Slay the Network
I have been craving a new Mega Man Battle Network for years now. It feels like Capcom has reinvigorated every one of its brands besides it: Resident Evil, Monster Hunter, Street Fighter…okay maybe not Street Fighter. Hell, we even got remakes of Mega Man Zero recently! It’s been hard being a Battle Network fan after all this time.
Thomas Moon Kang seems to have felt the same, and decided to do something about it. But to call One Step From Eden a Battle Network clone is to do a disservice to the creativity and ingenuity on display in this game. It takes the best parts of the Capcom spin-off — mainly, the combat — and evolves it in exciting new ways, resulting in a game that should make almost every Battle Network fan happy.
Full Disclosure: I backed this game on Kickstarter. Mint and Saffron are actually chilling in my room right now.
I’m sure I would have loved this game either way, but for the sake of transparency, now you know. :)
One Step From Eden, which I keep wanting to call East of Eden because I love both things, is what would happen if you said, “wow, I’ve put 500 hours into Slay the Spire, but I feel like it’s missing something…twitch-based combat. Yeah, that’s it!” You progress through rooms, defeating enemies with cards, getting new cards, upgrading those cards, swapping out those cards, and buying new cards, all in the name of getting to Eden. The lore is sparse, but it’s also not what we’re here for — if your favorite part of Battle Network was running around as Lan, chatting with townsfolk and plugging into microwave ovens, this might game might not catch your eye.
I’d argue that most people played Battle Network for the combat however, and boy does Eden just absolutely nail it in that regard. Combat is on a grid, with the player and enemies getting access to 4x4 squares that they’re allowed to maneuver on. Unlike Battle Network, however, it’s faster. Much faster. Later stages will have you bouncing around the grid like you’re playing DDR (and in one boss’ case, you will literally be playing DDR). There’s a big amount of enemy variety, and while things can feel hectic, they all have pre-defined patterns that you can dodge around to deal damage. I look forward to the no-hit runs that will inevitably come out a few weeks after this game’s release.
The stars of the show are the cards. There are tons of them, and they all have different, interesting effects. Flame cards that leave damage on a grid, frost cards that slow enemies down, poison cards that apply damage over time. After a few runs you’ll start to understand how cards can work together to be effective, and you can even set a focus to increase the chances of particular kinds of cards to customize your deck. I’ve already spent hours trying different set-ups on my way to Eden, and it hasn’t stopped being a blast, even as I get rocked by the enemies over and over again.
Everything about OSFE feels tremendously polished. The UI is clean, and the battlefield is easily registered even in the heat of a fast-paced boss-battle. The music is filled with bangers top-to-bottom. And that doesn’t even keep in mind the alternate playable characters and unlock able costumes. I was honestly shocked at the quality packed into this game, given the short turn-around from Kickstarter to release.
However, there are a few caveats to consider. It’s a rouge-like, as I mentioned. The game is tough as nails, and it will knock you on your ass a lot before you even get close to reaching Eden, unless you’re very skilled. If that style of game isn’t your cup of tea, I don’t think OSFE will change your mind. But if you’re willing to take the plunge, you’ll find the most satisfying deck builder since Slay the Spire. We may not get a new Battle Network any time soon, but thanks to Kang, I don’t really need one for the foreseeable future. Never thought I’d get to say that, and boy does it feel good.