Reviews: MOTHER 3
Quite Simply A Masterpiece
I just finished playing MOTHER 3 (along with a fantastic fan translation) and I personally am thankful that I ever considered playing such a life changing video game and quite frankly, has gotten me more interested in other RP Gs. The story is one of the most involving I've seen in quite a while. I mean, they don't call it 'Strange. Funny. Heartrending.' for nothing. But I think there's more to it than those already awesome things that describe this experience. First of all, this game's graphics looks gorgeous for a Game Boy Advance game. I mean, the backgrounds are beautifully detailed, the sprite animations are more fluid in motion and with more detail than the ones in Earthbound (which is already a fantastic game in it's own right) and enemies and bosses are very creative and allow for a challenge. The game-play is also a lot of fun to play. The interface is less clunky to use than the one in Earthbound (it's not a bad interface in EB, per say, it just was a bit annoying to use on occasion). One thing I thought improved from Earthbound was that you could run in MOTHER 3. It made things less of a chore to do and could get things done a lot quicker. Something that bothered me with MOTHER 3 was that it never skipped an enemy that would be too easy to beat which is more of a minor gripe than anything but still bugged me a bit. But aside from that, the game-play is very enjoyable and you can be able to beat the game even if you don't have everything but even still, different play-throughs can lead to interesting experiences so either way there's nothing wrong with that. The music is one of the best things about the MOTHER series. To list them all would be impossible considering how many there are but check out the awesome music page at the MOTHER page. You'll be very surprised by how diverse the soundtracks are. Also, the ending is one of the most emotional and beautiful ones I've played since Portal 2. I highly recommend this game as well as the rest of the MOTHER franchise including Earthbound regardless of it's minor flaws.
Video games are art. Plain and simple.
There are lots of people who say that video games have no real merit, literary or otherwise; that they're either violent gore-fests enjoyed only by attention-deficit adrenaline junkies or casual tripe with no lasting value. MOTHER 3 is the single strongest rebuttal to that statement. It retains the bizarre humor, quirky graphical style, and easy-to-understand battle systems of the previous installments, and manages to improve on them in almost every way. The battle system is fun and very easy to figure out; with each character having their own unique set of abilities, it lends itself well to strategies (that you'll need; this game quickly gets quite challenging). The soundtrack also deserves mention; with dozens of songs (including numerous unique battle tunes), you're sure to find something you like. Of course, that's not what you play this for. You play MOTHER 3 for the story. This may not be the greatest story ever told, but it's surely the story told the greatest. No matter how you interpret it, whether you see it as a symbolism-laden metaphor for modern life or a simple tale of good struggling against evil, you will find that the story is pure emotion. It's been said before, but 'Strange. Funny. Heartrending.' really is the only way to describe this. Unlike Earthbound, the story has a much darker edge, and manages to pull the change off wonderfully. It never becomes pretentious or obnoxious, unlike so many other stories. I could go on and on about this game; it's truly one of the greatest things I have ever experienced. Play it.
Ready the Kleenex.
MOTHER 3 is a game of many surprises. There are those in its making: at first it was a sequel to EarthBound on the failed N64 Disc-Drive, and then promptly vanished... only to reappear years later on the Gameboy Advance! Some expected shiny new graphics, but no, MOTHER 3 stayed faithful to the EarthBound style, which I think was a great move. But there are more surprises in the game itself; if you play it, you will be shocked and leftfielded by the things this game will throw at you. Mechanics-wise, MOTHER 3 is a very clean, efficient game. It fixed many of the clunky interfaces of EarthBound, making tasks such as equipping items, choosing attacks and so forth smooth and easy. One "big" change from its prequel was the ability to dash! This made exploring much less of a chore, as well as adding a new quirk to the battle system: if you dashed through and enemy that you were much stronger than, you'd plow right through it. I think that was a good change; it kept you from being ridiculously overleveled by the end of the game (which was only too easy in EarthBound). Despite being on the Gameboy Advance, MOTHER 3 had incredible sprite detail - NPCs would move their mouth when talking; one character would cross and uncross her legs; the protagonists even had idle motions! The backgrounds looked great, keeping the cartoony feel of EarthBound but still looking realistic. It was a joy to stroll through the Nowhere Islands, taking in the scenery which ranged from beaches to forests to snow-capped mountains. And of course, there is the emotion in this game. No other game has hit me quite so hard as MOTHER 3. Even though I'd been spoiled all to heck (I could practically recite the plot of the game before I'd even played it), the events in this game still struck me sideways. The tagline for MOTHER 3, "Strange, Funny and Heartrending" couldn't be more accurate. There were times when I cracked up... and there were times when I cried. The ending of this game is by far the most emotional scene in any game I've ever played. Even now, no matter how I brace myself, I've only got to watch that ending, and I will just dissolve. MOTHER 3 is a game that will make you laugh, make you say, "Wha...?" and it will definitely make you cry. To me it's the best game ever, and I reccommend it to you! A true gem.
Laughing through Tears
I'm writing this fresh off of beating this game for the first time. This game, simply put, is a masterpiece. The quirkiness and irreverent humor that made Earthbound such a hit has been mixed with an equal proportion of raw emotion, to the point that there are certain scenes where you don't know WHETHER to laugh or cry. But you've heard a lot about the storyline of this game, probably. You may have even had it spoiled for you, by Brawl trophies, or simple curiosity. Speaking as someone else who has had this game relentlessly spoiled for me, allow me to say that the emotional impact of the game is not cushioned at all by knowing what's about to happen. I learned essentially everything important about the plot long before I played it, and I was still brought to tears by this game. As mechanics go, this game is excellently executed. Earthbound was hampered by a clunky interface that forced you to select actions from a menu even when attempting to open a present or talk to a person; here, there is no such limitation. It's also able to avoid being a total grindfest; if you do all the game tasks without taking any time out for level grinding, the game is challenging but no less fun for it. This is helped by the fact that when you die, you merely return to the last save point, instead of needing to load that save again; thus, you keep all your experience, levels, new moves learned, and items picked up since then. The game's chock-full of easter eggs, hidden secrets, and amusing diversions, as well. There's an item-aging mechanic (Fresh Milk becomes Rotten Milk, which then becomes Yogurt) and, of course, like all Mother games, the ability to sneak up on your opponent's back to get in a free hit. There's also an interesting battle mechanic; by pressing the attack button to a certain beat, different for every enemy, you can get in extra hits. It's hard to get more than three at a time, but potentially 16 hits per turn are possible! Even if you can't get it down, though, you won't have a significantly harder time with enemies. The finale of the game is one of the most rawly emotional, heartrending scenes ever programmed. Altogether, this game is surely Shigesato Itoi's magnum opus.