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I make bad decisions a lot in my life; I’ve electrocuted myself (unintentionally) at least once, almost blinded myself with battery acid (unintentionally), and then there was that one incident with the potato salad that still haunts me to this day. Among this series of bad decisions was a whimsical idea to include reviews of RPG Maker games to the site, since they are not only numerous and varied, but also very difficult to actually tell the wheat from the chaff without investing a great deal of time wading through bucketloads of the things.
Behold, your new hero: I stand ready to dig through the mountains of garbage, looking for the few diamonds hidden in the acres of rough. To begin with, I picked a game entirely at random with no real thought behind my decision, settling on Eternal Destiny.
Available On: RPG Maker (PC) (2011)
RPG Maker Version: RPG Maker VX Ace
Game Length: <1 hour
Download Link rpgmaker.net
The regrets began almost immediately.
I’ll cover the good parts first: The game begins in a fairly dank and sinister-looking shrine, where our two heroes have been sent to investigate some strange goings-on. While the map design is fairly lackluster, the lighting effects are fairly attractive and add a nice, brooding atmosphere to the area. The combat system is mercifully revamped from the RPG Maker defaults, with a fairly pleasant though unremarkable side-view battle system. The character art, while not the best I’ve ever seen, at least seems to be original and an effort has been made, which is certainly welcome for an RPG Maker game. There’s also a quest system, including side-quests, which tracks the progress of quests in a novel and convenient way.
Okay, so that’s the good. And now… deep breath…
I mentioned the dungeon layout was lackluster; while some effort was made for the initial (very small) dungeon, the rest of the game is far more lacking — the towns are about as awkwardly blocky and dull as one might expect from a zero-budget game, the forest area is several screens of what looks like grass with handfuls of bushes and small trees farted randomly onto them, and — perhaps the most egregious of all — it’s impossible to leave the weapon shop in the second town after entering, because there isn’t an exit door. Yep.
The writing is best described as poor, yet passable — the amount of spelling errors (including menu entries such as “wreapon”) is horrendous, the dialogue is awkwardly stilted and reads like a bad fanfiction, and the story — what little exists of it — is as thin and unremarkable as supermarket own-brand tissue paper, the entirety of which seems to boil down to being the errand boys for meaningless tasks issued by the queen.
The gameplay is a mixed bag — the side-view battle system is fairly competent, yet the battles themselves are all over the shop in terms of difficulty. The game actually offers a set of six difficulty options at the beginning — ranging from Very Easy to Very Hard, natch — and while this does affect the stats of enemies, the balance still seems far off. A couple of the boss fights were nigh-impossible on Normal, while even on Very Easy, many random-encounter enemies are damage sponges able to take almost as much abuse as I’m dishing out right now. Boss battles were a tedious slog and tended to end up being a case of the ‘swordmaster’ Sergal — sorry, Sengal — being the heal-bitch, while the warrior Balagan beats faces to a relentless pulp with his axe.
One major complaint I had — despite the game’s short length — is being railroaded with no free will. Upon arriving in the second town and asking around for Brueta Swamp, the game immediately kicks the player into a dialogue and boss battle with no warning. Once the battle is over, we’re suddenly pushed onto a ship and sent across the ocean to… well, to nothing, because that’s where the game ends. But it’d be nice to at least have the option to go back and hand in side-quests or get hopelessly trapped inside the weapon shop, rather than being forced to move on despite there being no real urgency in the story to justify such a rush.
Overall, I feel this is a game which could have potential, but the seemingly rushed approach, lack of proper testing, and generally sloppy construction drag it down pretty hard. Apparently, this ‘demo’ has been abandoned in favour of remaking the game in the newer RPG Maker MV, so perhaps some hope exists for its future.
But I wouldn’t hold my breath.