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Definately Worth Playing (UPDATED REVIEW!)

  • Sated
  • 01/08/2009 04:09 PM
  • 340 views
Griever (re)plays Forever’s End:

Gameplay: 10/10

First off, battles are much better than they were the first time I played this game. They are now very entertaining and it is clear that the developer has put a lot of effort into diversifying them since the release of the first demo. Balancing is the key here, I believe, as the battles are balanced much better now than they were the first time I played through this game. The insistance was that the player required a skill early on and that I had simply missed it on my first playthrough, but now the player is given this skill as a matter of priority the balancing seems a little less skewed (if a skill truly is vital, it shouldn't be hidden away in a corner somewhere). Don't be fooled, though, as it isn't just this that makes the balancing better. The fact is that the balancing is much better in general: the first boss battle is no longer a complete bitch, enemies are threatening without being overpowered and the heroes are suitably-skilled to exploit enemy weaknesses when they are present (by which, I mean, the game doesn't give you loads of enemies with x-weakness before x-type attacks are available to your party, making any sort of strategy that could be employed null and void). This keeps battles strategic and also makes it so that when new elements are introduced it really does feel like your abilities are expanding. The effect is obvious.

Battles have improved in other ways, the most obvious being the addition of new features in-battle, such as the monster capture system and the scouting system, that add to the fun of battles immensely. Giving the player more to think about that just space-bar mashing their enemies into dust is always a good thing and these systems are an extremely welcome addition. The monster capture system is especially impressive as it doesn't just diversify the in-battle gameplay, it diversifies gameplay on the area-map too. Being able to capture monsters makes battles less monotonic, sure, but having to properly explore to make sure you get all the monsters in an area caught before leaving also adds another level to the gameplay. That the rewards for doing so are sufficiently impressive that they are worth the work you need to put in is just the icing on the cake, and this is also true of the feature that makes it so defeating all the enemies in one area will reward the party with stat-increases or a similar bonus. These two features boosts the area-map gameplay by giving you a reason to explore other than the occasional item in a chest. Sure, the incentives are essentially the same (items/stats) but they are presented to you in a variety of ways and that broadens the gameplay.

Enemy encounters themselves have also improved since the last demo. Back them, enemies just mindlessly charged at the hero all the time, but now a simple system has been put into place that makes enemy encounters much more strategic. Basically, enemies will either follow their own path or they will chase the hero when the hero gets close enough. Enemies that follow their own path can be dodged easier (as if you'd dodge them when you can get rewards for catching/killing them though!) and enemies that chase you eventually run out of steam and stop, allowing you to get the initiative in battle against them if you attack them in this state. It is very simple, as I already said, but it means you need to keep a proper look out for enemies to make sure you get the advantage in battle. Keeping the player interested in the area they're in is key to keeping them playing your game and this simple system does just that.

So, the fighting has improved and the area-maps manage to keep you interested with a variety of small features. What about the other things, like puzzles and dungeon-design? Well, these aren't too shabby either, but that was true of the first demo. These features didn't really need to improve, they just needed to have a continued presence. They do, the new maps I have played kept me entertained in the same way the older ones did. I suppose you could say that when puzzles are present they tend to be of the simple kind and that they tend to be puzzles we've seen in a lot of other games (raising/lowering water levels in sewers, for example), but this doesn't bother me. They're solid and they keep me entertained.

I don't have enough good things to say about how much the gameplay has improved since the last demo and this is obviously reflected in the score for this section. I think that every issue I raised in my last review has at least been considered and several areas of the gameplay are now better because of the implementation of the suggestions made both by me and by the other people who've reviewed/commented on this game. A lot of the issues were mentioned by more than one person and how much this game has improved as a result just shows that more reviews are desperately needed in this community - they really do help developers get better! This game is now much tighter as a result of the comments it has recieved and I don't have any complaints with the gameplay anymore (except that the aforementioned sewer map is too laggy, but I hear that is already being sorted out!)

Characters: 9/10

I like the characters in this game. The main character’s internal struggle is well portrayed throughout the start of the game and the support character’s are also well fleshed out. The non-playable characters are also pretty well written, Marcellus being one of the stand-out characters in this respect. He just gets better and better with time, the "power-behind-the-throne" archetype being portrayed perfectly throughout each and every scene he is present in.

Speaking of power and thrones, the King himself is another character who just gets better as the game goes on. His insanity comes across a lot better than I thought it did in the first demo and I think this is a result of the increased length of the game (and the resulting higher number of scenes that the King is in) rather than any "actual" changes. Now I have seen him over a longer period of time I can see where his development is going a lot better. I said before that he had a lot of potential as a character and that it seemed to be being waste, but that potential is now being fulfilled.

The only problem I had character-wise in the previous demo was with Elise and this is still the case, although how much it bothers me has lessened quite a lot. This is because, as a character, I think she is beginning to be well fleshed out. It is also because I think that her backstory is good and this gives me hope that when some of the major story-arcs start being resolved I will get answers that sufficiently explain her early in-game choices.

Storyline/Setting: 10/10

"Why does it always have to be snakes crystals? Why does it have to be crystals and someone intent on using them for the forces of evil? Why does it have to be crystals and a monarch influenced by a dark, unexplainable power behind the thrown? It’s not cool anymore. Fortunately, this game somehow manages to rescue itself from this pit by interweaving some other interesting plotlines in with the main one, and also by pulling off the cliché well.

