• Add Review
  • Subscribe
  • Nominate
  • Submit Media
  • RSS

Carries off a classic style with character.

I should get this out of the way right off the bat; if you're looking for a game which makes innovative use of RPGMaker resources to create an experience totally unlike anything on the commercial market, this is not the game for you. Forever's End is not an experimental game. It doesn't redefine or push the boundaries of the genre, or introduce new and innovative gameplay elements, or explore a strange and original premise. If you want a game which does these things, they're out there, but I can't recommend most of them. It's easy to be original, but hard to be both original and good. Overwhelmingly, Forever's End is a game which aims to be good rather than original, and on those terms it does an excellent job.

To say that the writing in Forever's End is of professional quality would be damning it with faint praise. There's no shortage of RPGs on the commercial market with half-assed writing, and I could easily dedicate a full length review to the deficiencies I've come to expect in most published games as a matter of course. Forever's End, on the other hand, stands by the quality of its writing among the games which I continue to recommend to players long after their console generations have passed (the proofreading, on the other hand, is not of professional quality, but not so poor that it is likely to significantly detract from the game for many players.) The major story elements of Forever's End may be well worn, but they are not what I'd call cliches by any stretch. A cliche, to be clear, is something which is so overused as to become trite or irritating. Where the beginning of Forever's End hews very close to that of Final Fantasy IV, rather than simply being a rehash of seen-it-before plot elements, it functions more as a reexploration of a premise which was not done justice in its original incarnation. Like the dramas of Classical Greece, it aims not to surprise the audience with a story they've never before encountered, but to move them with a stirring rendition of the essentially familiar.

While there are a handful of characters who come off as essentially one-note, most of the cast carry off their parts in the narrative with charm. Even the random NPCs are almost always worth talking to (as an aside, the worst pattern an RPG can fall into with NPCs is rewarding you for talking to NPCs, or worse making it necessary to progress, when the dialogue is all pointless and boring, so you you're unhappy skipping it and missing the rewards, but also unhappy drudging through it, while the most virtuous pattern is when dialogue with NPCs is worth pursuing in its own right, but occasionally offers material rewards as welcome surprises for players seeking it out. Forever's End falls under the most virtuous pattern.) As of the end of the first chapter, almost all the major cast members have had enough opportunity to develop that I'm eagerly awaiting the chance to further explore their stories, and fully expecting developments I would not be able to predict in advance. The characters' unique story presences are also accented by their unique gameplay abilities, with every character having some role or ability not shared by any of the others. Not all are necessarily created equal (Cyrus doesn't see a lot of use before the end of the chapter, and might become significantly more useful later on without needing a revamp of his core abilities, but as-is he's pretty low tier,) but none are useless, and many are as interesting in gameplay terms as they are in character terms.

When it comes to gameplay, again, there's very little in Forever's End that hasn't appeared in some form elsewhere, but rather than being strictly generic, it clearly consolidates many elements which the author found appealing from several sources. Being late to the party, the version I played was apparently subject to extensive revision to keep the combat balanced and engaging, but by this point it seems to have mostly pulled it off. My biggest complaint in terms of game balance is the overavaiability of effective healing items ("essences" for HP and "stimulants" for MP,) which can rather easily be bought in great enough quantities that they're unlikely to be exhausted, giving players the ability to fully heal in dungeons at little cost. Ideally, I would want healing items which are powerful enough to be highly effective in battle not to be easily available, so that the player can't simply buy an endless in-battle health battery, and I would want healing items in general to be expensive enough that full out-of-battle healing in dungeons imposes a significant cost on players. Currently, neither of these are the case in Forever's End, but this is a relatively minor specific tweak setting it apart from very good game balance, and frankly, I've seen plenty of commercial games that don't do as good a job as-is.

Aesthetically, while the graphics certainly can't be compared to current-gen console games, the game makes cohesive, appealing use of the resources available. While the soundtrack draws pieces from several commercial games, they mesh well both with the scenes and with each other, and generally avoid creating a sensation that the game was cobbled together out of pieces which weren't intended to go together. The hand drawn cutscenes may not be rendered in commercial quality, but they still do an effective job enhancing the mood and generally add to rather than detract from the quality of the game.

All told, while the game might be improved with a few minor adjustments, even in its current state I'd recommend it as very worth playing, and I'm eagerly awaiting the future installments.


