d take a look.

Bernard’s constant refrain within his posts was other reviews would be coming, and they would prove that D-toid’s 1/10 mark was wildly wrong. Well, this won’t change anything. Eternity’s Child is a pretty awful platform game.

There’s no reason to kick it further here – the reviews on Destructoid are accurate, and friendly in their disappointment. This is one man’s passion, and it’s a great shame it hasn’t worked out. (I should add, I feel the same about any of the eighty billion games a year I get given to review that score 50% or lower – my job is to be detached and descriptive about a game’s successes or failings, but it doesn’t mean that awful nagging about people’s hard work being kicked in the face isn’t present. I just ignore it because I’m callous and foul).

It's hard to figure out if this is meant to be a boss, as you can run under it.

Bernard has to realise something, however. The moment you put a price on your game, you lose the right to be the wounded deer. I forked out (an admittedly very small amount of) my money to play this, and I certainly do not feel it was a good use of it. It’s horrible to know that somebody put their heart and soul into something, and then it didn’t work out. (And that’s the thing – it didn’t work out. It’s not critical failings in the reviewers, it’s an unsuccessful game.) But as soon as you ask for money in return, you’re now a business and you’ve got to suck it up.

I should add that the claims that the patch fixes the jumping issues aren’t accurate. They may be a lot better than originally, but I got pretty damned fed up with one level as the jump kept ignoring me and I fell to my death, over and over. Then Avast declared that the map editor (that I wasn’t running) was a virus, and the whole thing came to a staggering end. And that was quite enough.

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33 Comments »

  1. Lorc says:

    Such a shame. It does look terribly pretty.

  2. Naseer says:

    If I was Luc Bernard I would first and most work on a (working) patch.

    Secondly do my “lessons learned”.

    And thirdly start developing my second game where I’ll prove my critics wrong.

  3. SteveTheBlack says:

    This may very well be a bad game (public opinion certainly seems to agree) but the response on destructoid is disgusting.

    Luc Bernard may have overreacted quite a bit, and made one hell of a fool of himself doing it, but I can’t quite see how that justifies the intense amount of personal attacks that seem to litter destructoid right now.

    He fell prey to hubris, something that seems very common if your name gets associated with a title apparently, and made a seriously subpar game. I just find it interesting, and heartbreaking, to see how many people are relishing their ability to insult him rather than offering a genuine appraisal of the game.

    I hate the internet for what it does to people.

  4. Jetsetlemming says:

    The reaction didn’t start until Luc Bernard personally attacked the reviewers.

  5. Fetthesten says:

    I bought the game before I saw the Destructoid review, and I came to almost the same conclusion. The game is broken, terribly designed and depressingly hackneyed. If you make a platform game in 2008 you should at least make sure it compares well to the original genre-defining title (by which I mean Super Mario Bros., just to clarify), and Eternity’s Child comes across as poorly designed, dull and annoying in every relevant aspect. It’s not in need of a patch, it’s in need of a designer who actually knows the first thing about game design.

    The outrageous thing about this incident isn’t Bernard’s outburst, it’s that he has somehow failed to see that his game is not fun to play.

  6. James T says:

    Shame it apparently bites (well, the gameplay vids are actively uninspiring; ‘deinspiring’?), the artwork is lovely (…the animation, not so much). Led me to ‘Skim Milk’, who’s got some nice gear.

    Hey, it’s pre-slashficced, how convenient.

  7. 02sheslop says:

    If you read the destructoid comments without having played the game then you might feel a little bad for poor Luc.

    But if you’d actually spent money on that broken piece of garbage then i’m sure you’d be cheering them on.

  8. andy says:

    so where is this demo that he talks about? hopefully not exclusive to that steam pile, which i’m not reloading for anything.

  9. slang says:

    I don’t know the game. All I know is that the art looks beautiful and I really wish Luc Bernard would try to come up with a better second game. Don’t give up.

  10. J.A. says:

    02sheslop: Do you really think all of the personal attacks came from people who bought the game?

