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Impressive, enjoyable RPG experience with a few flaws.

This review follows the newly uploaded version of Forever's End (as of New Year's 2010 I believe), not the old, nigh unplayable one. The purpose of this review is to:

1) Give information to those interesting in downloading and playing the game.
2) Provide feedback to NicoB in hopes of him improving the game.

This is my first review of an RM game. It's a bit long. Hope I don’t sound like I’m rambling the whole way through, and I hope you like it!


The story starts off as one giant cliché storm and does not let up until a few hours pass. If you’ve ever played a JRPG, then expect to see plenty of reused plot devices and character archetypes. It gets better. After a certain point the characters start to show a bit more (and deeper) personality, and the plot really picks up one its own.

Most of the story concentrates on Epoch Lander and his struggle between morals and following orders. Joining him is Elise Alkenridge, who is probably the main heroine of the game and a girl with mysterious powers. An interesting note is that the story does not follow Epoch all the way to the end of the demo. At a certain point you will play as a character in a flashback(?) sequence. At another point you play as a young boy named Lee on the run from Evil Empire, with the help of a talking goblin named Goldo. Of particular note is a sequence where you briefly play as another character.

On the antagonist side, we’ve got King Richard, an evil king bent on gathering MacGuffins (and they HAVE to be crystals!) to conquer the world. There’s also a mysterious shadow monster race called the Lost (probably the most interesting villain so far), a hooded man (…yes), a demon hunter named Slade (is it a requirement that every RM game have a character named Slade?) and an evil advisor named Marcellus, who seems like the main adversary to Epoch and crew. I am guessing his demise involves him getting raped in some basement by a leather-covered manchild. Or not.

No, but seriously, the story does get better in the second half of the game. Characters start to get much more interesting, new plot threads appear, and there are quite a few twists that appear out of nowhere. Twists! Hell yeah! Sometimes the pacing felt a bit off: there were no towns until about a few hours in, and a cutscene bombardment occurs at one point. Still, this is no big problem as it goes with the flow of the game.

Maybe some reworking of the first few hours of the game could work. Especially try to make the characters appear more interesting and less cliché (I was already sick of Epoch whining about what is right and wrong in his head before leaving Rikalia Castle). Flesh out some characters, add depth and personality and stir away from the same old archetypes we see in Final Fantasy and other big-name commercial RPGs. You seem to be able to figure it out and do this later on in the game, so why not give the first few sections similar treatment?

+Interesting setting.
+Some grammar mistakes, but effective writing overall.
+Protagonists and antagonists have huge potential.
-Cliché storm story so far, which only gets good halfway through.
-Characters without much personality, could use a bit more development.


Aesthetically superb is all I can say. There are two mapmakers, and you’ll be able to tell when you see the maps later on despite the fact that the same chipsets were used. Rudra looks great, and NicoB’s maps still look terrific. I suggest not worrying too much about mapping at all, whatever’s in there does the job perfectly. There are a couple areas which use standard Mack and Blue / RTP chipsets, but they seem to fit in well. I can’t see a game of this scope using only Rudra in the completed version, so it’s only fair.

Not much to say about characters and animations. There’s lots of cool effects, especially in cutscenes later on. Skills look great when used in battle (though spells seem a little simple). I didn’t understand why some guards were charsets pasted into monster designs (Hyuga), some guards were FFVI guards which looked like giants compared to Hyuga and his buddies, and some were cartoony-looking Rudra guard rips.

As for design, it’s pretty and pretty top-notch. There’s lots to do here—a stealth mini-game that’s actually pretty fun, useful items in treasure chests, being able to camp out and interact with characters on the world map, and other neat little features. There are only two towns (more like one since the other is just a preview) but they feel complete and lively. I also liked how there were no towns in the first half of the game, it seemed like a break from the regularity of most traditional RPGs, which is a plus in my book.

Dungeons, while neat, are pretty simple overall, with nothing mind-bending about them. I hope in the future you add some more puzzle, or clever design segments. Something like that stealth section.

Also, points for monsters on the screen that chase you when they see you and go back if you run far enough.

+Exceptional map design with little flaws.
+No random encounters.
-Dungeons are mostly simple and straightforward.
-Some mismatching/clashing problems.


Those who played the first demo of Forever’s End will most likely be glad to hear that the difficulty has been toned down quite a bit. The first demo was extremely hard, but not challenging, just tedious. In this demo, random encounters are quick and painless (no longer am I spamming Epoch’s Atom Slice as it’s the only thing that does damage), boss fights are much easier to handle, and the flashback dungeon is actually possible now (okay, I’m exaggerating, but I could not get past that without cheating). You also have easier access to items, and a new gameplay addition simplifies things even more while keeping the game unique.

