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The reason why RM2K3 is still a good engine

  • Rixel96
  • 04/27/2013 12:34 AM
  • 2671 views
This game, Starless Umbra, has so much potential it's mind boggling. I mean really, just... I can't even begin, let's just break it up into my regular categories and get this on the road.

Story
The plot is so simple it's crazy but it works so well. Basically, you play as Andoru (does anyone else just call him Andrew? I do) in his search for his sister after they get separated. Simple right? Wrong! There is so much more going on in the background of this story, of this world, it drives me nuts we only get chapter one so far. We have crazy unknown people tell you to do something, that there are secrets lurking in the background of what is happening in the world. An organization takes down a church and apparently the God's are throwing a fit with each other! A simple plot turned deep in the blink of an eye, I love it.
The demo goes from the prologue to chapter one and in that short time we see so much yet so little. We're lost and we're but we're given a bit of a lead into what's happening next. The demo does exactly what it should, gives you a taste and makes you crave more.

I rate the story a 5/5 Just... wow.

Game Play
As far a battling there isn't really much to note as far as today's standards for an RPG Maker game (being not using the regular battle system practically at all) though it does have those tweaks and edits that ever RPG Maker game has. The game comes with it's edits like skills come and go with your weapon and armor and you can eventually learn the ability without the weapon or armor. Besides this there is one thing I found rather neat, a focus system. Basically if you use one character to attack they're gonna piss off the enemies and they'll focus on that character while if you use the other to heal they'll focus on that character less. I found this pretty cool and very logical. I mean, if someone was wacking you with a sword and the other was just chanting some magic juju, who're you gonna hit? (well, unless you're the kind that wants to take out the healer before moving onto the heavy hitters.)

Now, here is what I really wanted to get to. The battle system may be a rather standard but the mini-games. OH! The mini-games! We got a good ol' fashion throw hide then throw a knife when the other person gets out of hiding. We have a carry the person before the wolves get you, and much more! Really if you haven't noticed the mini-games are rather specific and make the game just that much better. And wanna know my favorite part? They make sense! They aren't just these stupid little "move these blocks to the correct position to open the door because that's how the ancient people made their fucking doors!" because that was so fun.
In all seriousness though, if you're the kind of person that plays games for game play and not so much for story, this is still the game for you, the mini-games are so fun and story related it's great.

On a final note the regular moving is even changed with an added running system which can be upgraded by races! How cool is that?

I rate game play a 4.8/5 because the regular battle system still didn't have any super notable changes. Though, thinking about it, maybe that's what he was aiming for?

Maps/Graphics
Oh my god, I forgot I was playing an RM2K3 game with how beautiful the maps are. There's awesome fire animation, rain in areas, a great tint that isn't over or under powering, and the maps themselves are just amazing.
In battle even the enemies are sprites instead of drawings which I LOVE! I mean, it's like you throw in these little sprite dudes and have them fight drawn monsters on a drawn background where nothing looks like it is placed properly. In here even the backgrounds are pixlated. This just adds to the originality of game and I feel is going to start a wave that I know I am latching onto.
All of the sprites and facesets are original and very well put together, the battle animations are great and original, it's all just great to look at.
Now we move onto the out-of-battle animations. Wow! The... gah, I can't even talk about it and make sense without spoiling something... More reason to go play!

Maps/Graphics are definitely a 5/5 For an RM2K3 game this is outstanding!

Music/Dialog
The music was good though obviously it didn't leave an impact on me as I can't seem to remember any pieces in specific. So lets go to the dialog! It was very consistent in what era it appears to be in though it isn't the annoying "Hail traveler! How do you do?!" it was a tad more modern than that but at times it's like poetry really putting the story together. The reaction all of the characters have seem so real, I mean there is your occasional part where the excuse for a character not moving really isn't the best but at times it almost unavoidable. Either way, the dialog was great and the music didn't make any bad impressions so I assume it was good (I tend to remember back things more that good, though I am a very optimistic person)

I'd have to rate the Music and Dialog 4/5 because the music didn't catch my attention but the dialog was very well put together.

Extras
This is truly the reason why RM2K3 is still a VERY good engine to use. There are so many things you can do with it and even today when comparing to all these new games SU still stands up to the challenge, ten years later.
My only real complaint about this game is that it is taking SO LONG to finish. RM2K3 has been out for ten years now and as far as my knowledge goes the project was started in 2003 or 2004, either way it's been a LONG wait. So if you don't want to be hooked and forced to wait don't even download the game, really, once you beat the demo you'll want more no matter what. Let's just hope it doesn't take another ten years for chapter two.

All in all I'd have to rate this around 4.7 to 4.8 for the simple fact it is taking so long to get only this far but the scoring system on here doesn't allow those numbers so I just rounded down. Either way, I HIGHLY suggest downloading this, it proves to be an epic tale.

Posts

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There are many reasons RM2K3 is still good :D
author=sbester
There are many reasons RM2K3 is still good :D
True, very true. Though with all these new games coming out on XP, VX, and now VX Ace how can an RM2K3 game compete? This one really shows RM2K3 is still up to snuff without it being a classic, know what I mean?
author=Rixel96
author=sbester
There are many reasons RM2K3 is still good :D
True, very true. Though with all these new games coming out on XP, VX, and now VX Ace how can an RM2K3 game compete? This one really shows RM2K3 is still up to snuff without it being a classic, know what I mean?
If someone was new to RM, I recommend Ace. The default scripts and settings are amazing, and there is very little 2k3 has over it;
even without the ability to script.
That said, veterans who've been using 2K3 aren't going to be flat-out ignored anytime soon.

Good review ^.^
author=Clareain_Christopher
author=Rixel96
author=sbester
There are many reasons RM2K3 is still good :D
True, very true. Though with all these new games coming out on XP, VX, and now VX Ace how can an RM2K3 game compete? This one really shows RM2K3 is still up to snuff without it being a classic, know what I mean?
If someone was new to RM, I recommend Ace. The default scripts and settings are amazing, and there is very little 2k3 has over it;
even without the ability to script.
That said, veterans who've been using 2K3 aren't going to be flat-out ignored anytime soon.

Good review ^.^


Thanks :D Though the problem with Ace is that it's so much money! Maybe if the person has quite a bit of money to spend or plan to make a commercial game but to the hobby game makers 2k3 is gonna be where they turn to and the fact that this game is still in the process of being made shows 2k3 is still a viable option.
What I am trying to say is basically to encourage not only people to not be afraid to use 2k3 if they don't have that much money, but also encourage people to continue to play 2k3 games, other wise a large portion of the community's newer games will be singled out by all these Ace games.
(Though I suppose you can call me a hypocrite as I am looking into getting VX Ace to make my own game. :P)
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2966
Awesome, thanks for the great review. It's really motivating to hear such positive words.

The battle system is standard RPG-fare, with a lot of potential. I went with something that will eventually become very customizeable as to not overwhelm players early on.

And sorry it's taking so long to finish. There's just too much I'm unhappy with.
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