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Fundamentals

  • Stress
  • 02/18/2010 09:56 AM
  • 1834 views
Hero's Realm is an RPG lacking an emotionally moving plot, featuring bland characters, horribly basic dialogue, and completely lacking any sort of memorable villain to speak of, and I love it for that, because I'll be damned if I haven't played my share of RPG Maker games written by someone who fancied themselves to be the next great story teller of our time and I can assure you that in every single instance they are anything but that.

However, the sad truth of the matter is that these "designers" (just go write a book already) do believe they are telling you an endlessly enthralling tale and proceed to force upon you a painfully boring story with a tiny forgotten game wrapped in it's over bloated narrative shell as you trudge form plot point to plot point exploring empty towns, bland dungeons, and fighting weak battles that serve as nothing more than a check point on the narrative voyage they want you to take through their amazing story, truly a story the likes of which you have never experienced in your entire life - provided you've never read a book, watched a movie, or seen a play in your entire life.

RPG Maker is a two dimensional, limited technology design program. At most it allows you to make old school RPGs featuring dungeons, puzzles, enemies, battles, and so forth. The tragic thing is everyone tries to do everything they can to ignore the principles of what made these type of games great when designing games with this program.

Hero Story acknowledges the strengths of RPG Maker in ways many designers fail to, granted there are several other designers who have also realized the same thing as Kentona, you know who you are, probably, and can just pat yourself on the back.

Sure Hero's Realm is incredibly derivative, but that's more in a good way, as it's respectfully derivative, and besides, if you want to complain, the author acknowledges the obvious influences in the opening credits. It's only derivative because the creator respects the history of this type of game and understands it deeply. He knows why these games were so fun and why telling a long story in this format more times than not makes for a boring game.

The surprising thing is that this game manages to actually be better than the games it's based off of. It has better pacing than either Dragon Quest III or Final Fantasy V. The class system is infinitely more interesting than those games with more enjoyable skills at your disposal. There are easily infinitely more hidden treasures and places to explore than either of those games. The battles are just as entertaining and just as well balanced as these games. The dungeons are dangerous and varied without being as overwhelming and drawn out as they were in the older games. Of course, this is to be expected when you have several years of advancement in the genre to draw from. I imagine this is the type of game that Square-Enix would be making today if we were living in some weird alternate reality where technology did not advance.

As for major flaws within this game, I'd have to point out the lack of direction in certain parts of the game. Kentona seemed to shy away from narrative so much that it seemed he forgot to make it clear what you were supposed to do next. Though, this could be attributed to my own stupidity, or you could look at this as the designer wanting the player to use their own intuition. Some of the dungeons were a bit TOO short and straight forward. I would have liked more secret passages or perhaps hidden monsters in them. A lot of the loot you find around the world, while fun to search out, is usually pretty lackluster. After 100 chests I'd hope at least one of them would hold a neat item, like a slightly more powerful type of sword, alas, it's mostly Medical Herbs, which you can find at stores for 10 GP anyway.

I'm really nit-picking here though, this game is a blast.

In closing I want everyone to play this game and educate themselves on the true merits of RPG Maker - because I want to play MORE free RPGs very much like this one!

Posts

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Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18062
You just haven't played the right games yet. They're rare to be sure (much rarer than commonly accepted around here) but there are a few RM games that have genuinely interesting narratives. And not all storytellers think they're some storytelling god, just hoping to be entertaining. =)
kentona
One of RMN's Top 10 Admins of all-time
20511
I like how half the review is complaining about other RM games's stories. :D

Thanks for the review! It was an interesting read and I am glad that I came out so favorably when compared to the games it's modeled on!
It's usually more polite to start with the good about the game, and follow with the bad. Because now I'll always remember Hero's Realm as "an RPG lacking an emotionally moving plot, featuring bland characters, horribly basic dialogue, and completely lacking any sort of memorable villain to speak of...".

Also, I don't think saying "Hero's Healm is like FFV, but better" is really a compliment. Games like FFV are completely outdated, and though I enjoyed playing them back then, I couldn't get myself to play such games now. What I mean is... I expected you to be more convincing with " I want everyone to play this game and educate themselves on the true merits of RPG Maker".

Also, I completely disagree with "At most it allows you to make old school RPGs featuring dungeons, puzzles, enemies, battles, and so forth.". There's much more than that.
kentona
One of RMN's Top 10 Admins of all-time
20511
Yeah, when I read that line I was shocked to see that the review score was so high!
Define 'outdated', please.

At least half of what Kentona is going for seems to be something like this:
"'KENTONA' casts 'NOSTALGIA'!
'GAMER' is entranced!"

At -least- half. Possibly more. By that standard, Kentona's work in Hero's Realm is a rousing success - and defining something as trying to trigger the nostalgia button reshapes the definition of 'outdated' a bit, to my mind.
<Old Man Voice>
You kids these days, what with yer fancy pole-ee-gons and yer Eff Emm Vees...in my day, we had plain, flat sprites and tiles! And we appreciated them! Mumblemutteruphillbothwaysmumble...
</Old Man Voice>

And there are some (I'm an example) for whom the style isn't really outdated even now- I grew up alongside the console wars, and have fond memories of the games on the consoles I held. I never even tried to play something styled later than the SNES era until a friend offered me a PC copy of FFVIII he was getting rid of - a copy which took me several weeks to get to playing, because I -had- seen the screenshots in the manual and wasn't too thrilled about the changes.

Well played, Mister Anderson. Well played.
As long as so many people enjoy (and skilfully use) that style, it can't be outdated. It's just one among others, that's all.
Nintendo perfectly understood that when they adapted some of the SNES greatest hits for the GBA, or when Square Enix merely copied and pasted FF VI (or FFIII in the US) for the Playstation.
Even the latest Mario game for Wii looks and works like a side scroller made for the SNES, except that the sprite are 3D.
(By the way, EnderX, FFVIII was awful. Better play FFVI or FFIX instead).

But whatever the style, there is one thing that must not be forgotten: talent. Kentona's , in the present case.
He is one of the most talented game makers here (where there are so many awesome game makers.)
Nostalgia alone can't give the reason why "Hero's Realm" is such an incredible game.
kentona
One of RMN's Top 10 Admins of all-time
20511
Welp, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but thanks!
OK. You have no talent. Happy? :p
I'm actually downloading this game right now because of "an RPG lacking an emotionally moving plot, featuring bland characters, horribly basic dialogue, and completely lacking any sort of memorable villain to speak of..' from the review.

I'm actually one of those people tired of long diatribes that goes on for eternity. Seriously! I mean we're playing a game in a fantasy setting, not taking a class in morality 101. Less yapping and more smiting.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irreedeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
6085
comment=30631
I'm actually downloading this game right now because of "an RPG lacking an emotionally moving plot, featuring bland characters, horribly basic dialogue, and completely lacking any sort of memorable villain to speak of..' from the review.

I'm actually one of those people tired of long diatribes that goes on for eternity. Seriously! I mean we're playing a game in a fantasy setting, not taking a class in morality 101. Less yapping and more smiting.


Damn straight.
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