The latter addition is the monster capture system. In the game, each dungeon consists of several enemy encounters and you have the ability to trap them in crystals, which can then be used as battle items, or can be traded in to a monster collector for valuable items. Capturing a monster is simple, but requires a couple different items: a Scan Crystal (which can be used on any enemy to identify their HP totals, weakness, etc) to gather information, a food item, and a capture stone. When you scan the monster, you will be informed of the type of food they prefer. Now, use that particular on the enemy and they will begin eating it, after which you can use the capture stone to acquire that monster’s ability stone. You’ll want to use and abuse this system, because not only are the monster abilities immensely powerful, but trading monsters in nets you some rather awesome items or equipment. Also of note is that every time you scan a new monster, you gain scouting points. Get enough of these to raise your scouting level and be able to fight new fiends on the map. In one instance I was able to fight an optional boss which I believe only appeared when your scouting level was high enough. Very cool.

Unfortunately, this system has some problems, again relating to the game’s difficulty. For one, you can use the monster abilities more than once – I’m not sure how many times as it doesn’t say (let the player know in the future version). This makes them a bit cheap, especially the powerful damage dealers such as Kaasht and Tundra. Two, and more importantly, is that capturing a monster is 100% guaranteed once you feed them their food, provided you are at a high enough level, which you will almost always seem to be. There is no chance of failure. This means that you can simply throw a food item at a certain monster giving you trouble and then capture them, erasing them from the battlefield completely. While I did not run into any enemies that gave me a hard time, in future versions this could be a cheap tactic to winning a battle. A suggestion would be either to make the % rate higher depending on how hurt the enemy is, or higher depending on your level.

Have I talked about the battle system at all other than capturing enemies? No? Oh yeah, well the battles are fun and fluid. Epoch, Lee, and Goldo are unique in that they have different fighting styles. Epoch has to learn new skills through magazines which he can then upgrade, Lee draws skills from enemies which he then keeps permanently (again with 100%), and Goldo can steal tools from enemies that he can use to make new items, which only he can use but cost MP to be used. I’m not sure what Elise’s unique role is, but she seemed like a genuine spellcaster to me.

Another cool addition is being able to equip books to learn new skills from winning battles, similar to Starless Umbra’s magic learning system. I liked how the books were real classics like Dante’s Inferno, which teaches fire, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for water. I look forward to equipping Stephen Colbert’s I am America! in order to learn the ultimate magic.

Other than that, everything about the gameplay is right on, without any big issues. The big problem again is the difficulty, as the game is absolutely too easy. I did not get a single game over, and every single boss fight was a joke. I did fight every single enemy in the dungeon beforehand though. This is encouraged of course, since you not only get something special for clearing out an area, but so you are able to capture every monster and get even more neat things. Since regular battles are so simple it is easy to clear out an area, which then means you’d be ready to wipe the floor with the boss of the area. Then again, I’m pretty much a completionist and not everybody is the same way, but I just breezed through the game with only the desert ruins being a little harder than anything else. Also, Lee is an absolute GOD in battle, and when you get Goldo you are unstoppable.

One last thing, even though the game needs some balancing, it is still miles better than the original version. In the original I could not get past the desert ruins because I was out of items and the enemies were brutal. I had heard the bosses get even more frustrating after that point. If anything, you could make the bosses in the new version offer quite a big challenge, but keep regular enemy encounters the same difficulty.

+Excellent, polished battle system.
+Different characters with unique battle skills and abilities.
+Cool monster capturing mechanic.
-Too easy.
-Monster capturing can be abused.


This is commercial game music, so expect to recognize many tunes. Again, a lot of it fits well into the game, and some tracks that I barely heard in their own games were used to good extent here, which made me like them even more. Much of the music is from Shadow Hearts (Covenant I believe). All of the battle themes including the boss themes are, I believe, and so are the world map and title screen themes. It's almost as if you were making a Shadow Hearts fangame, so I dunno, maybe get some variety in there? Other than that, there's also some Final Fantasy, Chrono, and ARMs in there, and some original pieces. I despise popular game music in midi form in video games, and fortunately Forever’s End uses all .mp3 quality themes.

I liked that there were different battle themes, and a handful of different boss themes. Really cool when you don't have to hear the same boss themes over and over - the theme played during the sewer boss deserves mention because it is absolutely AWESOME. I know it's from Shadow Hearts but which one? Whatever, it's AMAZING and should be used for the best, most epic fights in the full version. Okay, maybe not, but you really did a good job picking out some of the songs.

+Good choices for music.
+All high quality; no midis.
-Overdosed on the Shadow Hearts music – actually this is not really a bad thing, just an observation…


I took off some points because some sections felt a bit incomplete, besides the last town which was fine since you warned us about it anyway. I believe there was an inaccessible treasure chest in Namu Pass. There was also a skill I learned from a monster with Lee that popped up as something else.

