RPG Maker 3 Review

Developer: Agetec Publisher: Agetec
Release Date: September 21, 2005 Also On: None

Gamers are very picky. I know, because I am one. We want good, fun games and don’t care how we get it as long as it’s there. Very few gamers actually think about that last part. I’m here to say, after spending countless hours with Agetec’s RPG Maker 3, that I appreciate developers a whole lot more and I am well informed on how difficult it really is to make your own video game.

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As I said, this isn’t a game. This is a designer’s tool that is available for people hoping to be developers in the future. In that sense, Agetec has provided a great little package. RPG Maker features several tools and provides so many different things to do that it is entirely possible to spend hundreds of hours making a game to call your own. You can create character classes, then characters to put in those classes. You create items and set their price, uses, and who can use them. You make your own special attacks, enemies, cities, dungeons, world maps, events, and cut scenes. There is a ridiculous amount of things to do and it’s completely up to you, the designer, to make use of the tools and come up with a good game.

Unfortunately, as I said, making a game is pretty damn hard. Agetec doesn’t make it much easier with how they set up a few things. For example, making different events and linking them together is one of the hardest things I think I’ve ever done. Maybe it’s so difficult to me because Agetec’s developer lingo doesn’t register or come close to being comprehensible, but anyone with experience should probably slide through the menus with ease. Once I got the hang of it, it wasn’t too bad; linking conversations and options together with battles and other events wasn’t all that tough after a few hours of practice. Luckily, it is always possible to Play Test your game and find errors in code, which is easily accessible in the Editor menu.

Another thing that might require the use of a spreadsheet program (like Excel) or just writing down numbers is keeping track of attributes and parameters. While making characters and monsters, it is extremely important to remember levels, HP, attack powers, and the like. After all, you don’t want to have a tough time with monsters at the start of the game because you set their HP too high or their attack power up. Alternatively, you have to be sure to keep them challenging. That was my problem; I made all of my enemies rather easy and battles ended in two or three turns.

The biggest problem with RPG Maker 3 is that it looks and sounds as ugly as sin and the in-game controls are the same horror. The graphics are very archaic, which isn’t surprising. Still, I was hoping for at least a slightly better-looking presentation. For example, there are over 50 animation effects available when making an attack. I tended to not use them, simply because they look awful. The character models are boxy and some of the different color variations are ridiculous. The music is repetitive and generic as could be, and the sound effects are similarly generic. I’m not expecting graphics or music on a Final Fantasy level, but I thought that the character models and environments could look a little better than they do.

Last of all, the controls are awful. By default, your on-screen character during your game walks at a snail’s pace and only speeds up while holding the triangle button. Walking around a town feels almost like driving a go-kart because there is no way to turn around without making a circle and then heading in an opposite direction.

A very important thing to note is that buying or even playing RPG Maker 3 without a USB keyboard is a foolish choice indeed. I mentioned that it takes a long time to put things together, and that time is increased tenfold without the use of a keyboard. Even if you hunt-and-peck on a keyboard, you won’t wear out your controller and your hands by typing in conversations with a controller.

Despite a lot of superficial complaints, however, RPG Maker 3 is the best way to put your imagination into a playable game. It might be ugly, but it’s yours. My game was incredibly stupid, but for every minute of frustration, I’d later have a feeling of accomplishment any time I got something to work. Naturally, I’d recommend this to gamers interested in putting their ideas into virtual reality. If you’re impatient, give it a try. You’ll probably still spend hours on the game, even if you despise what is produced.

Graphics: 5
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 8.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 7
Written by Cliff Review Guide

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