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A Smörgåsbord Of Everything You Love

Forever's End
It might be easier to list off everything it's not.


Content Warning: This game contains content not suitable for minors or those with a predisposition to trauma. The game developer thought he would artificially introduce drama when the scenes ran dry but was utterly disrespectful in doing so. Read at your own risk.

This promises to be another 30 image review akin to my take on Save Your Mother, so if that's not your thing, the door is probably somewhere behind you. *Pause for dramatic effect* I'm sure they're gone by now. Welcome reader to Forever's End, affectionately known as "that game that ripped off Balmung Cycle and Final Fantasy 4", but it's more than that I tell you! So much more! Let me list off what I found for you to prove that I played it all the way through.

The list of references are as follows:

• Final Fantasy IV, VII, VIII & Tactics
• Suikoden II
• Balmung Cycle
• Everlong
• Demon & Phantom Legacy

I'm pretty sure that's all of it, yet the last thing NicoB heard before he disappeared to do Youtube was "Bro, do you even Cecil?" We need to give Nico more credit than that; this is a man with a well-rounded gaming vernacular, and he more than liberally drew from each in order to realize his magnum opus, Forever's End. How each thing is referenced will be on full display below because I feel it will give this review something that not every review has while also informing the player exactly what they're looking forward to getting.

Let's GO!

Final Fantasy IV:

Starting out with the easy pickings, we have Epoch and his crew of friends who serve a power-hungry king hellbent on obtaining all of the world's crystals. Epoch isn't too pleased about this (especially after torching a village to the ground) and has dreams of letting go of his rank as captain of the Dragon Knights (and no, he's not a Dragoon nor does he wield a lance). He eventually lets go but is pursued around the world by those he left behind because a man can't just retire in peace, he must be KILLED!

Final Fantasy VII:


How's it hanging, Cloud?


Final Fantasy VIII:

Inner monologue and a general "whatever, I'm not a part of your system" attitude about this game. Epoch really is too cool for school and his short spiky locks tell a million stories. He doesn't have much luck with the ladies, but he's got more important things on his mind, like not getting fried by crystal-wielding kings.

Also the fact that you "dream" about people who are on roughly the same quest that you are is a pivotal part of this game's story. Just saying.

Final Fantasy Tactics:

Aside from the pursuit of world changing (and sometimes physical body changing) crystals, the presence of the haughty king who commands dark forces from above is always present. At one point I swear I saw some Zodiac Stones and I had more than enough of Dycedarg's Theme for every scene this man takes center stage in.

Suikoden II:


"Act like a pig! He He He Ha Ha Ha! Die pig!"


Two words: Luca Blight. Two more words? Easily fooled. This is where Elijir makes his typical villainous mistakes, such as letting a child who very clearly has the key to all the power in the world given to him by his dying father off Scott free. Then again, he's not the only one. I had times in the game where it was very clear that the villain had the upper hand or would've responded in a much more violent way yet held back because the hero had to be able to at least limp back to town. That's something you'll see a lot of in Forever's End: plot convenience.


"The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."


Balmung Cycle:

Up until the end? Very little. Then he lifts an area wholesale.


Excuse me, but I believe that's Valhalla.


Everlong:


You keep that unconscious, demon-possessed knight out of this.


And speaking of "demons".

Demon & Phantom Legacy:

Slade the Demon Hunter makes a cameo appearance as an old man. It's too perfect to not be a rip-off, especially when NicoB also uses the same chant that Shadar (he goes by Marcellus in this game) uses along with the Wheel of Reincarnation graphic. Then there's the spinning screen freeze battle transition and all the other sound effects that Nightblade made famous with his series. BEHOLD!


This is rich.


About time you showed up, Deimos.


Heeeeeere's Apollo!


But that's enough of all that, it's time to finally start talking about Forever's End!

Gameplay:

This game makes use of a sort of Limit Break system where a gauge next to your party member's faceset fills up, and once it's full, allows you to use a much stronger skill than your default attack. The only problem with this is the same with every other Limit Break system: you can't effectively postpone using it until an ideal situation and instead have to burn it right away. I wish there was something that could've been done there, but it's the - dare I say - LIMITS of such a system. Doho ho ho.

Then there are the dungeons. Most of them I didn't have any problems with as they were typically woods or mountains, but ones I did have some trouble with were the man-made places like mansions or the Winter Palace, but I beat 'em.


Veni, Vidi, Vici, baby.


But then the Winter Palace happened and I refused to piss away an hour of my life on a statue puzzle that spans half the dungeon.


Story:

There's very little that can be said that hasn't already been said. You, Epoch, are trying to escape a certain death by those you used to serve while you find others on your travels who join you for their own reasons. I'll have to apologize because not a whole lot stood out except for the downright atrocious way it wrapped up with Epoch, Slade and Elizabeth during their scenarios, which I'll go into detail now.

You see, NicoB has (or at least, had) a very poor taste when it comes to male characters respecting their female counterparts. When it's not Epoch creeping on a sleeping woman...


"You smell different when you're awake."


Or having his mind probed by an old man...



His name isn't Epoch, it's Seti.



You've already ran this joke into the ground, NicoB.


There's the absolute worst example of a human being ever.


Way to raise the bar, sicko.



I didn't think I'd need a trigger warning for a review.



But she's totally okay and wants to tell you all about her day after nearly getting raped/murdered and watching a human being lose their life at the hands of her best friend. I CAN'T EVEN AAAAAAAAAGHH!


What makes this scene more despicable is the fact that it cuts immediately to the same cheery, bouncy Chrono Trigger theme after this scene of unspeakable horror. The absolute lowest blow is the fact that Elizabeth isn't even phased by what just happened. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! I thought my head was going to explode watching this scene.

