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Thursday, April 7, 2016

MOTHER2 ギーグの逆襲

Oh boy, just what the internet needs. Yet ANOTHER wannabe hipster gushing about probably one of the most overrated and talked to death "hidden gem" - MOTHER2 ギーグの逆襲 aka Earthbound to the unenlightened non-Jhipsters.

Bet you guys never heard of THIS "hidden" gem
But wait, am I going to gush about what I just called an overrated game? Read on to find out! Wait, no for real, I have a unique Jhipster perspective on this! Plz Internet tell me I matter!

Ahem, ANYHOOS, as my die-hard readers probably remember, I didn't really think too highly of Mother (to put it mildly), but playing the games in order really puts things in perspective. Because Mother was such a shitty game, the initial impression playing Mother 2 is like going from PS2 to PS4. It reminded me just how much difference a new console generation used to mean. In the good ol' days, we used to be blown away by the graphical differences in a new console by using something called our "eyes" without needing special tools to measure stupid shit like framerate and resolution and bitching like little crybabies on neogaf.

I wasn't joking when I said this was gonna be a recurring theme
Playing Mother 2 was like a breath of fresh air after the stank of Mother. Not only were the graphics "next-gen", every single shitty gameplay mechanic from Mother was fixed or at least vastly improved. The most notable being no more FUCKING SPLITTING XP BETWEEN PARTY MEMBERS!!

Another HUGE improvement is no more cheap one shot kills. Or to be more accurate, your HP slowly drains after getting hit so if you're quick enough, you can heal in the next turn before the HP reaches zero adding a bit of "real-time" aspect to battles. This makes the Franklin badge, a vital item in Mother 1 pretty much useless in Mother 2. The last dungeon has a difficulty spike but even so, the strongest heal PSI ability can recover your party members without having to trudge all the way back like fucking Mother.

The map is also no longer a huge, sprawling wasteland littered with random encounters galore. The dungeons and areas between towns are small enough that you don't really need a map at all (the town maps are still a nice addition though). Even the desert, which was one of the worst offenders in Mother, can be crossed relatively quickly (though getting heatstroke constantly was still annoying).

Really, I could go on and on about every single annoying thing in Mother that was fixed in Mother 2 (except running out of space in your inventory, that shit was still annoying as hell). I can discuss fixes such as a teleport spell that is actually usable and not completely worthless, etc., etc. But that's doesn't mean Mother 2 is a great game, it just shows how crappy Mother is. In the end, the improvements make this game much easier to play and elevates it to a standard multitasker instead of a frustrating mess only bearable with the miracle of save-states.

I barely had to use any strategy besides spamming attack and healing once in a while. Sure, I used attack spells on bosses and one boss required using fly honey. The whole fly honey thing was annoying by the way because it looked like you were doing damage but really not getting anywhere without it. The closest thing to a strategy I used was the chuwa machine (neutralizer) to break a boss's shield.

HINT: The combat system is so rich, you can spam A OR L. SO MANY OPTIONS!!
As for the story, I really liked the premise and start of the game but the middle was a long, boring journey of fetch quests and recruiting party members that get almost no character development. The amount of conversation you have with your party members is next to nil. However, the boring stretch is at least rewarded with a very interesting ending.

Without getting into any details, the ending and one very disturbing meditation part of the game makes all the petty localization changes to shield kids from religion and alcohol seem so stupid and pointless. (Cero A, seriously?!! Damn, those Japanese kids are hardcore.) Due to the almost maniac non-jhipster fanbase for this game, you can learn about the changes in far more detail than I would ever bother to look into given that I don't play these games in English.

I'm sure Starbucks would have pressured to keep "alcohol" in today's enlightened age of corporate overlords
I liked the music well enough, nothing special but the music for the first part of the final boss was great as well as the ending credits song. I played the GBA version and I thought the whole vinyl sound added character but others may prefer the crispier SFC version.

I thought the "vinyl" sound was on purpose. Turns out it's just GBA hardware limitation. I prefer it nevertheless.


I'm not quite sure why non-jhipsters are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to play what is essentially a standard multitasker SFC RPG. Yes, it has a unique charm but puns are not that funny to me. The story has some interesting parts and I enjoyed the game overall but honestly, I think I overpaid for my GBA copy of Mother 1+2 and I definitely didn't pay one Benjamin must less several. If it wasn't for the awful Nintendo DRM, I would have been happy to just settle for the eShop digital version.

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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