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Developer:
Run Time
Publisher: Agetec
Platform: PS2
Release Date: September 20, 2005

by Felipe Faria Lemos




RPG Maker III is a difficult game to review, simply because of the fact that it isnít so much a game as it is a toolset to create one. As the name implies, RPG Maker III is an RPG editor, so the player can create anything he or she wants, limited only by the editorís capabilities and imagination.


Developed by Run Time and published by Agetec and Enterbrain, RPG Maker III is part of a game series with a great idea behind it, but the execution is a little awkward. Learning how to use all the options and menus takes a good amount of time, and to create a decent-sized adventure, players will have to spend many, many hours, which will very likely have regular players giving up midway.


There are three different elements that a player will use the most while making a game: the map, events and characters. Maps are all the places a party can walk around (including dungeons, castles, towns, etc.). Events define changes, treasure chests, quests, mode changes and so on. Finally, characters are the hero (or heroes), enemies, townspeople and such. There are many other settings, mostly under those three categories, which make it possible to customize every little detail in a game.


Although customization is great in RPG Maker III, there is an immense number of menus and submenus, which adds up to the learning curve. To make changes effectively, the player has to learn what is where, and some options are found only after scrolling and cascading menu after menu. Sometimes certain changes and options require that a second or third option is selected, related somehow to the first. If the player doesnít understand what is necessary, that particular creation may not be loaded up. The game would be more user-friendly if it corrected such mistakes, filled up the blanks, or made it more clear in what specific order things should be created.


When creating a game, there are 7 steps involved. First, the player has to create the main character. As with all the other steps, there are many sub-categories to choose from and truly customize the hero, such as classes, occupations, and appearance. Second, you create the field map. Again, many options come in place, such as seasons, time of day, weather, etc. Third, place towns and dungeons. Fourth, create events. This really is the backbone of the RPG. It is here that the player can create the script, scenarios, and story details. In the fifth step, basic setup is about done. Here the player can choose the game rules and specifics, such as starting point, prologue, game over, amount of gold, among other options. The sixth step is to run a test play and see what youíve created looks like. Of course, if there are settings you donít like you can always go back and change them. Finally, the seventh step is editing the other database and small details, basically just final touch-ups. This is just a very simple description of all RPG Maker III offers. The potential is really good, and the possible outcomes are seemingly infinite.


While the potential is great, there is a major flaw when it comes to publishing the results of the dozens of hours someone can spend creating a masterpiece. There is no online trading, and the only way someone else can play their game is by copying the save.


There is an obvious trade-off when it comes to graphics and sound in a game like this. There are very generic characters to choose from, bland animation, uninteresting map textures and building styles, and simple sound effects and music scores. This isnít to say that everything is awful. They just arenít anything great when compared to regular games, which can be unfair, since it is mostly a developing tool. There is a good variety of characters, buildings, enemies, dungeons and animations, but nothing is particularly catching or amazing. Gameplay is also the generic, turn-based point system, in which you can alter some specifics, but you are stuck with it.


Another aspect of RPG Maker III people may be disappointed with is that it is only designed to create medieval-themed RPGs. If you would like to create something like Final Fantasy or a futuristic one with high-tech aspects, it is, bluntly said, impossible.


Finally, RPG Maker III isnít for everyone. Most would probably give up on their creations after 40-some-hours in the making. With that said, RPG game masters and RPG aficionados in general probably will fall in love with the incredible amount of customization available. There is plenty of space to create a decent RPG adventure and let your friends be entertained by your masterpiece.


Final Grade: 68%




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