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Video Game / Eternal Radiance

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Eternal Radiance is a Unity Action RPG-Visual Novel hybrid developed by Visualnoveler. The game was officially released on December 15, 2020 for PC and on January 13, 2022 for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

Celeste is a squire in the Ashen Order, an organization that keeps the peace in Darencia and secures dangerous Akleim artifacts. For her initiation, Celeste is tasked with retrieving an artifact in Ancora, but fails when a mysterious girl steals the artifact. Despite orders to stay at HQ to train further, Celeste decides to pursue the thief in order to correct her mistake.

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This game provides examples of:

  • Big Bad: Eldareth is the leader of the Shadowborn, an organization that steal Akleim artifacts and assassinates anyone who tries to investigate or obstruct them. He's not the first leader of the organization, but he is the one ordering the recent thefts and plans to use the artifacts to destroy the Shadowborn while most of them are gathered at their base. This has the risk of destroying all of Darencia, which is why the protagonists have to stop him.
  • Deflector Shields: Celeste's Shield skill creates a barrier around her that soaks up a certain amount of damage. This barrier takes her max HP and defense into consideration, and having more of both is important to make the barrier effective against stronger enemies.
  • Difficulty Levels: There are Easy, Normal, and Hard settings, which have different damage multipliers. Hard mode also removes the MP healing effect of save points. The difficulty can be changed at any time from the options menu, including during dungeon exploration or boss battles.
  • Equipment Upgrade: The enchanter shops can be used to make scrolls, which can be used to apply bonus stats and effects on equipment. The shop can also remove enhancements from equipment to allow new ones to be applied, or convert the removed enhancements back into scroll form.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Eldareth is fond of Kylia and Yvonne, which is why he sends them to look for fake artifacts while he enacts his plan to destroy the Shadowborn base.
  • Evil Former Friend: Valana and Kylia were once comrades in a mercenary team, but after the team got wiped out, Kylia ran off to join the Shadowborn criminal organization, believing that the organization would give her the power to never repeat her failure to save her friends.
  • Famous Ancestor: Ruby is descended from Zaneth, a famous mage who accidentally caused the Akleim Cataclysm and helped establish Veritas's academy.
  • Final-Exam Boss: The Final Boss, Eldareth, is capable of using mechanics from several past bosses and enemies. He has a similar laser attack to the small golem enemies, can use overhead projectiles like Yvonne, can summon energy orb minions like Quinn, and can summon a clone in a parallel to how Kylia can summon additional Shadowborn.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: The story Book Ends this with Celeste choosing to secure an Artifact or save someone's life both at the beginning and end. She chooses to save the life both times.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: When the party researches the past of Eldareth, the leader of the Shadowborn, they learn he was once a child from the destroyed village of Clearbell. He attempted to study magic at Veritas Academy, but he had little talent, causing him to drop out. He joins the Shadowborn and gains powerful, but insanity-inducing magic while studying Akleim artifacts.
  • The Gadfly: Katrina likes to tease her junior knights with outlandish statements or orders, but at least some of her antics for the sake of breaking up the tension when her juniors are discouraged. Near the end of the game, she tells everyone Celeste met Eldareth in battle, but doesn't specify that she came back unscathed, which is implied to be a ruse to get Quinn worried about her and more likely to reconcile with her.
  • Genocide Backfire: The Shadowborn destroyed Clearbell Village because the village wouldn't give them an Akleim artifact. The sole survivor of the massacre, Eldareth, joins the organization with the intention of betraying them and destroying them from within. In the end, he doesn't get to unleash a full cataclysm on them, but he manages to kill most of the ones stationed at their base.
  • Glass Cannon: Among the party members, Celeste has the highest base attack and mana attack, but the lowest HP and defense. This is balanced by her being the only playable character, meaning she can dodge and guard unlike her AI allies.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Grady is initially hostile towards the Ashen Order for their slowness in helping Ancora, but he does care about the town and warms up to Celeste after she helps Ancora.
    • Valana is a snarky mercenary who comes off as too goal-oriented and cold to strangers, but she did save Celeste from dying in the desert out of good will. She slowly opens up to Celeste and Ruby, eventually sharing details about her past concerning Kylia.
    • Malachi is a self-absorbed researcher who has biting remarks for anyone who interrupts his work, but he shows genuine gratitude when the party helps him with his research or shows him interesting information about Akleim.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Grady criticizes the Ashen Order for being slow to respond to Ancora's goblin problem and treats Celeste with contempt at first, but he has a point that the knights don't always prioritize the people they're supposed to protect.
    • Although Valana is harsh in telling Celeste that the latter will slow her down, this is after Celeste recklessly charged into a desert and almost died of heatstroke.
  • Jerkass Realization:
    • Ruby drives Valana out of the party when she suspects the latter is a Shadowborn, due to her becoming paranoid after being betrayed by Yvonne. When she receives a letter from Yvonne stating that Valana was attacked by the Shadowborn, Ruby regrets letting her paranoia drive a wedge between herself and Valana.
    • Valana refuses to talk about her motives even after joining the party, which makes it hard for others to trust her. After the above example with Ruby, Valana realizes that it's unfair to ask the other party members to trust her without trusting them in return.
    • Quinn spends much of the game on bad terms with Celeste because she disobeyed orders, to the point where he refuses to hold a conversation with her. When he learns that she fought Eldareth, the powerful leader of the Shadowborn, he realizes that she could have died and that his last words to her would have been ones of hostility. He then spends the rest of the game mending his relationship with Celeste.