  11. Alex says:

    What is up with the music in the game’s trailer? It’s like a Disney-film-for-all-the-family on speed.

    And what is this..?

    Bernard says:

    I’m already doing some merchandise, and I talked to Uwe Boll for a animated movie based around the franchise where I wrote the story for it, it would be part of the series and not just a adaptation, but we’ll see if that develops or gets off the ground.

  12. X says:

    Does this look like Gobliiins to anyone else? (The only Sierra puzzle/adventure games)

  13. Jaxtrasi says:

    “I talked to Uwe Boll for a animated movie based around the franchise”

    A legend is born!

  14. Alex says:

    I especially like the recurring “fcuk teh hat0rz!” motif Bernard seems to go for:

    I think his haters are a bit silly, I mean you can’t really do a good story with Blood Rayne or stuff like that, and they are B movies and are still fun to watch. I guess it’s just always easier to hate someone. (…) Well, Uwe Boll is very passionate about what he does, so that’s what I like about him. He is also honest. The man gets kids hating him for no reason when he is one of the nicest guys I have talked to. If they don’t like his films then they should just not watch them.

    That’s just baffling to me. “Don’t hate the guy for making shit films out of games that can only ever be adapted into shit films, I mean, he’s so passionate about choosing those unadaptable games to make shit films out of!”

  15. Nero says:

    I think 1/10 is a ridiculous score. It’s by no means perfect and yes the jump buttons has failed to do anything just a few times for me, but I have still managed to find finish all levels, found all gems, done some custom characters, custom maps etc. I’ve put almost 10 hours into this game doing various crap. I also had that virus thing with the map editor but the new patch fixed this (beta patch, full coming soon). They are taking advice and suggestions on the Steam forums and hopefully the next chapter will have improved.

  16. Alex says:

    Now there’s a quote to put on a (digital) cover if ever I saw one..!

    “I’ve put almost 10 hours into this game doing various crap.”
    - Nero, RPS Commenter

  17. Jaxtrasi says:

    “”

    That for me ticks the “hard of thinking” box and makes this whole situation (the game, the review, the response to the review) immediately understandable.

  18. Subtle says:

    I bought the game before seeing any reviews and/or flame wars, and I was disappointed as well. My expectations weren’t high, it was less than $5 after all, but the artwork was so incredible, I would have been willing to forgive some fairly major gameplay flaws. However, the game is supper buggy (it crashes for me in pretty much any resolution that isn’t windowed mode), and the gameplay itself is awkward and frustrating.
    That said, it must be heart breaking for a game designer to pour a lot of time and energy into making a game then seeing it trashed all over the internet.
    Still the artwork is pretty. I wish the game lived up to the potential…

  19. 02sheslop says:

    J.A.: That’s not what I was saying. What I was saying is that most people sympathising with this guy mustn’t have actually bought this shitty game.

  20. Naurgul says:

    I’m very disappointed with RPS breeding hatred with their attitude. All I see (at worst) is a bad game whose creators don’t have the proper communication skills to deal with the negative press. Is that really grounds to give everyone a free ticket to bash them here? And please don’t reply that it’s just the commenters; Mr. Walker basically said that if a game has frustrating controls, gets you stuck at one place for a few minutes and then has trouble with an anti-virus application, then it is undeserving of any attention at all. Is that the extent of his mercy for all games?

  21. MadTinkerer says:

    I haven’t played it nearly as much as Nero has, but I have to agree that it doesn’t deserve a 1/10 score. On the other hand, no matter how good the rest of the game is from the point I have played it, I wouldn’t give it higher than 7 because of it’s flaws:

    1) The first level is just too f***ing hard for players who haven’t played before. There’s no tutorial level, and the first level is filled with nothing but platforms over fall-to-a-certain-death.

    How this should have been fixed: The Orphanage is mentioned in the intro. It should have been made into a tutorial level instead of dumping the player in what would have been the first level of world 2 in a Mario game.

