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Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Mother is probably the best game I've ever played. I was such a fool to think games like Final Fantasy were grindy because this game makes other game's grindyness feel like a walk in the park. Playing this amazing game makes all other games seem so much better. It really does wonders to get you into the mindset of how amazing those other games are... by comparison.

To be fair, going into this game, I had fairly high expectations. I was hoping to walk around, meet some charming characters, experience a nice but simple story, and gain a sense of satisfaction from grinding some levels and beating a boss.

Instead, what I discovered was an amazing, huge open world, maybe something like Grand Theft Auto (kids, I'm talking GTA 1 and 2). The only tiny difference would be to remove all the buildings and anything remotely interesting and turn it into a sprawling expanse of nothing but mountains, trees, and rivers. Then sprinkle in some remote locations that are impossible to find and complement it with the most useless map EVAR. My dog took a piss on the dirt once and it was a better map than this crap.

You can't find your way around? What are you, stupid??
The green arrow CLEARLY shows where you are.
Now finish off the masterpiece with an encounter rate that is apparently suffering from bipolar and refusing to take the meds. You trying to go somewhere? BAM, encounter. Ok, try to take a half step. BAM, encounter. You trying to grind? Ok, cool, you can wander around the sprawling wasteland for miles with absolutely no encounters.

This poor kid has no idea that he lives in the middle of nowhere
Now the version I played was the improved GBA version based on the English version that was only now just released for the Wii U as Earthbound Beginnings. It has some nice extras not in the original Famicon version such as the various censorship for the delicate US audience. Putting sarcasm aside, the L button was a life saver for one-handed playing, which is always a nice bonus for multiasking. And if there was any game that required multitasking, boy, is this it!

I didn't even know about the dash button until well into the second half of the game. (I really need to get into the habit of reading the manual.) But still, I'd rather stick to the left hand and forego the dash to multitask another game.

Kids nowadays be like, "What's a manual?"

To be honest, this game wasn't really all that bad once you give up on trying to play it blind, getting hopelessly lost in the massive map, and random encountering up the wazoo. Load up a faq, find a REAL map, and just follow the instructions.

Actually, GTA is probably too small to be a good comparison. You're gonna have to zoom in to see the red dot.

But the grindiness near the end is just ridiculous. Just when you get totally fed up with constantly running out of space in your tiny inventory, you finally get double, then triple the inventory space as you add members to your party. Unfortunately, it also means your experience now gets halved and then cut into 1/3. Not to mention, the enemies actually start to get REALLY hard and to add insult to injury, hardly give out more experience than the weaker enemies.

Finally, when you get the Katana for Teddy, who actually has some cojones instead of the other party members that seem to love getting killed, you're ready to KICK SOME ASS!!!!!!

10 minutes later...

Teddy leaves your party for the rest of the game. WTF.

The last area seemed pretty much a grind nightmare without Teddy but fortunately, you get some help temporarily. I was able to stock up on heal items and just grinded that short section of the game for hours. Thank god for emulation save states. However, even at level 39, once your help leaves, I could barely handle 4 starmen. As a tip, make sure to get both Franklin badges cause then your cheap death ratio goes down from 100% to just 33%. (Did I already say thank god for save states?)

Fortunately, right around the point when you're totally fed up with this game, it ends. It's even kind enough to dump you right at the end without having to go through the last area with no help.

Look, maybe I'm not hardcore or retro enough to be able to appreciate this frustrating mess. Fine, I'll go load up Minecraft, Dota 2, or whatever the kids are playing nowadays. But man, I seriously doubt I would have had the grit to finish this game without the blessed miracles of save states. On the positive side, the GBA emulator on the PSP is fucking amazing.

Score: 1 rose-tinted nostalgia glasses out of 5 (plus a half-bottle of whiskey needed).

Oh yeah, and I guess there was some kind of story. I wouldn't expect too much in that department though. At this point, I'm really hoping Mother 2 lives up to the hype because buying Mother 1&2 CIB was NOT cheap.

Optional +.5 bonus for making Mother 2's graphics look practically next gen in comparison after you get used to Mother.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

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