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Can't wait for the finished product

  • 07/26/2009 01:33 AM
I found this game through one of the "best rm games" lists on the forums and decided to try it. I must say, it completely blew me away. I plowed through the entire game and when I finished the demo it left me wanting more.

Even at this stage, Forever's End feels like a well thought-out, and well polished RPG. To start with, the battles actually made you work to win. You'll have to use some strategy to win even the normal battles. Luckily, the items you find in chests and after battle are enough to get you through the game. This game made me nervous on more than one occassion that I would run out of items, but it all works out. I never got a game over during this game, but I had a few characters die.

The bosses are tough, but not impossible. Just about the right difficulty for bosses. You have to be careful and heal both before and after bosses by using the heal/save before the boss. Yes, this is one of those evil games that will make you pay if you don't save and heal after a boss at times. It's your own fault, it actually warns you in-game.

The characters are definitely my favorite part of the game. While Epoch feels strangely similar to Cecil from Final Fantasy IV, as does the plot, he manages to become his own character by the time the demo finished. You get bits and pieces of the other characters such as Elise, Slade, Marcellus, and Alexander. It's not enough to really connect with them completely (minus Epoch), but it really flushes out their individual personalities nicely. It leaves you (notice the title) wanting to see/hear more from the other characters.

This is one of the few RPGs that manages to have some good unique battle abilites. Lee can draw out techniques from his enemies like Kimari's Lancet ability in Final Fantasy X and use them in battle. Another character makes his own items such as grenades and uses his own mp to use those items (all separate from your items thankfully), and also has a restock command which acts as a defend command AND refills his entire MP bar.

Similar to the esper system from Final Fantasy VI, you have books that you can equip that let you master spells if you acquire the right amount of AP (gained after every battle) that, when mastered, makes the spell permanent.

Epoch has his Blade Arts, that are acquired by finding various books throughout the game. You also have upgrade coupons that are found as well, and by talking to the upgrade man, you can redeem them to increase his Blade Arts abilities. Upgrading Aeon Blade to Neo Blade makes it stronger and gives it a stun effect. Very useful in battles.

The plot, at first, is just like Final Fantasy IV. You are the Captain of the Dragon Knights, who has been questioning your King's actions as of late and your place in his army. Ever since his new advisor Marcellus has been with him the King has been acting strangely. He sends you to retreive one of the six crystals from a neighboring nation where you finally decide you've had enough.

There were some enjoyably dark elements to the plot such as one involving Claude that you just don't often see done that low-key, but still had an impact on you. There were a lot of complex and intreweaved elements in the plot that helped it break away from its FFIV roots. Who are The Lost? Who is Marcellus? What does Slade have to do with this? The end leaves you with a lot of questions. We'll just have to wait and see how everything plays out.

Some of the problems I encountered involved the enemies in the dungeons. There were a few times where I was searching for a way to get a chest, but I couldn't get enough time to search because a couple of the enemies had super speed and all the enemies respawn. The Royal Hunting Grounds was easily the most frustrating point to try and find a way to a couple of the chests, but the Desert Ruins had a similar part to it as well. Enemies also tend to get in the way a lot, so you might have to try to lead them one way, then go the other. Also, the respawn time really needs to at least be increased in addition to lowering the walking speed of a couple of them.

While a couple of the dungeons really liked to overuse the walking-under overhangs in a caves for instance, there didn't seem to be much of a purpose to them. I would've liked at least a couple of chests to be hidden in a corner in some of the dungeons to make it rewarding.

The music wasn't looped, and it felt strange when it just stopped for a few seconds and restarted from the beginning. Sort of ruins the mood a bit. With that said, I enjoyed the variety of songs from underused RPGS (<3 the Xenogears music). Even the battle and boss music was switched up from time to time, which is a godsend in some RPGs.

I greatly appreciated the Treasure of the Rudra character sets. Really helped distinguish this RPG from the competition a bit. Staying away from the evil RTP made me happy as well, both in characters AND fx.

Even though it's 150mb in size, it's well worth the download. Hell, it got my lazy ass so inspired that I wrote my first review just for Forever's End.