    2) There are plenty of annoying things that can and should have been tweaked to be much less annoying. For example, the cannons that spam slow-moving bullets at you. The bullets are nearly impossible to dodge, but you can shoot the bullets with your own faster-moving bullets. The cannon keeps shooting at you until you kill it (with your bullets), so getting past each cannon is an exercise in sitting still and click-click-clicking until you shoot past the bullet-spam and can damage the cannon.

    How this should have been fixed: less bullets, give the cannons more hit points, and have the cannons be “stunned” for a split second when they’re hit. Even if the net result is the same amount of clicking, it would feel like you’re fighting back instead of forcing the player to sit and spam bullets back at the enemy.

    3) Like Wild 9, the main characters just doesn’t have a reasonable amount of hit points. Mario doesn’t need a lot of hit points because he’s really agile and the controls are really tight. Sonic doesn’t need a lot of hit points because rings are all over the place. Players probably won’t need a lot of hit points when they’re as good as the designer at playing the game, but they don’t start off that way.

    How this should have been fixed: If the designers don’t want to increase hit points, there needs to be a lot more health potions, health potion dispensers and other ways to recover said hit points. Also, reducing the initial lethality of the enemies.

    Eternity’s Child is not a 1/10 game at all. It’s a potentially quite good game where the designer tragically overlooked the needs of new players and needed a lot more tweaking before it’s release.

  22. RichPowers says:

    Reviews focus on the product at hand — not the hypothetical product.

    That being said, should gaming sites publish updated reviews if otherwise maligned games receive substantial updates/modifications? SimCity Societies is supposedly much better now that they’ve patched it several times, but few sites reported on this update (Walker or Kieron mentioned it in a post somewhere).

  23. Nero says:

    I would also rate it like 7/10, never said it was perfect. I agree that the first time I played it I died and died because of the jumping and kinda awkward controls, but since I’ve put more time into it I’ve learned handle them. Also the latest patch has dropped the health max on those birdie robots (also increased their speed) so now they are much easier to kill. Also jump damage have to go, I don’t think anyone likes the jump damage when as MadTinkerer said it’s very easier to quickly loose health and somewhat harder to get. As I said I’ve played through what the game have to offer and more.

    Also no extra charge for the next chapters in the game when you are done. I’m not telling anyone to rush out and grab it but try the demo and see if you can see anything interesting for you. I can only see this one grow.

  24. Oddbob says:

    “Mr. Walker basically said that if a game has frustrating controls, gets you stuck at one place for a few minutes and then has trouble with an anti-virus application, then it is undeserving of any attention at all. Is that the extent of his mercy for all games?”

    It sounds pretty fair to me. It’s certainly a darn sight more mercy for a game than I’d give it by the sounds of things. Given the vast wealth of games I could redeem my few squid at, more so the amount of quality material I can get from the intertits for the time it takes to download and nothing else, then these things *are* important.

    And as a person who writes games, these are things I’d want to hear about a game I’d had some involvement in. Ok, not want to hear because no-one likes hearing bad things about their baby, but I’d *need* to hear.

    Or are we supposed to accept that Driv3r style show stopping bugs are acceptable if there’s some hope on the horizon?

  25. Alex says:

    I wish people would stop focusing on that “1/10″ and whether it should’ve been a “7/10″ or a “4.25/10″ or whatever.

    It’s obvious that in a Fair and Righteous World a 1/10 would mean a game with no merit at all, which isn’t what the Destructoid review described, ofcourse.

    On the other hand, in the same Fair and Righteous World a 7/10 would be a relatively high score, seeing as most good games would score a 6/10, which in the real (well, internet..) world more or less is saying a game is shit – “no, no, no!” the review sites sputter, “that means it’s an okay game!”.. no, that’s what you say on your ‘review scores policy’ page, that’s not what people actually see (nor what is demonstrated).

  26. Sum0 says:

    @RichPowers: I think that’s a very good idea. When you think of the number of games that are panned on release, and then the patches come out and a couple of months later everyone’s raving about them (Vampire, STALKER, many others), it seems sensible to just mention how these games suddenly got good (and why).