Let’s see what else:

-Goldo should have a Scan Crystal ability at some point.
-There should be a merchant in the desert ruins. I ran out of scans and couldn’t get all the monsters there.
-There is a music glitch in the Royal Hunting Grounds, or maybe not as I’m not sure you intended for it to be this way. When you enter, there is no music, and after a battle you hear the world map music the rest of the way. It changes to the dungeon music when you get to the save point and stays like that for the rest of the dungeon.
-Is there a monster encyclopedia anywhere, or have you not added it in yet? I thought I saw a screenshot.

Nitpicking aside, it’s a great game and I look forward to the completed version. In terms of overall game design, what you’ve crafted is impressive, and I believe you have the potential to finish this. The story, while starting off rather lame, also seems to be gradually getting stronger.

It is a lot of work, and it seems like quite the ambitious project, but I have faith in you. This is currently one of the best traditional RM games out there, and it has potential to be one of the greatest projects in 2K3 if it is completed.

Final Score: 35/40 = 4.375/5, rounded to 4.5


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I love you, Eliminator. I'm totally serious. This is the most informative, well-written review I've received thus far. I know it must have taken awhile to type this all up, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is truly a magnificently constructed review.

Alright, I'm going to do my best to address everything you pointed out to me as concisely as possible.

I was always a bit unsure about whether I stressed Epoch's internal conflict a bit too much. No one mentioned it in the previous demo, so I decided to leave it mostly untouched, but after reading this and a few other such comments, I see it is definitely in need of revision. The intro will be revised, I promise.

The cliche-ness has been an issue since the game's inception. I know many of you are probably wondering why I am even using this plot convention at all. In truth, Forever's End has been the first and only game I've worked on. It began as a simple project to test out the system, but as I got new ideas, I just built upon the original story. I've been constantly questioning whether to ditch the original crystal plot device, but I don't want to because:

1) The game has been out so long and played by so many people, I don't want to keep making drastic changes to the plot line and confuse everyone.
2) I really don't want to keep making huge changes to the original story, because it will prevent me from ever really finishing the game.

I will definitely improve character development like you said and try my best to make the dialogue less cliche; I hope this is enough to make the game less predictable and more enjoyable. Maybe I should change it to something other than crystals, I don't know. I am at a bit of a quandary. But, moving on.

Yeah, I changed the guard sprites for the Hyuga fight because it looked weird having two giant guards and tiny Hyuga. I'll have to do something about that. The dungeons will definitely have better puzzles later on; I have some good stuff planned for Lyonell.

The game is pretty easy for anyone who is a completionist like myself and you. Last time, I tried to make a game that basically encouraged you to explore, but everyone (aside from a few people) were really turned off by it. Now I am afraid of making it too hard!

Farnstein mentions in the beginning that you can use a capture sphere three times before it breaks, but I guess I should have emphasized it more. I didn't want to have it break after one use, because then it would make monster capture feel more like a chore. But maybe I should reconsider. Also, I will try to figure out a way to make capture not as easy, though I am rather against random capture failures. I'm really glad someone got some enjoyment out of the system; I hadn't heard much about it until now, and it was a bitch to program.

Yeah, sorry about the overdose of SH music; I just wanted to soundtrack to be consistent for the most part. I will try to mix it up more if I can .

Sorry, to drag on. Thanks so much for the list of bugs, and other issues. This review is going to be immensely helpful in improving my game, and I promise to address everything mentioned. Thanks again! :D
Keep in mind I haven't played the game myself yet. (Though I plan to after this review; great review Eliminator.) In regard to the monster capturing system, do you still gain full experience when you capture a monster? (versus killing it.) I dunno, perhaps reduced (or no) experience might get the player wanting to outright kill the monster instead of just going for the cheap ko with capturing?
o_o I think that's a great idea! I will see if I can implement that. Thanks Racheal!
Thanks for the positive comments guys! I hope the review provided you with much solid feedback (which it seems like it did)

Don't worry about the story too much, you don't have to go back and change a lot of things, it would just take time and extra motivation which could be used instead for new mapping and scripting. You COULD do this for the story: instead of starting out in Rikalia Castle with Epoch getting ready to go on a mission, have the game start out with Epoch in the prison cell, talking to the guy next door. Then, have Epoch flash back to where you originally start the game to show what had gone on. This does a few things:

1) Make the story more interesting in this section. The player may suddenly be intrigued as to why Epoch is in the cell of the kingdom he used to work for.

2) The transition from the fight at Levantia would not be so sudden (suddenly Epoch is in the cell!) because it's really Epoch flashing back to the situation.

3) It also stresses the importance of the man in the cell next door, somewhat.

4) If you ever plan on dividing your game into segments (as in chapters or such) this flashback sequence could be like the prologue.

Just a suggestion. This way you wouldn't have to go back and change dialogues, plot devices, etc. because this little change could actually contribute a lot to make the story a bit better, in my eyes.
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