Music:

It makes use of mostly Final Fantasy VIII and Tactics music for most of the important scenes while deviating to some sort of low bit rate marching theme during the beginning. I don't have any complaints with the music as it all fit its scene.

Graphics:

As is immediately obvious by looking at a single screenshot, this game uses all of the Treasures of Rudra graphics it could get its hands on and uses them to an excellent degree.


Very few mapping complaints here, aside from the occasional missing tile.


The most jarring thing about the graphics is that most screens that have bosses also make use of Nightblade's signature screen freeze, and most of these use old versions of the maps which create inconsistencies (such as an entire reappearing awning). I'm sure he just forgot all the changes that he made over time, but it's hard to ignore when you're playing the game the whole way through.

I did, however, massively enjoy the game's use of hand-drawn (most likely commissioned) art work in a comic format to create action cutscenes. That's something I haven't seen any other game do and it really helps Forever's End stand out while many of its other choices keep it looking like more of the same.

And did I mention the beautiful mapping?


Also known as Zelda 2's Death Mountain.


Overall:

Overall (ignoring my biggest complaint issued earlier in the review), it's an okay game. Okay villains doin' an okay job at not blowing it sky high with some shocking moments worthy of a big budget Hollywood movie staring Christian Bale.



All with one big, tragically unanswered question...


What is "Forever's End"?


Gameplay Notes:
• The background is Final Fantasy 4 (doing anything to obtain the crystals then going rogue when things get too deep), the characters Final Fantasy 8 (Epoch is totally Squall) and when Marcellus appears, Demon/Phantom Legacy as he acts just like Shadar. It really all makes sense when you look back and see all of the signatures of Nightblade throughout the game, most noticeably his spinning screen freeze battle transition and all the other sound effects that he made so famous with his games. Others have said that NicoB drew liberally from Magi's "Balmung Cycle" when it came to all of the Treasures of Rudra tiles and character sets, but I feel there's much more that could be taken from here.

• The lightning flashes/windows don't make much sense underground during the raid on Levantia, other than that the graphics are used more than competently.

• The music is used about as well as you'd expect out of an RPG Maker game of this era but the hiss behind a lot of the sound effects is distracting.

• There's a demon hunter named Slade. Oh that's rich.

• Claude commits suicide because he's a coward. NicoB, just no.

• Simon's "sacrifice" in vain? Claude killed him, Claude killed himself, you're in a room with apparently the only survivor of your raid and you're going to use a dead relative as a bargaining chip to get some woman to do what you want her to do? You're the worst, Epoch.

• The Final Fantasy 8 connections continue as you "dream" about three paladins off on a mission. You awake in a bed after surviving a near fatal incident with the big bad evil guy.

• And finally the mysterious guy in the intro makes all the sense. Apparently they're going around the world collecting crystals and destroying everyone they come in contact with, soon to include us. I'm sure there's a title drop in here somewhere.

• While the game starts to come into its own later on, each moment where the villain lets their guard down is highlighted. They let Epoch walk away with Slade even though he's what they came for, while Elijir lets some kid run away after his father gives him something special to protect with his dying wish. You'd think in both instances they'd beat them to tar and demand they get what they came for, but no... Plot convenience over all else.

• What's that, Ziggy? It's a Zodiac Stone.

• Why's it always jumping off roofs? This is the first time you've done it, Sherlock.

• You know, it's kind of funny how there's very clear differences between the final map and the one used for the battle screen transition. Such inconsistencies should've been ironed out.

• "Forever's End... what does it mean?" You're asking me.

• Just when I thought the manor would be the end of the game/demo, nope, 4 more scenarios. *sigh*

• The flashback of Ziggy was probably the best part of the game.

• I think I get it now. "Forever's End" is Atlas's death and possibly the end of all Precursors.

• The Winter Palace is the worst idea for a dungeon ever.

• Oh thank God a man was there to save this woman from getting raped and murdered. Way to write a story, NicoB. Thank you for cancelling and doing Youtube instead.

• What? No cheery Chrono Trigger music for the appearance of the old man while my party gets choked to death by some dark creature. Good to know you have your themes prioritized.

• Slade's Malvir? Wow, I've never cared so little about anything before in my life.

Posts

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Very interesting review. Great use of screenshots. Don't forget FFVI as well though! FE really reminded me of FFVI too: an ensemble cast, each with their own unique skill set, where multiple protagonists are rotated and become the different POV character at different times, including with branching paths.

The writing clearly gets better as it goes. It seems like Nico started the game when he was younger, and the quality dramatically improves as the game goes on. I take your point about the attempted rape scene--another classic instance of the immature male bias in geek culture.

I think the game deserves more stars though. It's a few years ago that I played it, but I still have fond memories of it which stand out, particularly of the characters and set pieces from later in the game, and I look forward to playing it again. A game like that would get more than 3 stars from me.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7655
author=Faenon
A game like that would get more than 3 stars from me.


You're more than welcome to write a review for it if you think it deserves higher. I would strongly encourage you to replay it so that you've got your perspective fresh before you do it, though. It might not be as great as you remember.
True

but putting trigger warnings for some slack anime cliché villain behavior is a little dull, isn't it?
That a pretencious review. Very.
This is a good example of how splitting a review into strict sections tends to do the author a disservice. For example, in the opening few paragraphs this review speaks about the influences other games have had on the storyline and characterisation present in Forever's End. It's decent enough analysis, but it also severely depletes the actual "story" section that comes later in the review. Those two sections could've really bolstered one another were they treated holistically...
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