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Eternal Darkness - Some say it's 'ok' - others say it was 'truly great'. I'm in the second camp. This game had a lot going for it - different characters with individual stories and movement patterns, three different paths for the player to take - each with their own set of monsters and difficulties, and a wonderful magic system that let you experiment and create new spells even if you didn't have all the set codecs yet to know exactly what your new spell did.
Putting this game into my Gamecube, complete with component cables, turning the sound up and sitting back with the wavebird in hand always gave me a great videogame experience. The art was fantastic, the voice acting outstanding, and the gameplay enjoyable.
This was my Resident Evil game...that is, until RE4 blew it away but you get the drift.
Make your own spells doesn't really work, at least not the way Dyack advertised it in advance of launch. You can't really make your own, you can just access predetermined spells before you find the relevant scroll. We were told that we could make spells the developers hadn't thought of, and what we got was a far cry from that.
And yes, the execution of the Sanity Effects were vanilla. Some of them were obviously cheesy and over the top, and the presence of the sanity meter made the ones that could have been more subtle and effective obvious, too.
Aside from that, none of the combat in the game presented a challenge at all. Target enemy, attack, win. Use magicka, never die.
There's a ton of potential in the material and I think the gameplay really could have been something special with some minor tweaks. But as it stands, it's pedestrian.
EDIT - I should clarify that I don't think it's a BAD game, at all, though I think the endgame falls apart a little bit and the execution from a gameplay perspective is disappointing. I just think the material and presentation set the bar pretty high, and the gameplay doesn't clear the bar.