Teragard

Another RPG by the developer of Sojourner. I had hoped he had learned some lessons and improved from last time. He did not.

The game blurb boasts that it is an open-world game with “many challenging dungeons”. What it doesn’t tell you is that all of these dungeons look like they were regurgitated by a bargain-bin roguelike: they are nothing but endless strings of the same perfectly square rooms and corridors illustrated in the godawful default RPG Maker graphics. I normally cut a lot of slack for low-quality graphics, but if you’re going to make a game that is 90% primary loop, you need to give me something enjoyable to look at while I’m doing it, not this three-frame animation garbage. I would genuinely rather be playing a text RPG (like, say, my own) than put up with yet another zero-effort brigade of palette-swapped monster stills and blockworld tilesets.

Random encounters once again feature and once again can be turned off, and are even more unnecessary because the game features level scaling, raising the question of why bother having a leveling system at all. Combat once again falls into every single RPG Maker pitfall, combined with incredibly stiff and terrible animations this time and a far less informative HUD. Tactical gameplay is once again kneecapped by a complete inability to communicate what complex skills do. (Exactly how effectively does “Draw Attention” draw attention? How long does it last? Are we using an aggro system or is this something else? Who knows!) Once again, I am baffled by how TP is supposed to work. Once again, the game gives you only the vaguest inclination of what the character classes are or what you can expect from them despite them being the very first choice you make. Once again, the story and premise sound very interesting and have a lot of heart, but this time I’m not willing to slog through the terrible gameplay for it; you’re not gonna fool me twice.

I don’t understand why so many developers screw this up so badly. Making an intrinsically engaging RPG is entirely possible. It’s even possible to do it in RPG Maker! Tell me what your stats do and tell me numerically what every skill does. (Jimmy managed it in RPG Maker’s tiny UI, this is not hard.) Let us start with our class-defining skills instead of needing to do pointless grinding before we even figure out how we’re supposed to play. But no, people just keep diving headfirst into the worst schools of RPG design without a moment’s consideration. Put one iota of original thought into your game design instead of aping decades of failures, people.

3 Comments

  1. Nerem says:
    I actually love old-school RPGs, though I am not one who has a nostalgic love for it. I play old-school ones all the time and I understand where they have issues, but I think the very basic RPG Maker system is fine…………. but come on.

    I have come to the conclusion that weirdly, if you want good and innovative RPG MAker games, you’re much more likely to get it out of weird porn RPGs than ones that are supposedly not just a vehicle for porn.

    Which is a shame

    1
    1. Nah, you can find good RPG Maker games just by finding the ones that understand basic visual design. Doesn’t even have to be custom graphics; Last Scenario was great and that was mostly defaults. I only want graphics that aren’t actively painful to look at, this isn’t a high bar! Why is everyone ignoring the lovely XP RTP in favor of the godawful VX RTP? Why am I the only one who sees how terrible it is? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

      1. Nerem says:
        I mean, that also is most of the porn RPG Maker games too. Most of them use a combination of default and custom graphics. They just also mostly ride on their gameplay.

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