  27. Simon says:

    re. 7/10. It’s nice to see that the one Life Left tradition lives on. But there is a time and place, and is a platform game where the jump button doesn’t even work right such a time and place?

  28. Konky Dong 3: Serenity's Bloodwake says:

    I think Bernard is just trying to get some press for his otherwise forgettable little game. It certainly wouldn’t have been on my radar if it weren’t for his antics and any press is good press for a game that only costs $5. At that price point, a 1/10 review and forum rage fits might be enough to push people to purchase the game simply out of morbid curiosity.

  29. Fetthesten says:

    MadTinkerer wrote:

    Eternity’s Child is not a 1/10 game at all. It’s a potentially quite good game where the designer tragically overlooked the needs of new players and needed a lot more tweaking before it’s release.

    The designer overlooked the needs of all players, not just new ones. Of course every bad game ever is a “potentially good game”, it’s just a matter of what it would take to get there. Eternity’s Child needs a designer who isn’t so blind to the flaws of his own creation, and considering the way Bernard has rushed to the game’s defense that seems unlikely to become a reality.

  30. John Walker says:

    Naurgul – Your comment is very dishonest. I said, specifically, “There’s no reason to kick it further here – the reviews on Destructoid are accurate, and friendly in their disappointment.” I saw no reason to rewrite everything that’s wrong with the game, and said so, and linked to a description of everything that’s wrong with the game.

    Also, I think my post was extremely sympathetic to the situation, and in no way set out to invite bashing. Let alone that this thread hasn’t featured any particular bias anyway, people evenly criticising Bernard and Destructoid, and no one being cruel to anyone but Uwe Boll.

    Do please think before attacking. Thanks.

  31. Naurgul says:

    I apologise if I misunderstood your article and intent. English is not my first language after all, so I may have misinterpreted your words and some of the comments. Or maybe I was just feeling tired. I repeat: While re-reading the comments, I realised I was wrong in my original comment and I apologise again for that. I will try not to jump to conclusions like this in the future.

    However, I still expect to be treated with some respect, even when I err. I don’t appreciate how you painted me with malign intent in your response, saying I was being dishonest and unthinking. In fact, the closest I came to making an attack was that I said I was “disappointed” with you.

    In closing, I’m sorry for the trouble, but I don’t think there was any precedent to justify me being treated like a common troll.

  32. alffly says:

    Bought it, played it. Certainly not a 1/10 game, but equally not a 7/10 game.

    I played with the keyboard and found the jump responsiveness to be fine, and the game has never crashed on me, but it’s not without problems. A tutorial level set in the Orphanage is a good idea. Those flying heart enemies are tremendously annoying since they behave like the asteroids in, well, Asteroids, and split into smaller versions of themselves when shot. The flying cannons are a case of hugely uninspired enemy design, and shooting them is no fun since they can see you before you can see them. The health system as a whole needs tweaking, not necessarily to make the game easier but to make it clearer and easier to understand what will heal you and by how much. And there’s nothing fun about levels that send you off on tiresome item hunts through huge, samey enviroments – that sinking feeling when you reach the end of level marker and realise that you’ve missed a crystal and you have absolutely no idea where it might be is a special kind of horrible.

    But then something huge comes crashing through the trees towards you, a massive creature two screens tall that is so impervious to your attacks that you might as well not be there at all, and personally I can’t help but think that if the creators had playtested a little better and been more open to criticism then this would have been something truly special. It’s a missed opportunity more than anything else, and knowing that makes me die a little inside.

  33. Paper Bag Lady says:

    The Destructoid backlash against Luc was shameful. Really shameful. Although reading that article did make me join, just so I could add a late post asking everyone to STOP THE MADNESSSSSSS!!!
    The game physics and controls were not good. Normally I can adapt, but that was not the case this time. Nothing irritates me more than grassy controls and game-breakingly slow response, so EC was a total waste of reds. Artwork and music good though. How heartbreaking, Luc loved it so much…
    W00t, fashionably late thread!

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