One of the complaints I have about Eternal Darkness is that its battle system is a bit clunky. It basically has your standard survival horror fixed position auto-aim. This I don’t have much of a problem with, because I’ve encountered it before and I don’t think it impedes game play. It actually feels quite appropriate, given that forcing me to stay in one spot while fighting makes the combat more intense. I’m mostly unimpressed by the casting of the various magic spells the player obtains throughout the game. The spells take a bit of time to cast, ranging from about three to eight seconds. Though the combat in this game isn’t too fast-paced, it still moves at a rate where the spells that take longer than four seconds are frustrating to use.
There have been too many times where I’ve perished simply because I underestimated the amount of time it would take an enemy to attack me. Because of this, I often resort to a strategy where I have to leave the room I’m fighting in and retreat to a different room in order to heal up my character (which is how pretty much all battles are fought at this point in the game). This damages the game’s integrity, and hurt’s it’s ability to immerse me. It seems unlikely that simply running to a different room would stop a demonic ghost from trying to chop me to bits.
It would be nice if spell casting were a bit more hasty. Not too fast, but just enough to make the combat challenging and not clunky and frustrating. Sometimes the effects of the spells are not entirely clear. In a case like this, I have to cast spells multiple times, which is costly and gets me even more frustrated. Many other games of the same genre usually have very challenging battle systems, but they’re usually more difficult due to things like the strength of the enemies, and not because certain attacks made by the avatar are sluggish.