  • "Just Frame" Bonus:
    • Dodging an enemy attack with the correct timing gives Celeste a boost in speed and allows her to use Dash Charge to quickly close in on enemies or get behind them.
    • Guarding with the correct timing and direction gives Celeste temporary guaranteed criticals. The "Reflect Projectiles" node allows her to reflect enemy projectiles with perfect guards.
  • Limit Break: All party members have a Finisher skill, which is affected by their mana attack like all other skills and is good for clearing crowds of enemies. Since Rudy and Valana are computer controlled, the control scheme reserves specific inputs to activate their Finishers. Celeste can learn a passive skill that makes her invincible during her Finisher animation.
  • Magically Inept Fighter: Downplayed with Celeste and Valana. They can use mana to enhance their physical attacks, but cannot use skills that are truly considered magic spells.
  • Me's a Crowd: The Final Boss, Eldareth, can create a clone who shares his attack pattern and power. Fortunately, the clone is less durable and cannot respawn.
  • Military Maverick: Celeste sneaks out of the Ashen Order HQ twice in order to chase Kylia, despite orders to stay at HQ.
  • Mirror Boss: Quinn has most of the same physical skills as Celeste, but also has a version of Dash Charge that doesn't require him to initiate a perfect dodge and the ability to summon an energy orb ally. Justified because he trained under the same instructors.
  • The Mole: Yvonne infiltrated Veritas Academy in order to keep track of Ruby, who is trying to prove the existence of the Shadowborn organzation that the former belongs to.
  • Mole in Charge: The Shadowborn is led by Eldareth, who reveals that he was actually the Sole Survivor of a village they burned. He joined their organization and climbed their ranks until he became their leader, but always planned to use the artifacts' magic to destroy them when they least expect it. The only Shadowborn who knows of his plan is Yvonne.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Eldareth sent Kylia on a fake mission so that his ritual to destroy the Shadowborn won't kill her. He's upset when the party tells him that she came back to the Shadowborn base earlier than he expected.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • Kylia was once in the same mercenary group as Valana, but when a mistake she made led to most of the team dying, Kylia joins the Shadowborn to gain the power to protect her loved ones without fail.
    • Zaneth was a member of the Akleim civilization, who tried to use the artifacts to fend off an invasion from the Izurians. This destroyed both civilizations, something that he regrets.
  • The Needs of the Many: While the Ashen Order is the main peacekeeping organization in Darencia, they will generally prioritize containment of artifacts over protecting individuals, since the artifacts can cause monster attacks that could kill even more people.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: Ruby, Valana, and Celeste fit these roles respectively. Ruby is very polite when she's not overcome with paranoia, Valana is an impatient and caustic mercenary, and Celeste can be anywhere on this spectrum depending on the player's dialogue choices.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Eldareth wants to use the artifacts to destroy the Shadowborn in retribution for their genocide of his village. However, his plan would risk causing a second Cataclysm, which could destroy all of Darencia.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Izuria had a prophecy that stated Akleim would destroy them. The Izurians then started a war to prevent this outcome, but this just caused the Akleim mage, Zaneth, to attempt to use dangerous magic that destroyed both sides.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Celeste can receive passive skill upgrades through the Talent Tree system. Her tree is divided into two categories: offense and defense. Spending enough points in one category is required for more advanced skills, but specific skills don't need to be learned.
  • Skilled, but Naive: While Celeste is a skilled fighter, she doesn't know all the finer details of taking long journeys, such as the necessary preparations to cross a desert. She also depends too much on memorizing textbook situations to solve her problems, which doesn't work in real situations with no clear answer.
  • Small Steps Heroine:
    • At the start of the game, Celeste chooses to save the innkeeper, Marie, from a boss monster over collecting an artifact. This allows Kylia to steal the artifact, causing Celeste to doubt her decision.
    • In the ending, Celeste forgoes securing Eldareth's notes in order to save Kylia from being buried by rubble, despite how it's possible a Shadowborn could unearth those notes and misuse that knowledge. This time, she's more sure of her decision, which is why Zacharias promotes her to a full knight despite her priorities being different from what is normally expected of an Ashen Knight.
  • Taking You with Me: Eldareth joined the Shadowborn and climbed to the top of their ranks in order to start a destructive ritual within their base, which will kill them along with himself.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Quinn starts out as Celeste's best friend, but when she defies orders and leaves HQ, he treats her with contempt and refuses to listen to any of her warnings, to the point where he attacks her in Elshire in order to force her to return to HQ. He later realizes his mistake and becomes more cooperative with her in the final chapter of the game.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Double subverted with Eldareth, the leader of the Shadowborn. At first, he tells Kylia that he wants to use the Shadowborn to gather artifacts, which he plans to use to give people access to the Akleim's lost magic. However, he reveals that this is actually a lie and he actually rose through the ranks of the Shadowborn as part of his scheme to destroy them with the Akleim artifacts. He believes that even if the Ashen Order tried to make a military effort to fight the Shadowborn, the criminal organization would simply go into hiding and rebuild their forces.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Valana is not happy with the script of the play(s) the girls can be dragged into performing at Veritas and ultimately refuses to read any of the lines. This actually makes her the most popular performer due to the nature of her character being a cold, ruthless vampire.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Akleim artifacts can make monsters more aggressive and can grant humans powerful magic, but at the cost of their sanity. Eldareth is aware that the artifacts are driving him mad, but he doesn't care because he's already committed to destroying the Shadowborn from within as revenge for burning his village to the ground.