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Eternal Threads key art

Finally available on consoles, Eternal Threads is still the best narrative game around

I love Eternal Threads. Having played it for the first time when it released in May 2022, it’s always been in the back of my mind since. It made it onto our Games of the Year 2022 list (beat out only by Elden Ring) and it scored a perfect 10/10 from me. I give out perfect scores very, very rarely — but even then, sometimes I second-guess myself. Not this time. Having played Eternal Threads again now it’s available on consoles, it still deserves that score every bit as much as I thought it did back in 2022.

Mixing domestic drama with science fiction, Eternal Threads casts you as a time-travelling agent with one important task: travel back in time to a house in Lancashire and prevent its residents from perishing in a house fire. You can’t prevent the house fire altogether — you’re told the repercussions will be too great on the overall timeline. But you can, however, change the events of the week leading up to the fire, and altering each housemate’s circumstances just enough that they’ll get out of the house unscathed.

Doing so is no easy task. With a timeline of almost 200 events to sift through, you’ll need to figure out what seemingly innocuous choices to make to ensure a housemate’s safety. Does Tom, the landlord, text his ex-girlfriend, for example? And does new housemate Linda ask her brother about university or talk about their parents? The decisions may seem mundane, but by altering conversations just enough, you can have a huge impact on all six of their lives.

There are some puzzles to solve along the way, like figuring out how to unlock a door or how to access a secret room. Finding the solutions means jumping around the timeline, and occasionally making the “wrong” decision in order to find out. But what’s right or wrong is somewhat subjective. Ultimately, the “perfect” timeline in Eternal Threads is the one where all six characters survive then go on to live their best lives. You can choose to leave the game at any point, but striving for full survival is worth it.

Eternal Threads screenshot
Image: Cosmonaut Studios/Secret Mode

It’s not easy to find the optimum outcome for everyone, and it’ll require a bit of trial and error. Certain choices will open up new events on the timeline for instance, so you may need to tinker around, changing different outcomes to see how one small dialogue choice can affect the bigger picture.

Perhaps what I love so much about Eternal Threads is how well it weaves together the absolute ordinariness of modern life with a thread of fantastical science fiction. It’s easy to forget that you’re viewing the events of the game through the eyes of a time traveller, watching events only ever play out as holographic memories. It’s as if you’re there, living amongst those housemates, and that’s a testament to how well each character is acted (and how effortlessly brilliant and believable the script is).

The sci-fi strand here, though, does leave a bit to be desired, not being as well explored as I’d have liked. It seems purposeful: just enough information has been dangled to pique our interest, and as Eternal Threads wraps up we’re left with questions we don’t have answers to. It’s part of the lure of the game — you’re a mysterious time traveller, and the less we know about you, the better. It doesn’t matter where you came from or where you go back to; all that matters is that the housemates of this Lancashire townhouse are all alive and well.

Eternal Threads
Image: Cosmonaut Studios/Secret Mode

The bad news is that the console port of Eternal Threads doesn’t do anything special. Playing on PS5 for review, there are no fancy DualSense features or extra bells and whistles added to the game. But the fact it’s even on console at all is cause for celebration. Originally expected to launch alongside its PC release, console versions were delayed. It’s taken two years, but it’s finally here — and I’m absolutely thrilled a whole new audience can enjoy this incredible experience. Even better, it has native PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions: something we weren’t originally getting.

There really is nothing else out there quite like Eternal Threads, and it’s a game I’ll cherish for a long time to come. Two years on from my first time playing, I still cite it as one of my favourites — and it’s going to take something really special to knock it out of the running. If you’re yet to play it and enjoy narrative-driven games with a smattering of puzzles, well, you’re in for a real treat.

Eternal Threads is available from Thursday 23rd May on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Switch. It’s already available on PC.

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