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Thursday, May 25, 2017

MOTHER3

In my post about MOTHER2, I couldn't help but ramble on about how it fixed all the shitty parts of MOTHER to upgrade it from a bag of poo all the way to a fairly decent game. At this rate, MOTHER3 should be one of the greatest games of all time. At the very least, it addressed my only one major complaint: the complete lack of character development making it very difficult to feel invested in the story. BOY OH BOY, did they add a lot of story this time around, almost TOO MUCH (here comes entitled gamer complaining about getting exactly what I asked for). Within the first few hours of the game, the story get HEAVY AS FUCK (in more ways than one).

Heavy as a plate of chicken fried steak with biscuits AND gravy YEEHAW!!
If you thought MOTHER2 was doomed in the US market, MOTHER3 would have been like trying to sell bubonic plague. The graphic style combined with all the heavy dialogue and reading would have been like kryptonite to American gamers, gasping in shock as they vainly tried to reach for a bag of Doritos and dew with their weakened, fat hands. (Disclaimer: I'm American so I'm allowed to make fun of them, err I mean us.)

In terms of the gameplay and battle system, it's pretty much the same as MOTHER2, a standard multi-task hold down 'A' affair. Fortunately, you can hold down the convenient 'L' button for one-handed play and it goes really fast. In fact, TOO fast, one time I had to reset because I got an item from a battle, the game said my inventory was full, and I ended up throwing away my equip item instead by accident. OOPS!

Your first battle is with an okera, some sort of bug? He thinks he's tough.
Again, I really dug the way your HP gradually rolls up and down, giving you a chance to heal yourself before you die if you're quick (ATB?). It's great at keeping you on your toes for boss battles. It also helped me not care when the men's bathroom sign used PK Starstorm cause I could quickly end the battle before it really hurt me (you'll understand when you play game). There's nothing new really from the previous game in terms of game mechanics except for the dash. OH THANK GOD FOR THE DASH. I loved it so much I was super annoyed when you couldn't dash cause one of your characters was trying to learn a new PSI ability. UGH.

What really stands out in this game is the story and the large cast of quirky and memorable characters. In addition, the OST has TONS of songs and is probably one of the best VG OSTs I've heard in terms of variety.

GAH! DEM FEEEEEEEEELS


Warning: some very minor spoilers ahead.


Starting out, I thought maybe it took place many years before MOTHER2, maybe in Texas or something? Cause your dad looks like a cowboy and it looked like some sort of western setting but with dinosaurs? Hmm I dunno, maybe a completely different universe from the previous 2 games? That's what I thought going into the game at least and wasn't a big fan of the western setting at first.

Without getting into too much detail, let me just say that the story does NOT disappoint. Even though both Ness and Lucas are silent protagonists, the level of character development and emotional attachment is on a totally different level from the previous game, which is interesting considering Lucas doesn't say a single word in the entire game. I also liked that your dog in this game isn't a total useless, good-for-nothing like the last game. Sadly, my dog Chewy passed away after I started this game so it was a bit sad to continue playing with Chewy (チュイ) in my party.

Sigh....
As for the overall plot, while MOTHER2 had some great surprises and frankly disturbing plot points, MOTHER3 has dem FEEEEELS. There were definitely some great themes as well, such as how the bad guy used "Shiawase" (happiness) boxes to corrupt the town. My cynical self enjoyed the irony of exploring the bad influence of TV in a video game. It also did a great job of being a grand finale for the entire series. I don't know if it was Itoi's grand scheme for the series but it finally did live up to the title "MOTHER". It would have been cool if I wrote this post for Mother's Day but I'm a bit late for that.

Too bad my real mother is a krazy lady.

Score: 4 No seriously, I'm not fucking exaggerating about dem FEEEEELS out of 5 (29 hours to beat)

I was going to give this game an above-average score of 3.5 as I normally wouldn't give a multitask battle system game a 4. I didn't get that super hooked right away either as it took me over a year to finish. The underwater oxygen part was kind of tedious and I probably put it down for over 6 months at that point. Another issue was that this game didn't work on my PSP emulator as they must have used some crazy GBA tricks. It wasn't really an issue since I'm not a filthy pirate and I own the actual game but I don't carry my DS with me normally so it took me longer to finish.

However, after finishing the game, considering the great OST and my preference for a good story over gameplay, I decided that it deserves a 4 as a great end to a influential video game series. It obviously was intended to be THE END so I'm not really into these English (bleh) fan projects to make a "sequel". Just call it something else, geesh.

Just one of the many great tracks, check out the 8-bit version too

Also, it's STILL not localized for obvious reasons. For a game with graphics that look like it's some sort of edutainment kid's title, I'm sure parents wouldn't be so happy about the themes of animal abuse, nor you playing as a kid, making out with trans-gender mermaids and hallucinating on some shrooms. Considering the fact that we're apparently too sensitive to hear some wacky sound effect for punishing children, localizing MOTHER3 would have required more censorship than a boobie Compile Heart game even IF Earthbound had sold well (yeah not exactly oodles of Earthbound floating around on ebay). I mean, seriously Cero A rating?? Sure, if you want to tramitize some poor kid about mortality but c'mon really.

But Daren, aren't shrooms just vegetables? Doesn't count right??
Those Earthbound fans clamoring for an official English localization probably have never played this game. (Well duh, if they did, why would they still care?) While I wouldn't totally write off a possible digital English release, given the fake kid friendly image NOA is trying to maintain, I feel pretty safe putting this one on the official Jhipster smugness approved list. It's only been 11 years though, maybe they'll localize next year?

Jhipster smugness approved!
Scale
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

2 comments:

  1. I'll admit it, although I love EarthBound/Mother 2 (which I *have* finished) and even the first Mother (which I've played for about five hours), I've yet to play *any* of Mother 3. I even have a CIB copy of the game! Don't worry, I'll get to it--likely via the English fan translation you mention here--someday soon. I hope.

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    1. Thanks for commenting! I remember paying quite a bit for a CIB copy, kinda pricey these days. Good luck with the fan translation, I've had some sound issues with emulator but probably just me. If you liked Earthbound, I think you'll love Mother 3. Definitely the best of the series.

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