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Slow to start. The sum is greater than the parts.

  • fredo
  • 06/11/2011 01:23 AM
  • 1061 views
Aesthetics: 3.5/5

The game is graphically coherent. Area mapping ranges from competent to good. The rudra tiles are rather limiting and don't offer a lot of range for original design, but what is here looks pleasing nonetheless.

The characters are all competent recolors of the rudra characters. Number one problem here is that characters look too similar to their original counterpart. It's a little... disconcerting. The good news is that Rudra characters had pretty minimal character and personality, so there's not too much of the whole "Terra would never do that!" cognitive dissonance. Character portraits are nice, but would look better if they had been made with the low resolution and color depth in mind. The black and white battle versions are not particularly flattering to the art though.

Music is well placed, but poorly chosen. Several tracks are just too familiar to rpg players to be appropriate in a serious game. I would strongly suggest revising the soundtrack to include lesser known, or even free-to-use originals, tracks.

Plot, Environment, and Atmosphere: 3.5/5
The plot is rather competent. The beginning is painfully cliche and a bit of a FF4 ripoff, but the game quickly redeems itself. While the plot isn't particularly gripping, it is decently told, and the game keeps you moving. Some of the dialog is a bit on the longer side, but I didn't think anything was particularly painful. The story kept me intrigued, but the last section (particularly Slade's tale and the ending of Epoch's) was very interesting. I really enjoyed how similarly secondary, unimportant plot points constantly get weaved back in as more critical than one had once thought.

The characters themselves are the typical RPG cypers. Epoch and Lee are particularly uninteresting, and Goldo has a lot of the annoying traits of jrpg characters, including stupidity, over-excitement, and childishness. On the one hand, because they're not the main focus of the tale (the story is driven by circumstance moreso than character development) it's not entirely painful and the familiarity of the characters helps you grow attached to them even though the split plot structure means you spend little time with any of them.

The big problem with the game is that - as noted above - the rudra tiles and characters do not lend themselves well to original design. Therefore, the whole game sort of feels like it takes place in Rudra's world. Some smart color edits and good use of tilesets towards the end of the demo helps alleviate this somewhat, but does not eliminate this problem entirely. The world is smartly designed and original, but you never quite get to feel that, unfortunately.

Gameplay: 3/5

For the most part, gameplay is competent. Nothing too interesting going on while walking around the maps except to see the sights and talk to NPCs. The few puzzles in the demo are good, if a bit random (I have never been a fan of the "Why is this even here? How do the people who work/live here function with this in the way?" type puzzles).

Battle is a mixed bag. For the most part, battles are well balanced (with the exception of one difficulty jump when the third party member joins Epoch) Each character gets a unique skill set (with the exception of Elise, but I hope this will change in the next release) and several characters can also learn magic. Most unique skill sets are learned in interesting ways, which I thought was intriguing and well done. Some are through items, others through events. It kept skill acquisition lively. On the other hand, even with the all the extras, battles are not super interesting. For the most part, you scan every enemy, capture it (I'll get back to this), and then you can just go around hitting enemies in the face with their elemental weaknesses and kill everything rather quickly. Most characters' abilities come down to really basic elemental attacks and every enemy has several weaknesses.

The monster capture system is very clever, but not very useful. I never used a single monster in battle, nor did I ever need to. I captured them all for the rewards and then promptly moved on. Some stronger incentives to capture and use certain monsters would have been appreciated.

Stability and Polish: 4/5
Only bug I encountered was somehow getting stuck with a character who did not belong in the party during one cutscene and battle towards the end of the demo.

Otherwise, polish level is rather high. The optional elements are included and work properly. While not the complete game, the demo is VERY length and is polished throughout - a very impressive feat.

Other users report lag issues. I encountered none and as a result will not penalize the game on this account. Your mileage may vary on this point.

Overall Score: 4/5
This score might seem a bit higher than the section scores imply. I played this very lengthy demo to the end, however, and it left me wanting more. While it's not perfect on any level, it does have a certain cohesiveness, and a certain style that I found appealing. It comes together rather well and presents itself as a competent package that is easy to swallow on every level. As such, I feel confident recommending this game to anyone who enjoyed late SNES/PSX era rpgs.

Posts

Pages: 1
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
The standards for this seem markedly different than those for your recent review of edifice. Just saying.
How do you mean? I tried to be fair to both, but it's really hard to distinguish the gut feelings from the objective stuff. At the end of the day, Forever's End kept me coming back, and I could feel safe recommending it to other players. Edifice, on the other hand, felt like a chore to play at times. I feel like the scores reflect that. Maybe I was a little bit more clement in the area per area score.

My standard, as stated in the Edifice review, is that 3/5 is average. Ultimately, I feel like every individual part of this game is average to barely above average. I feel like my explanations reflect that (noting both the familiarity and ease of the setting as well as its over-reliance on cliche, the competence of the mapping versus the underdesigned and overfamiliar look of the game due to the rips, and the straightforward playability compared to the unnecessary features, and so on). The total score reflects what some reviewers single out as the "tilt" - that drives that keeps you playing and keeps you having a good time that isn't represented in the other scores. To me, Forever's End could not have more tilt. I completed the game in a very short time because it kept me coming back - I was intrigued to see the world, intrigued to move the plot forward, so on and so forth. I could think of friends that I would recommend this to strongly.

I feel like most players could get something out of this. I didn't feel that way with Edifice. Maybe I didn't explain why I preferred one over the other properly, or maybe we just differ in tastes. That being said, I do want to be a fair reviewer and maybe I'm not expressing myself very well (or maybe I am, in fact, being patently unfair). I'd love to get your insight as to what you think the difference is. I feel like review-writing is something that can be improved, just like gamemaking and I do want to improve.
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