Settings, on the other hand, are definitely well pulled off. For instance, in a village the main character is attacking at the start of the game you see people running into houses, guards trying to ambush you rather than just standing in a street waiting for you, villagers who genuinely fear for their lives. It is very believable, as are the other settings the characters are forced into. Nothing really needs to be changed in this aspect."

This is what I said about the storyline/setting in my previous review and it is very much the case that the game is preventing the crystal cliché becoming an issue. Having seen more of the game, the crystals are starting to be a really minor part of the storyline for me. In the previous demo, the threads of storyline that were being laid down were good. Now they are developing and intertwining with each other they are becoming more and more gripping. The storylines developed revolve much more around the characters than the crystals and these storylines are so gripping and interesting that I have little time to care about the crystal cliché.

I want to know what happened to Slade to make him work for the King. I want to know how the King died. I want to know what the King has sent Slade to look for. I want to know more about Elise and her power over the crystals. I want to know why an extremely powerful man is using a King as a puppet when he could clearly get the crystals himself. I want to know why an old Paladin is being shown to the main protagonist in his dreams. Etcetera. The demo leaves me wanting to know more and this is the best thing a demo can possibly do as this is the main thought we aim to evoke by releasing demos.

The higher score in this section reflects how impressed I am with the storyline progression, I think.

Graphics/Mapping: 6/10

"The graphics in this game are, overall, pretty good. There aren’t many clashes in the chipsets used and the character sprites pose and respond how you’d expect them too. The cutscenes are also pulled off well, especially those that are performed within the battle system, with the graphics in battles also looking rather sharp.

The mapping, however, had two of my biggest gripes contained within it. First of all, maps that I can walk to the edge to and be stopped by the end of the map. A field does not just magically stop at the edge of your map. Neither does a town and neither does a cliff. Either drop the lazyness and map more field/cliff/town or make it so I can't get to the edge of the damn map! Confusing passability was the other major flaw included in this game, the kind of confusing passabilty where a hero capable of cutting down monsters and soldiers isn't able to walk over a small patch of flowers. Erm, say what?"

All this is still true. The graphics are competent but there are a lot of little flaws that you will notice the more you play. Passability is a big issue as there is a lot of weird passability - you can quite often get to places you're clearly not meant to be able to and, although this is never advantageous or disadvantageous, it is pretty irking. Other little things, such as the battle animations not reacting to the tinting that is being used in a battle, will be easily spotted and noted as you play through the game and - although the gameplay is good enough they'll never make you put the game down - they will bother you slightly.

However, like I said, the gameplay is too good for these little errors to matter. They don't break they game, they just make it slightly less pretty to look at.

Music/Sounds: 9/10

Both the music and sounds in this game are top class. The sounds in battle are especially worth mentioning and I really don’t have enough praise for them. The only bad sound effect I mentioned in my previous review has been fixed and I am impressed with the choices made in this area.

However, although I am impressed with how well the music and sounds reflect the things they are supposed to reflect and although I am impressed with the moods the music manages to evoke, I have to point out that some people will not be equally impressed. Why? Because a lot of the sounds are so familiar. The so-called "Square-sin" is committed a number of times and most sounds are taken from immensely popular sources (for instance, the flute used to call a merchant on the world map uses a certain Zelda tune). This does not bother me, it never has so long as the music/sounds are used correctly, but it does bother some people immensely. If you are one of those people then knock several points off here.

Overall: 9/10

The improvements made since the last demo are immense and I can't recommend this game enough. The battles are definately the stand-out section thanks to the features added to them, features that make the battles more interesting and also make area-map exploration much more rewarding and fun. However, this game isn't all about a solid battle system. It has a genuinely gripping storyline and I cannot wait for the next installment of this game to be released. I literally want it right now and if you play this game too you'll see why - and probably end up feeling the same way.

The half-a-star this game has lost is purely because of the graphical issues. I have to because it is an issue, but the game is brilliant regardless.

This better not end up a cancelled project.

Posts

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This game looked good just by looking at some of the screenshots but if battles are ridiculously unbalanced then I'm afraid it loses most of it's appeal to me. Of course I can open up RPGMaker and lower the HP of the enemies if the game's not locked.

Thanks for the informative review! :D
ZPE don't give up on it just yet. I don't think Fallen-Griever got Epoch's starting skill which is pretty much necessary in order to proceed. Just so no one else runs into the same problem, it's in the chest in the room next to Epoch's at the start of the game.
Thanks for actually replying to my concerns(not a lot of game makers do that...). I just don't why this critical skill isn't forced upon the player really because not everyone is a "I must check everything" type of player.
Yeah, it's definitely something I'm plan on changing before my next release; poor assumption on my part.
Basicly this is a nice game, but I will agree with ZPE that the first boss has way too much health points. I'm referring to the one in the cave that drops down on the party. Needs to be more easier to kill (or give the part better weapons/and or skills).
Well, it seems the dificulty is set to be appropriate to the work the player does, like most final fantasies, which makes your work doing side quests pay off at the end...

If you didn't like the first boss you should try the first hidden enemy, a huge dragon with 4k hp and you only have the protagonist and Elise (think that's her name), ant the guy can 1 hit ko you, so you have to use a lot of revives, and that is when you did most of the side quests, like capturing every monster, looked for hidden loot like the titan shield in the first scenario (I still wonder how much hiden stuff I didn't find)....off course if you use scan you can check the enemies weakness, which can turn a very hard battle into cake (remembers final fantasy and megaman games <3)



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