Wednesday 21 October 2020

RPG Maker MV

Welcome to our review of RPG Maker MV, now available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Who wouldn’t want to make their own RPG? Not only could you set out your own path, but the very parameters that define it. The RPG Maker series has allowed you to do this in some shape or form since the early 90s. Essentially a piece of PC software, it gives you all the building blocks necessary to make your own dungeons, quests and characters, without any need for coding knowledge. 

RPG Maker MV is the latest version to be ported to home console, giving the widest audience yet the chance to build their own Final Fantasy, Pokémon or Dragon Quest. But does it live up to its lofty promises? Read on to find out...

Firstly, RPG Maker MV for console appears to be a straight port of the 2015 PC version. This is by no measure a bad thing, as it means you get the full featured release without any scaling down for less advanced hardware. This itself is quite the achievement, as it’s one of the most advanced builders of its kind we’ve ever experienced.

Creating your game is broken down into easy to follow, logical steps. The map editor gives you a plethora of options for building an overworld, town maps, interiors and more. You’ll have a plethora of tilesets to choose from, allowing you to make unique levels that exude retro charm. The event editor allows you to place characters, objects, and practically anything else into your new world, and even allows you to program how they interact with your character. The battle system is just as deep, allowing you to design spells, assign weapon damage and difficulty curves. Character classes and level progression can also be finetuned to a near molecular level. It’s a slow, methodical experience for sure, and feels more akin to playing with LEGO than a PC game. But for those with the patience is a truly rewarding experience. 

However, there are a few issues brought about from porting to console. The most egregious is that you can’t download any mods or plugins to compliment the base game. We doubt this will be a problem for most players, particularly those picking up an RPG Maker for the first time, yet for those looking for an extra level of customisation or the chance to bring their favourite established characters into their game, you’ll be left lacking. 

What’s more, the menus just aren’t suited to a controller. Navigation that would take less than a second with a swipe of a cursor can take significantly longer fumbling about with a controller. If you do pick up this game on console, we’d definitely recommend investing in a keyboard too. It’ll save you so much time and give you a much more enjoyable experience in the long run. Check out our range of keyboards for PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Our only other major gripe is that while you can export your games in multiple formats on PC, you can only share creations on the game’s native online library on console. Again, this is by no means a deal breaker, and the free RPG Maker MV Player app does allow friends to try out your games for free. However, it’s still a mark against this version compared to the original release.

To wrap up, RPG Maker MV is objectively the best game building experience on a console. If you have an interest in game development but aren’t ready to dive into coding, this is the perfect gentle introduction. With that being said, it’s not something you can briefly dip into, and you should be prepared to sink multiple hours into it to create something even semi-competent. But if you have a creative itch that needs scratching, look no further.

Tom Baker

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