Aedis Eclipse is a game that demands a lot of patience, much like its predecessor, Generation of Chaos. Sometimes your patience is rewarded with deep tactical gameplay that almost makes it worth swimming through the game's inherent frustrations. Unfortunately, even the most tolerant players will find it a chore to muddle through 40 hours of sluggish performance and clunky menus. Because these issues plagued the first game, the missed potential makes Aedis Eclipse all the more disappointing.
Like the original game, Generation of Chaos, Aedis Eclipse is a turn-based strategy game with role-playing game trappings. To its credit, it features not just one but three stories that take place in three different planes of existence: Greckland, the lower world; Aedis, the surface world; and Galadia, the celestial world. You can begin playing on the world of your choice, though newcomers will surely want to begin with the lower world, which serves as a tutorial and introduces you to the game's complex and unwieldy mechanics. None of these stories are anything more than your typical turn-based RPG formula, featuring kingdoms at war, sassy teens saving the world, and technology versus magic. The story structure is decidedly different from the first game, but unfortunately, not much else has changed.
Gameplay takes place on a segmented map that is dotted with structures, monster encounters, and various fortifications. Your general goal is to defeat the enemy headquarters while defending your own. Before each mission, you choose the commanders you want to take on to the battlefield. Then you and your AI opponent begin the slow process of taking over the game board one turn at a time. To do so, you need to consider a staggering number of factors and skills. Some squares on the grid are associated with a particular element that limits which commander can cross them and can affect the course of battles that occur on them. Other dynamics include overcoming the height of the terrain, pairing commanders to increase their effectiveness, and building various structures.
At its best, this portion of the game offers the same just-one-more-turn dynamic that inherently inhabits most games of this ilk. Capturing the grid and successfully invading the enemy headquarters is particularly rewarding because the largest maps can take several hours to complete. Mastering such mechanics as capturing prisoners and learning the intricacies of each building is naturally satisfying as well. On the other hand, Aedis Eclipse--like Generation of Chaos--convolutes the complexities with dozens of different menus to sift through, replete with small text and underexplained statistics. These menus make it tough to know which information is helpful versus which information just takes up space. The lower world tutorial offers more introductory information for the beginner than the original, but it's too incomplete to be truly helpful. The only way to know the strategic strengths of various structures, or which statistics to spend experience points on, is to experiment. It takes hours to get used to where various commands are hidden, and the time you spend sifting through the menus slows the already steady pace of Aedis Eclipse to a crawl.