RPG Maker 3
Distributed By: Agetec
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
I came across RPG Maker 3 while doing one of my random game hunts at my local store. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to purchase it right away and since it was encased in a glass cabinet, I didn’t have the opportunity to study it, but I was intrigued. I promptly went home and did a little research on the game and within minutes, I was purchasing it online, already imagining what I could create once the game arrived.
The premise of the game—which is more a giant, create-a-mode than a game—is to let you, the player, construct every aspect of a role-playing game that you can later play according to the story that you set up. Every detail of the story, from the field upon which you will roam, to the towns’ people, to the castles, to the barrels that litter the streets are yours to create. Divided into four main sections—The World, Story and Rules, Characters & Items, and Data Management—RPG Maker 3 will guarantee you hours of play, trying to get your world exactly right.
The most intricate part is the world creation, in which you can actually choose the elevation, texture, density, and so forth of the land. Here you will need a slightly artistic hand to better create the field upon which your world will be held. You don’t need to be great artist, but the ability to draw a straight line does help—trust me. With that prerequisite, you will mostly just need imagination, to sculpt the landscape.
After the castles and towns and so forth are created, you can make the characters, classes, monsters, and items, in the before mentioned Characters & Items section. This could have been really fun, if there were enough options with which to tweak your character, but sadly, there was not. You’re given a vast amount of choices on your character’s statistics, magical powers and weaponry, but not so much on appearance. The class system is equally lacking. While you are able to choose from predetermined classes such as ‘Guard’ and ‘Adventurer,’ and constructing your own class from scratch, there is really little difference between the two, as the abilities provided to your created class don’t vary too much from the prefabricated models. The monster creation has the same drawbacks, even if there are more monsters from which to choose as your enemies. The item creation mode was interesting, but could have faired better if there was an option to literally construct your own items, weapons and armor, instead of just renaming existing, prefabricated items.
After this, you go to Story and Rules to…well set up your story and your rules. I confess that I can not give too much detail on this section as it was far too confusing and time consuming for me to stomach for too long. It did look interesting, but by the time I arrived at this point, I was raw with frustration and really wanted little to do with the whole affair anymore. In this section you basically get to construct your cut scenes and background story using your characters’ images, some background shots, special effects and dialogue boxes. To what extent this function can be utilized, I can not say, because it was a chore just getting a two second long introduction done without wanting to pull out my hair. I imagine if you had the patience, to make an introduction, conversation dialogues, cut scenes, and all the intermediate scenes that help to progress an RPG, then you could do some interesting things with this feature. I, unfortunately, was not that patient.
And of course, Data Management, if you haven’t guessed, is where you load and save your game in progress. Be sure to actually go here and save the whole thing before turning off the system. All the other things you ‘saved’ is only temporary until you save here.
For people like me, who need a break from playing God, RPG Maker 3 has kindly included a demo game already built in, to give you an idea of what can be done with the tools given. Sadly, even this prefabricated game falls short of expectations and is a mirror for the colossal failure your create-a-game is sure to become.
The controls are simple, but far from fluid. In fact, the character’s movements tend to be choppy and I found it a struggle just to get him to turn around. The graphics are of the quality of an online game circa 1999, and the music is bland and annoyingly tedious.
The options given toward creating your characters are severely limited, with almost no breathing room to make a truly unique character. And while the options given toward creating the scenery and towns are far more varied, they still leave much to be desired as you can not change anything about a particular structure itself except for the color.
All in all, the game offers some interesting opportunities for those of you who wish to spend days of your lives constructing predetermined castles over horribly drawn landscapes—horribly drawn in my case because I can’t draw a stick figure, let alone a landscape—and filling your world with the best three or four monster groups they allow you to put and a host of generic townspeople, just to see a poorly animated online game on your home console. If that last sentence did not get your world-creating mind buzzing, don’t bother getting the game. If you have the patience and imagination to make gold out of crap—and I’m sure it’s possible with the right mind—by all means, buy the game and let your mind create. If you can make a good game out of the sticks and stones thrown at you in this game, you had better apply for a job at a gaming company and see what you can do with some real software.