Pages: 1
Thank you for the really well-written review, Desertopa. I'm sorry for not replying to this sooner, but I haven't been as active on RMN as I used to be. You've made a lot of excellent points, and I really appreciate your view of the game's originality. You're absolutely right about the items, by the way. I've struggled to find that balance between too many and not enough health items. In the past, it wasn't enough, but I fear I've stepped over to too much now. I'll definitely need to tweak things a bit more I think.

I'm very pleased that you enjoyed the game to this extent. I'll be honest with you though, my time lately has been a bit occupied with other things (mainly my YouTube channel which has now become my livelihood) that I haven't been working on Forever's End as much as I used to. And to anyone else reading this, I'm really sorry for not updating this page in ages. I've been so wrapped up with both YouTube and real life activities that I haven't had the time to really make good progress here. I wanna get back in to working on this again, I've had a lot of people help me with the game, and I don't want that work to go to waste. I know a lot of you have been wondering why I haven't released the same game with the new OST. I know it may sound a like cut and paste deal, but it's a lot more work intensive than you might think (many of the old songs didn't get a replacement by Jose's songs, so I've gotta go and find exactly where those songs were played and replace them with other songs. And because this game has been in the works for years, the events and code is a bit of a clusterfuck, making locating every instance a song was used difficult. So I'll have to replay the game a few times to find every instance a song was used). And honestly, I had wanted to include some other bonus goodies such as DHM's animated monster code as well as extending the ending a bit, since I ended this version in a bit of an awkward place, but maybe that's hoping for too much for right now.

Sorry to ramble there. I just wanted you guys to know what was going on. So in conclusion, thank you again Desertopa for the review, sorry to everyone for being so inactive, and I will do my best guys to get you a version with at least the new soundtrack installed (I'll probably have to edit the current released version of the game instead of my main copy since it is full of unfinished content that I don't want people to see yet).
Nico, it's just lovely to hear from you at all, truly. Clusterfuck or not, you've made something that has changed the approach of the general public to creating community games. No one can fault you for diversity in terms of your dedication to this community. No one can fault you for diversifying your revenue, you just have a preposterous amount of fans waiting for the next iteration of your game. Lovely all around.
Glad to hear you're doing well NicoB! I'm just happy that you are still working on Forever's End. Honestly, I was starting to think it was gonna be vaporware.

NicoB, I'm glad you appreciated the review; I was hoping that you'd see it, largely because I wanted you to know your game is still attracting interest from new fans.

Your comment has me curious though, whether save files from the current version of the game will carry over to the next chapter, given that the first chapter isn't in its final state yet. Tweaking the power and/or availability of healing items for instance seems like something that would be hard to reconcile with preserving save files where the player is already carrying large numbers of powerful healing items.
NicoB, I'm glad you appreciated the review; I was hoping that you'd see it, largely because I wanted you to know your game is still attracting interest from new fans.

Your comment has me curious though, whether save files from the current version of the game will carry over to the next chapter, given that the first chapter isn't in its final state yet. Tweaking the power and/or availability of healing items for instance seems like something that would be hard to reconcile with preserving save files where the player is already carrying large numbers of powerful healing items.

That's true. I'll have to think about how exactly I want to handle that. I might just decrease how powerful some healing items are and keep the number received or something. I could remove people's excess healing items, but I don't really want to rob players of stuff they've either discovered or spent their own coin on.

Regardless, I'll do my best to make sure that players can carry over their old save files to the new version without having to start from the beginning again.
Considering what they cost in the game right now, I don't think wasting the money you spent on a reasonable stock of healing items would be a huge loss. On the other hand, I might be biased by spending more time grinding than most players.

(I have absolutely terrible preferences, where I like both grinding and getting ahead of the level curve, and get catharsis from stomping on enemies that are expected to be challenging, but also like being legitimately challenged in combat. I have the most fun in games which offer optional content which remains challenging even if you take advantage of all the avenues the game offers to strengthen your characters, but honestly, I would not envy a game designer who was forced to cater to my whims.)

If you're planning to nerf the game's healing items, I'd think about maybe boosting Goldo's Essence battle skill up to Kinetic Essence or something to keep him from losing too much of his combat effectiveness. As an alternative, or possibly additional option, you might try implementing more restrictive caps for the number of healing items players can carry. The Star Ocean games offered cheap, effective healing items, for instance, but at a cap of 20 in your inventory they weren't an overwhelming asset (although admittedly the huge variety of different healing items offered late in the game kind of defeated the purpose of the cap.)
Pages: 1