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Eternal - Play for free at ChooseYourStory.​com

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by Endmaster profile


Web Site

(based on 25 ratings)
7 member reviews

About the Story

The last hope for a dying empire.

This story can be very long assuming you're not dying. Years pass and your surroundings will most likely change. You may very well live a life time in the story.

As with any of my writings, the story comes before the game. However while there isn't a complex inventory and all of that, you can technically "win" by getting one of the epilogues.

There are 13 epilogues total.

There are also several points in the story where there are links that lead to more background information on various people, places, things and events. While not completely necessary to understanding the story, they do give you more insight into it.

Additional Notes: Contains mature themes and language. (rated R). Word count approximately 632,000.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: September 8, 2011
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: ChooseYourStory
Forgiveness Rating: Tough
IFID: Unknown
TUID: y8k6tys4950iowdk


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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 7
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
An extremely long fanfic-style dark fantasy story , December 10, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours
Edit: There are several alternative takes on this game available in the comments.

This story is one of the main games displayed on the front page of ChooseYourStory.com and has been upheld by some in the community as some of their best work.

ChooseYourStory's corpus was downloaded and used to fuel the original AI Dungeon (although the new version, I think, uses other material), and quite a few on IFDB and intfiction were very interested in AI Dungeon, so I thought it would be interesting to see the source of it.

From the outside, the CYS community is very different from the other writing communities I've been in. For instance, the SCP wiki mods, Choice of Games editors and IFComp voters are obsessed with games being free from typos and errors. So in that sense, it's more like the Wesnoth campaigns and creepypasta sites, where the focus is more on just size of writing and worldbuilding.

On the other hand, CYS is one of the communities that seems dedicated to pushing boundaries and allowing things that others consider offensive. Until recently, there were enough stories on there about school shooters to have its own category (Edit: this is not true: see comments for additional details). Games feature a lot of rape or incest (which showed up in AI Dungeon, according to many reviewers), and their forum uses a lot of words which are widely considered as offensive slurs.

This game is an example of all of these things. In content, it reminds me of nothing more than when I started browsing some fanfiction. The worldbuilding is very detailed, and the content is huge. Reading every branch would easily take over 10 hours.

Structure-wise, it's more like a long chapter-based novel where the next chapter is determined by your choices at the end of each section. Choices are usually binary, unless they are 'reference' choices that give you optional backstory. Out of the binary options, one is usually a death. The graph of this game's choice structure would generally be a tree.

In fact, it's almost like three games in one, since one of the earliest (maybe the very first?) choice lets you pick one of three branches that offer different perspectives on the same story.

Content-wise, this is a dark power fantasy. You are essentially like Darth Vader but in a fantasy world, in the sense that you are a ruthless murderer and assassin in the service of an emperor.

The content is labeled as 'grimdark'. There is content in it that I found offensive, especially (Spoiler - click to show)the main character's penchant for violently raping women before killing them, or the way many women want to be raped, the way that the character helps run a concentration camp to eliminate another race, the character's joy in sexually humiliating or physically defacing others, or acting like King David by sleeping with a married woman then killing her husband discreetly. Interestingly, the only thing that the player regrets is accidentally sleeping with an enemy by mistake when she was disguised as his true love, with him later realizing that it was rape and he feels upset.

I generally just stop playing games in these situations, but in this one, the game was oddly distant from the graphic situations, generally because there wasn't a lot of lead-up. I've been deeply affected by traumatic scenes in stories before, but usually because there was a previous investment in character development to make me care for the people involved and an expectation of normalcy established that made the later broken barriers seem shocking. Like Ethan Frome, for instance, which I hated. Or Vespers, the game, which led me to try actions with awful results with no one else to blame but me for typing them in. In this game, it was more like 'you walk into a room and slit someone's throat to establish dominance'. In any case, I only finished so that I could give an accurate report for my first CYS review (although I did review Briar Rose before).

The author himself seemed to eventually tire of the rape-murder fantasies, leaving much of the second half of the game devoted to political intrigue.

My grading scale is not designed for this type of game, but I'll give it a go anyway:

-Polish: There were numerous typos and other errors.
+Descriptiveness: The worldbuilding was detailed and vivid.
+Interactivity: The game had a lot of real choices, with even dead ends having thousands of words poured into them.
+Emotional impact: Not always ones I wanted, but it was there.
-Would I play again? No, and in the future I'll heed the warnings available on the site for various games.

Edit: It should be added that this game has over 8000 ratings and over 400,000 plays on their website, far outstripping any IFComp game.

EditEdit: I should also say that Champion of the Gods is a game I loved that has a fairly similar concept but without any non-consensual encounters. In that game, it was fun playing a wild barbarian, but the justification for it was much stronger. Also, I played this game with a profanity filter in the browser.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Eternal, December 14, 2020
by benholman44
Related reviews: CYS reviews.
This game is one of the first I ever read on CYS, and it's still one of my absolute favorites to this day. The protagonist's inner struggle between the Emperor he's been conditioned to serve since birth, and the increasing amount of evidence that everything he's ever been taught is false, was engrossing to read. Indeed, the character's thoughts and feelings as his mindset slowly shifts from the person he was raised to be to who he wants to become, is so detailed and fleshed out, that you can actually immerse yourself in that pain and self-doubt. Every moment in the game feels special and unique, and the surrounding characters and their motivations are so well-written that their death, treason, suffering, ect. hits you right in the gut. Even his enemies have reasoning for what they do, and the game does a good job of showing you their perspective, until you (and, of course, the protagonist) no longer know what to do. The game isn't some glorified rape and murder fantasy, it's a genuine work of art that deserves to be a best-selling novel, and the fact that we all get to enjoy it for absolutely free is just an extension of the love and consideration that EndMaster put into this masterpiece.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
One of the best, January 8, 2021
When I first read this story, I was searching for a new experience in the realm of story games. I played through quite a number of games where I did not feel much agency as a player. I had to deal with cliché tropes in stories, and the author's personal bias on certain issues. I'm glad to say this is not one of those games. Eternal brought a much needed shock to my tastes. It was simply both pleasing and a joy to read at the same time. It stirred within me various emotions like, anger, frustration, happiness, contentment, etc. For a work to be able to do this is simply astonishing. I truly felt immersed in the world of Eternal, and had control of my player's fate.

Honestly this story is a timeless classic in this medium, and it would be a shame if you did not give this story a try. Come, read and enjoy a new experience today!

See All 7 Member Reviews

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This is version 3 of this page, edited by Zape on 29 December 2020 at 12:54pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item